Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett lashed out against opposition leader MK Shelly Yachimovich (Labor) and Meretz chairwoman MK Zehava Gal-On in a fiery discussion in the Knesset plenary over several no-confidence motions against the government.
"You have become an economic terrorist attack against the State of Israel," Bennett said to Yachimovich. "You are deterring companies from investing. I spit blood trying to bring investors here. But they see that there is a group of politicians that gangs up on entrepreneurs. If you keep chasing away companies, we will experience waves of unemployment that the country has never known. If we discourage entrepreneurs our economy will be like Cuba's.
"You can legislate everything but a law forcing people to be entrepreneurial. It won't work; it's like pushing spaghetti. Let entrepreneurs do their thing. Stop hindering job creation. Why do I have to apologize to potential investors? How many companies were not established in Israel because of this idea?"
Bennett described how his high-tech company had run into difficulties at one stage and had been forced to downsize from 70 to 30 workers. According to Bennett, the layoffs enabled the company to recover and grow.
"Today the company employs 300 workers, but if we had accepted your planned economy, and we hadn't been able to lay people off, the company would have closed," Bennett said.
"MKs Tamar Zandberg and Zehava Gal-On [Meretz], how many jobs have you created in your lives?"
Following the debate the coalition overturned four no-confidence motions by a large majority.
Bennett's remarks come in the wake of the crisis over layoffs at the Teva pharmaceutical company. The opposition has spoken out against the company's plans to dismiss hundreds of Israeli workers after it received billions of shekels in tax breaks over the years.
Last week, Finance Minister Yair Lapid blamed the opposition for problems several enterprises were experiencing in their connection to the natural gas supply, due to the petition by a number of NGOs and opposition MKs, led by Yachimovich, to the High Court of Justice against the government's decision to export gas.