Benjamin Netanyahu's campaign of smoke and mirrors is going full steam ahead. Yesterday, he said he would lower marginal tax to 35 percent from its current 60 percent (including health tax and national insurance). Imagine those poor innocents who believe they will soon pay less tax if they just put the right slip in the ballot box.
A marginal tax of 35 percent is almost like the U.S. Public spending there is 30 percent of GDP, while here it is 55 percent; but why muddy the waters with annoying little facts like these. Netanyahu's policy won't allow for taking a shekel away from military spending or the settlements - and the war will continue, and with it the recession - but why burst those innocents' bubble?
But I fell into the trap as well. I believed Netanyahu when he said he had met an unemployed accountant in Ofakim who had to go to a soup kitchen to bring food home. I wrote about it in an article that appeared yesterday. But apparently that accountant simply doesn't exist. Perhaps there is someone else, but not an accountant.
The Association of Certified Public Accountants in Israel asked Netanyahu's people to deny it, but encountered outright refusal - because an "unemployed accountant in a soup kitchen" sounds dramatic; it makes headlines; it proves how far Silvan Shalom and Ariel Sharon have dragged us into the pit.
If it isn't true, what does it matter? What counts are ballots.
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef doesn't rest on his laurels for even a moment. In his last weekly sermon, he promised a "place in heaven" to anyone who votes for Shas. MKs Ophir Pines-Paz (Labor) and Joseph Paritzky (Shinui) filed a complaint against him because the elections law forbids "granting a blessing" in order to solicit votes.
Apparently there is large naive population here willing to believe anything. On Monday, someone named Gidi appeared on a 103 FM radio show. A listener told him her husband had cheated on her. No problem, Gidi told her, according to the zodiac and your birth date, in January 2003, the divorce will be behind you and you will find a new love in April 2003.
The next listener said she had been fired from the textile factory where she had worked. No problem, Gidi told her, your birth date indicates that you will find work in a government institution in January 2003 at a much higher salary.
The third listener said she was having trouble selling her apartment. Gidi answered without hesitation here too: You will sell the apartment at a good price in February 2003 because Jupiter is entering your sign.
So if there are those willing to believe this nonsense, and others willing to believe a vote for Shas will open the pearly gates, no wonder Netanyahu can keep fooling people. Apparently, there is no shortage of naivety in Israel.
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