Commenting today on the cumulative budget deficit, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "I have already successfully handled large deficits. When I was minister of finance, the deficit was several times as large. Today's deficit is NIS 12-13 billion, and then it was three times as large. We're controlling the deficit very well, and have just now received confirmation of our high rating from the world's leading credit rating agency with today's figures. Why? I think that they are counting on me to continue leading the country, but that depends on you. If I lead, we'll take very good command of the deficit and continue growth."
Netanyahu's comments were part of a live video broadcast on Facebook during his official visit to Ukraine. As he has usually done in recent months, Netanyahu responded to questions on his Facebook page through Likud campaign advisor Topaz Luk, who filmed him and gave him the questions in a live broadcast.
Netanyahu added that he should be elected, because he would solve the budget problem not by raising taxes, but by cutting government spending, although spending jumped during Netanyahu's term. Netanyahu said, "I prefer cutting government spending, and I'm doing this because government ministries are known to be inefficient. They have a lot of fat." According to official figures from the Ministry of Finance, the budget will amount to NIS 51 billion at the end of 2019.
Referring to disputes among rightwing parties, Netanyahu said that everyone who votes for Liberman was giving his or her vote to a leftwing government. "Our people have gotten used to my winning each time, but this won't happen under all conditions, and it's also not true. You saw what happened in the last elections. 250,000 votes were wasted, so I ask you not to vote for parties that don't get enough votes to enter the Knesset."
As for hesitation between voting for the Likud or for a more rightwing party, Netanyahu said, "One Knesset seat more or less makes no difference for them, but for us, it will have a dramatic effect. If you want me, don't make the mistake of voting for other parties."
Referring to the pensions of immigrants from Ukraine, Netanyahu said on the video that he had received a personal commitment from Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky that he would make sure that pensions would be transferred to Israelis who formerly resided in Ukraine. "We signed an agreement approved by the previous government, which requires additional ratification by the Ukrainian parliament. What Zelensky promised me is that he has a commitment to this. 'It's our moral obligation to complete this,' he told me, and asked that it be done on the basis of up-to-date data. We'll send him the figures," Netanyahu said.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on August 20, 2019
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