Yisrael Katz
Yisrael KatzFlash 90

MK Yisrael Katz (Likud) launched a scathing attack on Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman on Friday, days after the unveiling of the government’s plan to deal with the cost of living in Israel.

Speaking to Channel 12 News, Katz, who served as Finance Minister in the previous government, said, “Liberman is the pyromaniac who pours fuel on the fire and then cries that the house is burning."

"We helped everyone who needed it by providing 160 billion shekels, both the self-employed and the families. We left an economy that grew by 7%, unemployment was down and the deficit reached 3%. Liberman received tens of billions which he distributed to [Mansour] Abbas and as part of coalition agreements - and now there is no aid left. The aid they are providing now is a drop in the ocean," Katz accused.

On the new economic plan, he said, "This is a mockery - Liberman had to do three things: Immediately freeze all the government-mandated price increases, agree with the employers together with the Histadrut to also freeze price increases, and provide a safety net to those who have been affected. All the talk now is just talk - the only reason for the increase in the cost of living is the taxes on disposable cutlery, on drinks, on visits to the doctor, on electricity, on water and on fuel."

Katz also criticized Liberman over his attitude towards the haredim, saying, "He behaved like the greatest antisemites in history. Liberman behaved like 'harm the haredim and then run away from criticism.' Taking their words out of context and then diverting the fire is simply antisemitism."

On the tensions within the Likud, Katz denied reports that he sought to form an alternative government headed by him in the current Knesset.

"I am not working behind the scenes, I sat with Netanyahu as recently as last week and we are continuing our actions to replace the government. I said I would not run against Netanyahu - and that only if he left then I would run, and I believe I would be elected Likud leader."

"There was no point in holding contacts [on an alternative government] now, because I was not authorized to do so, I have to be elected first. If Netanyahu does not run in the next Likud primaries, I am sure I will be elected because of all my activities and actions," insisted Katz.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)