Netanyahu at cabinet meeting 311.
(photo credit: Emile Solomon / Pool / Haaretz)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Sunday that in 2012 he plans to
institute free, compulsory education for children from three years of
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Speaking in the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said that
in a few days he will submit an economic proposal for 2012 that strikes a
proper balance between "defense needs, economic needs, and social
needs. This will include free compulsory education from the age of
"We are of course doing this while keeping the budget framework, which
we will not break. We will keep the budget, while taking care of
education and social needs as we see them. We will also do what is
necessary for defense, maybe less money than the defense establishment
wants, but enough in my opinion to keep Israel safe from its enemies,"
The prime minister also listed some of the Trajtenberg Committee
recommendations that came into effect in 2012, including NIS 430 (per child) a month
for working fathers with children up to the age of 3, and NIS 215 (per child) a month
for working mothers with children up to the age of 5.
Earlier, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz told Army Radio that "2011
was a very good year for the Israeli economy in many ways. Growth was a
high 4.8 percent, the unemployment rate fell to 5%, bucking the global trend,
to its lowest level in decades. We must fight to maintain strict budget
discipline to maintain these achievements." He added that there were
still worries that unemployment would rise in 2012, which was why he was
insisting on budget discipline.
Asked about the tax and price hikes that came into effect today, even as
the prime minister and ministers received pay hikes of NIS 1,000 a
month each, Steinitz said, "Ministers' salaries are updated
automatically, I don’t know exactly by how much, I do not deal with this
Steinitz also emphasized the income tax cuts, the NIS 300 monthly earned
income tax credit for working mothers, and the government's plans to
move forward on free education for day care, even as he reiterated that
breaking fiscal discipline was liable to cause severe harm to the