After addressing the Caesarea Conference, Netanyahu did not simmer down. He stepped into the hallway and continued relaying his new message to anyone who would listen: "I'm the real social advocate." He fulminated against those trying to separate the social from the economic spheres, arguing that the entire society benefits from a strong economy. He added: "I implemented the most important social maneuvers: I created 70,000 new jobs in the past 12 months, and I also lowered taxes for all income brackets."
And what about Bank of Israel Governor David Klein, who also wants to be "social" and this week published his war on poverty report? "I don't know what Klein wants, but one item in his report is worth examining: the issue of a negative income tax for low-income earners." That's it. Just one item. Because beginning today, Netanyahu wants to capture the social field, too.
"I want to talk about the way to close social gaps, and the most important factor in the war on poverty is employment," he said in his address, adding that Israelis are returning to work: "10,000 returned to the construction business, thousands took up domestic help jobs and single mothers returned to work. In the past 15 years, we encouraged welfare payments and thereby created poverty. But now we are doing the opposite." And what motivates growth and creates jobs, he asked rhetorically? "Lowering taxes."
Once, the Caesarea Conference was anti-establishment. Many participants were businesspeople who used the opportunity to attack government policy. This year, it was part of the establishment. No criticism was hurled, no harsh words spoken. Businesspeople greatly reduced their presence; most speakers hailed from the public sector.
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