Demonstrators rioted Tuesday morning during Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich's speech at the Eli Horowitz conference in Jerusalem. He replied: "A small, anarchist handful."
Demonstrators erupt during Smotrich's speech at the Eli Horowitz conference // Photo: PR
The protesters held up signs and shouted slogans. The minister added: "What is happening here now is a representative sample of what has been happening in recent weeks. A large majority that wants to conduct a substantive and respectful discourse knows how to conduct disagreements and arguments, and a small minority is vocal and extremist, and all it does is try to harm everything – the army, security, the economy, cohesion, and here, too, at a conference like this that has been held for 30 years, senior figures in the economy and in the public sector have been here. A small, anarchist handful that creates tremendous damage to Israeli society and its cohesion."
Attack on banks
As part of his economic speech, the minister said: "It is impossible not to speak, within the framework of the struggle against concentration and the cost of living, about the banks' huge profits as a result of the increase in interest rates. Profits they earn from no man's land and large interest rate differentials between credit and deposits cannot be attributed to hard work and efficiency."
The minister added: "I find great logic in taxing these overprofits at high rates, mainly in order to prevent the banks from having the motivation to obtain them, and in order to make them roll them back to the public with the variety of tools at their disposal. This is the best way to correct the distortion created by the interest rate differential and make it easier for mortgage borrowers, without harmful legislative intervention, as reflected in a number of private bills that are on the table from time to time, while maintaining the stability of the banks and the independence of the Bank of Israel, which is critical in a modern Western economy."
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