Israel’s Austerity Budget Draws Citizen Protests

The Israeli government was debating the final points of a two-year austerity budget early Tuesday that would cut spending and raise taxes, outraging many Israelis who voted in a new government this year after promises of economic relief, the International Herald Tribune reported. Even before the new government’s first budget was approved, 12,000 Israelis took to the streets Saturday night in a show of anger reminiscent of the vast social protests that rocked the nation in the summer of 2011. At that time, record crowds complained of the high cost of living — and eventually many voted their cause and expected the new leadership to respond. Instead, the government announced that a large deficit required higher taxes and less spending. The austerity measures are intended to help close a 2012 deficit of about $10.5 billion, which was 4.2 percent of the gross domestic product and double the amount that had been projected. Read more. (Subscription required.)