Likud’s Eitan to Netanyahu: Speak to the protesters

“If we don't let public say their piece, we won't be able to give answers to difficult feelings that are nurturing the crisis," minister says.

July 28, 2011 01:57
2 minute read.
Minister without Portfolio Michael Eitan.

michael eitan wikipedia 248.88. (photo credit: Eranb)


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Minister without Portfolio Michael Eitan called on Wednesday for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to start a dialogue with demonstrators against rising housing prices.

“The government must listen, clarify and include the wider public in the process of fixing the crisis. The public hopes to open the clogged pipes of communication between citizens and the government,” Eitan said. “Many of the people in the protest tents have a lot of knowledge and they, like social organizations and academics, are asking to be active partners in finding solutions for the current situation.”

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He went on by stating that the government “isn’t omniscient,” and not all its ideas are perfect.

“If we do not have a dialogue and do not let the public say their piece, even with all the goodwill that exists, we will not be able to give an answer to the difficult feelings that are nurturing the crisis,” he said.

Eitan explained that he had opened a debate on housing on the “Public Participation Website,” an online forum for citizens to share ideas and opinions with the government, which he founded and manages as the minister responsible for the improvement of government services.

“Within 24 hours, over 550 solutions were proposed on the website,” Eitan said. “This is the first step – which is not enough. Our obligation as a modern democratic government is to expand the dialogue with the public and include it in additional ways.”

Earlier this week, Eitan was the only minister to speak out against Netanyahu’s housing plan at a meeting of the Likud Knesset faction. He said he felt he had not received enough information to make an educated decision on whether or not to support the plan.

“You are asking us to stand behind this stretcher and carry the weight, but sometimes, when you stand at the back of a stretcher, you cannot see the road ahead of you,” Eitan told Netanyahu. “You might fall into a pit.”

Meanwhile, Environment Minister Gilad Erdan became the first cabinet minister to pay a visit to the housing protesters, entering their Jerusalem tent site on Wednesday and holding a discussion. Erdan told the protesters that he identified with their struggle.

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