‘Concerned citizen’ sparks flame war on Netanyahu’s Facebook
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‘Concerned citizen’ sparks flame war on Netanyahu’s Facebook

PM’s page is the latest battleground in an increasingly politicized struggle for social justice

Ilan Ben Zion, a reporter at the Associated Press, is a former news editor at The Times of Israel. He holds a Masters degree in Diplomacy from Tel Aviv University and an Honors Bachelors degree from the University of Toronto in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, Jewish Studies, and English.

Shachar Cotani's post on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Facebook wall on July 25. (photo credit: Image capture via Facebook)
Shachar Cotani's post on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Facebook wall on July 25. (photo credit: Image capture via Facebook)

From the outset, the social justice movement used Facebook to rally the public to its cause. But one activist has taken the protest to Benjamin Netanyahu’s own page to rail against a series of tax hikes proposed by the prime minister as a measure to balance the country’s budget and prevent an economic crisis.

Shachar B. Cotani, a graphic designer based in Tel Aviv, posted a list of alternative sources of funding on Netanyahu’s Facebook wall earlier this week. Then he appealed to the Facebook masses to “like” and share his post. So far, the post has generated nearly 13,000 “likes,” sparking an intense flame war between Netanyahu’s fans and his detractors in the social justice crowd.

“I am a very minor economist indeed, but in the past few days I have seen you’ve been under a little pressure because the country needs money,” Cotani wrote, addressing Netanyahu.

Referring to himself as a “concerned citizen,” Cotani listed alternate sources of revenue to the proposed increase in value added tax and taxes on alcohol and tobacco.

“I hear there are a few corporations that need to pay the country NIS 30 billion — you should ask them for it instead of giving them a tax break of NIS 29 billion, because NIS 29 billion would round it all out nicely,” he wrote.

Cotani also suggested cancelling recent allocation of funds to ultra-Orthodox education, calling off the upgrade of ministerial vehicles to BMWs rather than more cost-effective cars, and destroying the Givat Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El rather than relocating it. He also said the government should stop encouraging the settlement of Israelis beyond the Green Line.

The prime minister has yet to respond to Cotani’s missive.

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