Netanyahu and Trajtenberg 311.
(photo credit: Avi Ohion/ GPO)
Prof. Manuel Trajtenberg estimated Thursday that the government has adopted more
than two-thirds of his committee’s proposals on socioeconomic issues, but he
expressed regret over its lack of enthusiasm for the report’s housing
“My housing recommendations were supposed to provide the means
and incentives to build small apartments for long-term rent in high-demand areas.
This is something that is really missing in Israel,” he said at a Tel Aviv
University seminar on global challenges.
“You can play with the market,
with the interest rate and the mortgages, which are all important,” Trajtenberg
“But in the end you need to create supply... and that is not
happening, or it is happening too slowly.”
The Trajtenberg Committee
released its final report last September, 50 days after the government
established the committee in response to massive public protests over
socioeconomic issues. The report recommended allocating NIS 60 billion toward
implementing reforms in four areas: housing, education, competition and
Trajtenberg said he was pleased that the government has adopted
most of the report. There was a common misconception among the general public
that the committee had not achieved anything, he said, citing income-tax reform,
the introduction of free early childhood education and the granting of more
powers to the Antitrust Authority as the three recommendations he was most proud
However, he pointed out that the 2 percent flat tax for high-income
earners has still not been implemented, adding: “To this day nobody has given me
a good explanation why that is the case – not the prime minister, nor the
finance minister, nor the Knesset.”
Addressing the subject of the
seminar, “Governing democracies in a time of global crisis,” Trajtenberg said he
believed it was rising inequality, rather than growing global uncertainty, that
was the root cause of the Israeli protest movement. He predicted that the
magnitude of last year’s protests would not be matched by similar protests
planned for this summer.
But Trajtenberg praised last year’s protests for
“two huge achievements”: Firstly, it changed Israeli public discourse and put
the spotlight on socioeconomic issues; secondly, they identified an issue on
which people living in Tel Aviv, the peripheral cities and the other side of the
Green Line could all unite.