What do you do when facing backlash from all sides of the political spectrum? Blame it on the Ayatollah.
A much-anticipated housing report published Wednesday evening by State Comptroller Yosef Shapira blamed the Netanyahu government for failing to properly deal with the rising costs of housing in Israel. According to Shapira, poor government planning and disregard for the middle class played key roles in creating the current severe housing crisis in Israel, which could lead to the disappearance of the middle class and eventually have a devastating impact on the entire economy, he says. Netanyahu’s failure, says the report, mainly stems from the lack of any long-term strategy to ameliorate the housing situation in the country.
Immediately after the report was published, Netanyahu hit Twitter to strike back at critics of his policies. Only instead of trying to explain or defend his abysmal record on housing, the prime minister eschewed any real discussion, instead opting for — once again — warning about the threat of a nuclear Iran.
כשאנחנו מדברים על מחירי הדיור, על יוקר המחייה, אני לרגע לא שוכח את החיים עצמם. האתגר הגדול ביותר לחיינו כעת הוא התחמשות איראן בנשק גרעיני
— בנימין נתניהו (@netanyahu) February 25, 2015
“When we talk about housing prices, about the cost of living, I do not for a second forget about life itself. The biggest threat to our life at the moment is a nuclear-armed Iran.”
But Netanyahu’s pithy response didn’t go unanswered, with both journalists and public figures lambasting the prime minister for what seems like pure contempt for any form of criticism. Manuel Trajtenberg, who was appointed by Netanyahu in 2011 to head a committee that would recommend measures to overcome the 2011 social justice protests, and who is number 11 on the Zionist Camp list for the upcoming elections, responded to the prime minister on Twitter:
“For six years you deserted the Israeli public in a devastating economic reality. If you solve Iran like you solved housing, we won’t be here in six years.”
The Zionist Camp’s Stav Shaffir also responded to Netanyahu’s tweet, saying:
“Six years, and you only have one message for me and my generation: say thanks that you are alive and shut up. Sorry, Bibi, but our lives are worth much more than these excuses.”
Even right-wing journalists were surprised by Bibi’s attempt to divert attention. Elad Raveh, a literary critic for the right-wing Makor Rishon daily, responded:
“Wow the worst response ever.”