Government social-change taskforce presented to PM

C'tee head Trajtenberg presents Netanyahu with list of 22 people which includes economists, academics, gov't officials.

August 9, 2011 00:33
3 minute read.
housing protest representatives

housing protest representatives_311. (photo credit: Ben Hartman)


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Economist Manuel Trajtenberg presented Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday with a list of 22 people who will make up the government- appointed team of professionals to meet with representatives of the cost-of-living protesters to come up with concrete solutions to their grievances.

Trajtenberg came up with the list a day after being appointed to head the committee, which is expected to draw up proposals and bring them to the government’s 16-minister socioeconomic cabinet. This body will consider the proposals, and then make recommendations to Netanyahu and the full cabinet.

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The list names 14 people who will be full members, and eight who will take part in the discussions.

Netanyahu put out a statement on Monday saying the committee will begin meeting with the representatives of the protesters this week, and will present its conclusions to the socioeconomic cabinet next month.

Among those on the panel are Eyal Gabai, the outgoing director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office; Eugene Kandal, the head of the National Economic Council; Gal Hershkovitz, the Treasury’s budget director; Avi Simchon, a Hebrew University economist; National Insurance Institute Director-General Esther Domenicini; Karnit Flug, the Bank of Israel’s deputy governor; Pnina Klein, a Bar-Ilan University professor and Israel Prize laureate in education; and Rafi Melnick, an economist and vice president of the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya.

Among the additional eight people who will take part in the discussion, but not as full members of the team, are Sharon Kedmi, the director-general of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, and Gidi Grinstein, the head of the Reut Institute think tank.

Trajtenberg, in a meeting with Netanyahu on Monday, said the committee is made up of people “who bring with them professional expertise alongside social sensitivity, public experience and youth who can understand the feelings of the public today.”

Roee Neuman, a spokesman for the tent city protest movement, said Monday that protesters feel the decision to launch the team of professionals just shows to them the government is looking to waste time.

“We didn’t want any sort of committee, we wanted the government to take action right away. We don’t want a group that will just hold discussions over and over again for months.”

Neuman said he feels the decision to appoint the committee was made “in order to kill time and hope we’ll fizzle out.”

He did stipulate that their dissatisfaction with the decision has nothing to do with the individuals selected to the committee.

Neuman also said the protest movement is still a long way from formulating a final document of their demands from the government, saying “we are citizens, not politicians.

It’s up to us to give them concepts and principles, but for them to come up with a formulated plan to make it work.”

The Likud will file a lawsuit Sunday against the blog Ha’otzar Ha’ezrahi for posting a picture of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in an SS uniform.

The blog complained about Netanyahu's government harming the middle class and said the prime minister and all his ministers should face a field trial. The blog and the picture were removed from the Internet.

Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.

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