Down, but not out? Yair Lapid
Down, but not out? Yair Lapid Flash 90

The owner of a new Facebook page urging Israelis to move to Berlin fired back at Finance Minister Yair Lapid on Tuesday evening, after Lapid gave a series of interviews to Israeli media outlets in which he criticized the campaign.

“Today, Yair Lapid referred to the supporters of the Berlin protest as anti-Zionists,” the owner of the page, which encourages Israelis to move to Germany due to the lower cost of living there, wrote.

“I want to remind the Finance Minister of the definition of Zionism I learned in high school, which is the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Israel.”

“Yair Lapid, and of course the prime minister as well, destroyed the chances of us young people to build a home here. To buy a house here. Raise families here. And if we agree that Zionism is a national home, then in order for there to be Zionism it’s not enough just to be nationalist. You also need a home.”

“I personally love Israel with all my heart, and I see my future in it. Because in all honesty I prefer to live in Tel Aviv over Berlin,” the post continued. “But it is impossible for me to live in Israel in such a violent manner. I say bluntly to all our readers here - the only way to change things is to have hundreds of thousands of young people go abroad. Only then will they treat us seriously, and if not, at least we will live properly.”

The post continued, “I'm not even going to give advice to the Government of Israel, I am not an economist and do not understand regulations. But I understand geography a lot and the government should realize that our generation will not be here, if things do not change quickly.”

“I really wonder what David Ben-Gurion, the prime minister who lived in a shed, would say about a generation of rich and arrogant leaders who sold the country and are going to empty it from its younger residents. He would send them a letter of resignation and send them to exile in Berlin. But instead, they send us young people there.”

In one of his interviews on Tuesday, Lapid said that the issue is not just a matter of prices, but a matter of national loyalties.

"This is a discussion on the identity, history, and purpose of our country," Lapid stated, in an interview on Army Radio.

Lapid noted that protests like these - rooted in the 2011 "social justice" campaign - prompted his own shift from journalism to politics, and that he remains focused on lowering the cost of living in Israel.

The Finance Minister has been particularly vocal about the trend of Israelis moving away from the country, decrying "all the people who are fed up and leaving for Europe" in a post on the subject last year.

"I have little patience for people who are willing to throw into the garbage the only country the Jews have, because it's more comfortable in Berlin," he protested.

Professor Manuel Trajtenberg, who headed the government-appointed committee that figured out ways to lower the cost of living for middle class Israelis following the 2011 social protests, has warned that the Berlin protest is “a real threat”.

"All of a sudden Berlin has become more attractive and that’s a real threat. There is a sense of disappointment [among Israelis], and it does not matter whether there were successes or failures - you cannot argue with feelings", Trajtenberg said Monday evening.

He further opined that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu "is unable to lead the socio-economic issue - not under the situation that exists in Israel.”