How do you sum up Netanyahu's first year as Finance
Binyamin Netanyahu has a liking for the chareidi sector. He
does not have what others in this evil government have--the
hatred, the antipathy, the desire to do harm. The man is
driven by two things that result in a powerful blow to our
sector: a) his economic policy of giving more to the rich and
harming the poor, and invariably our sector, which is
economically weak, is very affected, and b) his inexplicable
fear of Shinui. He is simply scared of Shinui.
As a very high-ranking figure in the ruling party, a former
prime minister, a man who apparently would like to be prime
minister after Sharon, his inexplicable fear of Shinui is--
frightening. If he is a coward, that is terrible. If he is
deliberately apprehensive apparently he sees them as future
How do you explain Netanyahu's relative popularity despite
the economic decrees directed primarily against the weak
elements, the Likud voters?
This unfathomable vote by Likudniks in crisis neighborhoods
and development towns, which the Likud harmed more than any
other ruling party, is a phenomenon that has no clear and
present explanation other than the historical reckoning this
sector has with the Left and the Labor Party, a reckoning
that continues to this day. This has no normal explanation.
The Likud does more harm to the weak elements [than any other
party]. The Labor Party hurt them much less. As a party the
Likud's policy is a cruel policy that to a certain extent is
worse than that in the United States. It does not resemble
Europe, which has a welfare policy, and therefore their vote
is not readily understandable.
Meanwhile the more established sectors, the elite, are
also pleased with his administration!
True, the upper tenth is applauding Netanyahu because it has
become richer. But the other categories are not applauding
because they are crying over the situation and they see this
as economic gaps, salary gaps and income gaps that are
widening at an astonishing rate, which is going to tear apart
Netanyahu says, "Patience, things will change."
There is a parable about a horse whose owners got it used to
eating less and less until it died. Said the horse's owner:
The plan was a success, but the horse lacked patience.
How do you explain the polls showing Netanyahu has support
for his moves?
I don't know how to explain it, but for many long months the
chareidi press encouraged him considerably in certain areas.
He changed the government's decision on the issue of the
budget for talmidim from abroad, he changed government
decisions that at first slashed the yeshiva budgets almost
entirely, he spread out the cut in Children's Allowances over
seven years. He did good things and he was encouraged and it
Today we are standing at a crossroads. Now the crisis is
beginning to have its effect and people in dire situations
are blaming him. The yeshivas are not receiving their regular
funding, families feel the pinch, and if he does not take
drastic measures for the public's sake the polls will be very
unfavorable for him.
Perhaps the public is grumbling about the situation, but
understands this is the right way to emerge from the economic
Not true, many people think otherwise. Not just in the
chareidi sector. Netanyahu is now arriving at a crossroads of
real crises: the yeshivas, religious services and large
families. He is to blame for everything that is taking place.
If he continues to fear Shinui, public opinion will change to
his disadvantage without a doubt.