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Defense Minister and Labor Party Chairman Ehud Barak yesterday assailed the right's "capitalistic greed" and underlined the economy as the driving theme of his party's campaign for the upcoming general election.

"We differ from other parties because we understand that it's time to do away with the capitalistic greed that the right has been a proponent of, while offering solidarity, sensitivity and social responsibility," Barak said at a Labor Party meeting. "We believe in massive budgetary investment in education and infrastructures because of the approaching recession. We will put out a safety net for the weaker parts of society and a safety net for the financial system if and when it is required."

In 2003, President Shimon Peres, who was a cabinet minister at the time, famously criticized then finance minister Netanyahu and his economic policies by calling him a "capitalistic pig."

Likud faction leader, MK Gideon Saar, responded to Barak's speech yesterday by claiming it was tainted with hypocrisy.

"It's amusing to see how Barak has suddenly developed a social agenda from the heights of the Akirov building, at a time when his party's polls predict a single-digit number of seats," Saar said, referring to the luxury apartment building in Tel Aviv where Barak lives. "It's difficult to discern how his social agenda manifested itself in the coalition agreement he signed with Kadima."