Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will bring the Trajtenberg Committee’s
recommendations on sweeping socioeconomic change to the cabinet on Sunday, a
week after he stepped back from calling for a vote because he lacked a majority
among the ministers.
It was not clear whether this time, either,
Netanyahu would bring the recommendations on the measures to a vote after the
cabinet discussion. A source in the Prime Minister’s Office said it was obvious
Netanyahu wanted to see the report passed and implemented, but the “mechanics of
the process” were not yet clear.
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Vice Premier Silvan Shalom (Likud) told
Channel 2 News on Saturday night that “the government must first take care of
the periphery and the weaker segments of society.
“If that is not in the
report, I cannot support it,” Shalom said.
“The Independence Party does
not accept the idea of social versus security,” Home Front Defense Minister
Matan Vilna’i said on Channel 2. “We cannot allow funds to be taken from the
defense budget for social matters.”
Defense Minister Ehud Barak also
voiced opposition to the report last week, saying on Israel Radio that “the
Trajtenberg Committee’s recommendations were pointing in the right direction,
[but] there’s no way to answer the protesters’ demands without expanding the
Israel Beiteinu has not committed to whether the party’s
ministers will vote in favor or against the report.
A party source said
that there must be a “serious, deep discussion” in the cabinet meeting before
Israel Beiteinu can agree to Trajtenberg’s recommendations.
ministers plan to meet before the cabinet meeting to decide how they will
The cost of implementation of the far-reaching recommendations –
including free education from the age of three, rather than five, as is
currently the case; marketing 200,000 housing units over the next five years;
and raising individual taxes for the wealthy and for business – is expected to
cost some NIS 30 billion over the next five years.
Last week Netanyahu
backed off calling for a vote after facing opposition form Israel Beiteinu,
Shas, Barak’s Independence party and three Likud ministers, – Shalom, Kahalon
and Minister-without- Portfolio Yossi Peled.
Despite efforts last week to
win over their support, Shas is still demanding a public discussion on the
Independence doesn’t want to open up the
defense budget from which much of the funding is to come, and Israel Beiteinu
still wants a discussion on an alternate socioeconomic plan it has put
It is also not clear whether the three Likud ministers have
been convinced to vote for the recommendations.
Gil Hoffman contributed
to this report.
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