Foreign Minsiter Avigdor Lieberman 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Uriel Sinai)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu faced criticism from the Right and Left on
Sunday over the Trajtenberg Committee that he appointed to find solutions to the
housing shortage and other socioeconomic problems.
Avigdor Lieberman released his own plan for solving the problems, which he sent
to Israel Beiteinu MKs on Sunday. He intends to demand the implementation of his
Estimated 70,000 attend periphery social justice protests
Livni praises Obama for pressing PM
“There is no need for bloated committees or huge forums that
will talk to themselves and take too much time,” Lieberman warned. “What is
needed is to take immediate steps.” The nine steps Lieberman is demanding
include giving soldiers the average salary in the work force for three months
before they end their service, subsidizing child care for working mothers with
children aged three months to three years, allocating land to contractors who
reserve 15 percent of apartments for affordable housing, building infrastructure
in Negev and Galilee farming villages, and building 1000 public housing units
for poor people every year for three years.
Opposition leader Tzipi Livni
criticized Netanyahu’s handling of the housing crisis, telling Israel Radio the
prime minister “only gives speeches because he doesn’t want to really change the
situation.” Netanyahu, she charged, “doesn’t understand that the people in the
streets want a different Israel and aren’t talking only about transfers between
budget items.” His actions, particularly regarding the budget and the
appointment of the Trajtenberg Committee, she explained, “show that he’s not
interested in a true change of priorities.”
But Defense Minister Ehud
Barak defended Netanyahu. He warned against irresponsibly cutting the defense
budget in response to social justice protests across the country, saying, “We
live in the Middle East and it would be wrong to ignore that fact.” In an
interview with Army Radio, Barak identified with protesters, saying affordable
housing “is not a luxury,” but added that he would agree to budget cuts only as
part of a comprehensive “package deal.” “The Defense Ministry and the IDF are
part of the country and we will help carry the burden with everyone – if there
will be a package deal, we will be part of it, “ Barak stated, adding that a
team would be formed to check the possibility of cutting the
Barak, who lives in one of the most prestigious skyscrapers in
the country, recommended taxing the rich. He said his neighbors in the Akirov
Tower and his former neighbors in Kfar Shemariyahu could handle it.
look at what is happening now as an opportunity, not a threat,” Barak said.
“There is a chance to make a deep change in the pact between citizens and the
government. There is an opportunity for a new deal here.”
Omer-Man and Daniel Clinton contributed to this report.