Kadima: Trajtenberg 'spits in the face of Israelis'

Likud MKs Regev and Shama-Hacohen slam committee's findings, while party states that PM does "ten times more than Kadima" on social issues.

September 15, 2011 13:39
3 minute read.
Prof. Manuel Trajtenberg

Prof. Manuel Trajtenberg. (photo credit: Mark Neiman / GPO)

The Trajtenberg Committee's report has yet to be officially released, but Kadima already slammed its recommendations on Thursday.

"The apparent recommendations of the Trajtenberg Committee are a deception and spit in the face of millions of Israelis," Kadima said in a statement following a Channel 2 report on the committee's findings.

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"The good news about education does not hide the massive vacuum in housing, transportation, and heavy taxation of the middle class, and reinforces the crooked priorities of the Netanyahu government, which led the masses to take to the streets," the Kadima spokesman explained.

The Trajtenberg Committee, which was appointed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to recommend new socioeconomic policies, called for an NIS 1-3 billion cut to the defense budget. In addition, the committee recommended that free education from age three be gradually implemented, as well as higher taxes on the stock market for the wealthy.

"Netanyahu and his government serve sectoral interests, instead of represented the silent majority, which recently stopped being silent," Kadima added. "Netanyahu will not succeed in his efforts to use a bandage to cure a deep illness, in which the middle class is crashing under the government's burden."

The Likud responded by saying that "this government acts, while Kadima only talks."

"The Netanyahu government did and does ten times more for social matters than the Kadima government did," a Likud spokeswoman stated. "In housing, it was Netanyahu that freed two 'bottlenecks' that prevented building - the Israel Lands Authority and the regional construction committees – allowing tens of thousands of homes to be built."

In addition, this year 45,000 building projects were initiated, as opposed to 30,000 in the previous year, according to the Likud.

However, not everyone in the Likud is happy with the reports of Trajtenberg's recommendations.

According to Knesset Economics Committee chairman Carmel Shama-Hacohen (Likud), "the committee's conclusions are somewhere between a disappointment and a missed opportunity, even though the recommendations for education are certainly impressive."

"Unlike the Prime Minister, who promised parliamentary cooperation, the committee chose to ignore Knesset Members and missed out," Shama-Hacohen added. "Whoever disengaged in August will pay for it in sweat in the Knesset committees."

Shama-Hacohen said the Knesset Economics Committee will hold a meeting next week to discuss Trajtenberg's recommendations.

"This is not the way to build strength and social justice," MK Miri Regev (Likud) said. "The recommendations do not give a real answer to housing or the cost of living, they do not give hope to young people and do not give justice to the weak and elderly."

Regev accused the Ministry of Finance of "destroying everything that former prime minister Menachem Begin built for social justice" and said the ministry and Trajtenberg are "creating a class of third-world Israelis."

"The Likud should be careful not to lose its voters and the government over this," she added.

The Social Justice Forum also released a statement Thursday in response to the Channel 2 report, saying that the Trajtenberg recommendations "do not constitute progress in the creation of a more just society or a state that cares for its citizens. the Forum for Social Justice emphasizes again, that with no significant budget increase there will not be any real change."

They stated that the Trajenberg Committee had now proved the claims made by the social justice movement all along with their "wretched suggestions, unwillingness to invest money back into citizens of the state, cosmetic treatment of the housing problem and complete avoidance of the weaker population ... Trachtenberg does not constitute a mandate for social change. It seems as though the committee's role was simply a publicity stunt."

The head of the advisory team to social organizations expressed similar views, saying that the suggestions only partially meet demands of the social protest movement.

"The committee talks about the addition of NIS 4 billion to finance the protesters' demands. We're talking about NIS 20 billion," said Professor Avia Spivak, former deputy governor of the Bank of Israel in an interview with Army Radio Thursday morning.

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