MK Says Cost of Living can be Resolved via Right-Wing Economics
MK Alex Kushnir of the Yisrael Beytenu party is chair of the powerful Finance Committee in the Knesset.
This means that he has a direct view in one of the most widely discussed issues in public spaces and homes; the current state of the economy.
As inflation passes the 5% mark, the cost of living in Israel has risen significantly and the last year alone saw a 17.8% increase in housing prices.
As a matter of fact, the commercial capital of Israel, Tel Aviv was named as the most expensive city in the world last December.
Wages and salaries have not been able to keep up with the rising inflation. According to data from the OECD, an average worker in Israel earned less than 64% of the OECD countries in the previous year.
The tech industry of the country is booming and the 10% people who are part of it generated a much higher income, thereby pushing up the inequality in the country.
A lab housed by the University of California, Berkeley and Paris School of Economics produced the 2022 World Inequality Report.
It discovered that amongst the list of high income nations, Israel has a great deal of inequality because the bottom 50% of Israelis earn 19 times less than the top 19% of people.
The Israel Democracy Institute also conducted a survey, which discovered that the most pressing issue for the upcoming elections in November is the state of the economy.
Almost 31% of the people who participated in the survey disclosed that they would cast their vote based on the economy.
43-year old Kushnir moved to Israel in 1992 and has been part of the Knesset for three years.
As he is chair of the Finance Committee, he runs the main body of the parliament that oversees taxes, state budgets, revenues, banking, import duties, customs and a host of other functions that are essential to the economy.
He said that his party’s right-wing economic stance was the key to resolve the cost of living crisis in Israel. This involves reducing imports, regulation and barriers to competition.
It also focuses on improving key infrastructure that can help the economy in functioning in a better way. He understands the socialist past of Israel and wants to increase benefits given to society members who are disadvantaged.
Kushnir is in support of reforming the healthcare system in order to boost efficiency, but he does not intend to dismantle the infrastructure of the welfare state.
He claims that this right-wing approach has a ‘humane face’. His party does not believe that the cost of living crisis has a quick fix.
However, it should be noted that his party only favors citizens who are part of the workforce, or are unable to work.
Similar to his party leader, Avigdor Liberman, the Finance Minister, Kushner has criticized the ultra-Orthodox population in Israel, which makes up 13% of the total population.
But, it remains underrepresented in secular studies and in the workforce.