Amid rising prices and the worsening economy, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu asked his cabinet members to set a “personal example” and minimize their trips abroad.

The only exception, he said, was trips to China, which Netanyahu encouraged in order to deepen Sino- Israel relations.

The issue came up during the cabinet’s routine approval of ministerial trips abroad.

The prime minister related to the economic situation at the beginning of the weekly cabinet meeting, saying that the world was still in the midst of the worst economic crisis it has faced in 80 years.

“These conditions are making things difficult for the citizens of all countries, especially the developed countries, and also for Israelis,” he said. “We need to tighten our belt in order to maintain Israel’s economy, and that is not easy, and it presents difficulties for the citizens, and I know that.”

Netanyahu said that alongside the difficulties, the government was taking action to ease the situation. He ticked off a number of steps, including free education for children from age three, free dental care until age 12, and reform in the cellular phone market. Those steps, he said, were “saving money for many citizens.”

“The most important thing,” he said, “is that we are maintaining the places of employment for Israeli citizens.”

To prove this point he referred to statistics released last week by the Central Bureau of Statistics placing the country’s unemployment rate at 6.5%, down from 7.1% and lower than in the US, Europe and most developed nations in the world.

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz also related to the figures, saying that they show there was no significant increase in unemployment in the country, and in fact there has been a decrease. He said that price increases are “never pleasant,” but “we are taking the necessary steps to achieve two goals: high economic growth and low unemployment.”

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