Ultra-Orthodox Leaders Express Disapproval for Economic Relief Plan

In recent news, one confirmed coalition lawmaker and several opposition parties in the State of Israel openly expressed their disapproval for the economic relief plan, developed by the authorities of the government. According to these people, the plan neglects the people residing in ultra-Orthodox communities, benefitting only a small chunk of the population. In a press conference on Wednesday, Naftali Bennett, the Prime Minister of the country, Avigdor Liberman, the Finance Minister, Orna Barbivai, the Economy and Industry Minister, announced that they had come up with a multipart strategy to address the increasing cost of living in the Jewish state. 

They went on to promise a couple of measures that would help reduce taxes, at least for working families, as well as bring about a decrease in the prices of food and energy staples. According to Bennett, this new plan worth NIS 4.4 billion is a rational contract between the people of the country and the government authorities. He said that the plan especially focuses on working families, who work tirelessly to feed their loved ones and save in the process. This move from the government came as the public voiced its outrage against the increasing costs. Just recently, the prices of electricity, as well as gasoline went up. 

Moreover, several large manufacturers, along with importers, also scratched or delayed their plans to increase the cost of goods on account of the pushback. The comments made by Bennett at the press conference were not well-received by either the opposition parties or the members of the Knesset. They argued that the outline developed by the government authorities ignores the systemic problems that exist in the Haredi or ultra-Orthodox communities. In their words, the strategies devised are only going to reward wealthy families by providing them with tax exemptions. 

However, these exemptions are not relevant to a majority of the households, as they do not qualify for the tax ceiling needed to receive such benefits. Aryeh Deri, the leader of the Haredi party, Shas, argued that the outline consists of confusing steps that will only benefit the ‘good families’. This is a codename often used to refer to the intentional harm and ongoing discrimination of the periphery communities. Deri claimed that the Haredi community will not receive any benefit from this plan and that people will only suffer from the increased cost of living. He went on to add that the plan is nothing more than a charade devised by the government authorities to bring about a reduction in public outrage and pressure. 

He slammed the Prime Minister for making a cruel division between the bad and good households. According to him, no child in the country should go hungry. Deri further referred to Bennett, saying that he has lost his shame, empathy, and most importantly, connection to the citizens. The party leader signed an agreement for a plea deal related to his tax offenses just last week. As a result, he had to resign as a member of the Knesset. However, he is still unrepentant and actively involved in the country’s politics. 

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