How do you sum up Netanyahu's first year as Finance
A bad year for Am Yisroel. I don't know whether
Netanyahu is the guilty party. But from an economic
standpoint this has been a bad year. If his plan does indeed
prove itself and brings economic growth to Am Yisroel in
spite of the pains we are all going through, then it will be
possible to see how the positive balances against the
At the moment, despite all sorts of statements, I do not see
the buds of growth. This is based on dealing with such
negligible numbers that I do not think they herald the
arrival of spring. Even the stronger strata are not at ease.
They are also waiting for growth. For the weaker strata it
affects day-to-day living. The stronger strata do not suffer
from a lack of eggs at the grocery store on a day-to-day
basis. They go to the supermarket where there is
How do you explain the fact Netanyahu is relatively
popular in the opinion polls compared to his predecessor,
Who remembers Netanyahu's predecessor? The man in the street
does not really remember much and whether Silvan was better
or worse than he. Polls are an emotional expression of what
takes place today. But comparisons cannot be made with
yesterday because polls can be explained in all sorts of
manners. It does not mean the economy really is better. It
means the public hopes the economy is better. Polls do not
presume to be objective truth.
Maybe the public thinks that despite the hardships he is
running the economy correctly?
That could be. He certainly does purport that to be the case
saying, "Indeed times are tough, but soon I'll be bringing
salvation," and people love to hear that, for it provides
hope. We can ask why there is a better attitude toward one
person over another, and then we have to begin to understand
people's inner workings, mass psychology and all of the
elements that go into liking one person over another.
In practice Netanyahu makes so many promises, and when
someone receives a promise he feels great. When it appears in
the paper it seems all will be fine. But the next day this
promise is gone without a trace. Perhaps this is how one must
operate in economics, to inflate hopes and run a painful
And why does he do this?
He needs popularity to provide a certain defense. For
survival. Unfortunately I don't see any connection between
the popularity he receives, and he definitely is popular, and
the plan he and the government are now promoting. United
Torah Jewry MKs publicized many achievements that have been
reached, but despite all this the entire party felt that
pledges are one thing and deeds are another. Therefore it
submitted a no-confidence voice in the government based on
promises that were not kept. Promises were made and nothing
was carried out.
What is your opinion of Netanyahu's economic program one
year after its implementation began?
There are two ways to judge an economic program: it can be
judged theoretically, in which case it could be said this is
a good program. But it must [also] be judged in practice, how
it affects people, whether they can and need to suffer from a
plan that looks good on paper, and how much they can take. So
the problem is that an economic plan is not a class held at
the university, but a lesson in life, and the challenge is to
find the balance between the two, between the theoretical and
the impact on life itself.