PM Netanyahu at cabinet meeting 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The cabinet unanimously approved the recommendations of the Trajtenberg Committee on Socioeconomic Change relating to competition and the cost of living on Sunday.
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The approval came after the cabinet had discussed the Trajtenberg Committee's recommendations during its past two meetings.
The sections of the report approved by the cabinet on Sunday call for a breaking of fuel monopolies in Israel by the addition of dozens of gas stations and by improving public transportation.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said of the approval, "We are
systematically moving forward with the approval of the Trajtenberg
Report in order to decrease the cost of living."
Netanyahu added: "We are decreasing the powers of monopolies and
bureaucracy. The government monopoly is the biggest of them all and will
also be dealt with."
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz responded to the approval of the measures, saying "the passage of the sections on competition and re-organization signifies are insistence on lowering the cost of living for citizens by creating competition in the private sector and in public areas such as: public transportation, fuel, cement for building and re-organizing sea ports."
He added: "This is a historic step for the good of the Israeli economy and Israel's citizens."
The Knesset passed its first law
based on the Trajtenberg Committee's recommendations earlier this
month. “The Bill to Change the Tax Burden” passed its final reading with
40 MKs in favor and none opposed to the measure, which marked a change
in the tax code emphasizing benefits for the middle class. The bill
combined a government-proposed bill based on Trajtenberg’s findings
with initiatives by Knesset Finance Committee Chairman Moshe Gafni
(United Torah Judaism).
Two weeks ago, the cabinet passed a clause raising by 20 percent the
maximum internet purchase that allows a buyer exemption from import tax
to NIS 1200. The clause did not require Knesset approval and went
immediately into effect.
However, other recommendations from the Trajtenberg report have struggled to pass committee.
The formation of the Trajtenberg Committee was spurred by this summer's
tent protests which decried the lack of affordable housing in Israel,
yet the committee's recommendations on the subject of housing “remain
nothing more than ink on paper,” Knesset Economics Committee chairman
Carmel Shama-Hacohen (Likud) said last week
.Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.