Sunday, July 31, 2011

Finance Minister: Growing calls for reform could lead to 'anarchy' in Israel


Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz hit back on Sunday at the growing national protests over the rising cost of living, saying some reforms being demanded might lead to economic crises like those besetting parts of Europe and the United States.

The warnings followed marches by some 150,000 demonstrators, the resignation of a top treasury official and questions from leading commentators over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's ability to ride out a revolt by the middle class.

"We see the talk about the debt crisis in Europe. We are even hearing talk of a possible default in the United States,"Steinitz said. "My supreme duty is to ensure we do not reach this situation in the State of Israel."

He rejected calls for the authorities to curb industry leaders who are often accused of artificially inflating the price of consumer goods through cartels tolerated by Netanyahu and his predecessors.

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