Netanyahu cabinet meeting 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday urged financial responsibility on
the part of the government in the wake of social protests throughout the
country. “If we face economic collapse... we will not solve economic or
social problems,” he told the weekly cabinet meeting.
responsible but sensitive solutions that will not bankrupt the country, when
responding to the socioeconomic problems which have led to the wave of protests,
'PM doesn't get depth of change Israelis demanding'
Estimated 70,000 attend periphery social justice protests
The prime minister said that he has instructed
Prof. Manuel Trajtenberg, head of the new committee
appointed to prepare
socioeconomic reform recommendations “to submit concrete solutions during the
month of September, as quickly as possible – but not too quickly.
dealing here with complex issues. We intend to arrive at concrete solutions, not
generalizations, but rather concrete solutions to concrete problems of reducing
the cost of living and the closing of gaps in the State of Israel, gaps
including those between the periphery and the center.”
During its first
meeting last week, the Trajtenberg committee was broken down into subcommittees
that are to address the following issues: taxes; competition and the high cost
of living; social services; and housing.
Another subcommittee will deal
with how much any new proposals will cost and where the money will come from,
and another subcommittee will deal with how to conduct a dialogue with the
Netanyahu said on Sunday that he wants the committee to find “solutions that are
He warned against the danger that Israel could
suffer the fate of some European countries that have been hit harshly by the
global economic crisis.
“If we end up bankrupt or face economic collapse,
a reality in which some of Europe’s leading economies find themselves in today,
we will solve neither the economic problems nor the social
“Therefore, responsibility is demanded of us, financial
responsibility alongside social sensitivity. That is the necessary formula and
we will bring about practical solutions,” he said.
On Sunday, protest
leaders announced that they will hold a press conference on Monday morning in
Tel Aviv, in which they will present their team of experts who will work to
reach solutions to the social issues driving the social justice
The team will be made up of “experts of the highest
caliber in Israel in the fields of economics, welfare and social issues, and
will use their expertise to provide professional backing [to the protest
movement].” The team will operate with full transparency and cooperation with
the public and will hold meetings in the tent cities, the leaders said in a
They added that the team’s findings will be used to “find ways
for the Israeli economy to work for the benefit of Israeli society and not the
Speakers at Monday’s press conference are to include former
Bank of Israel deputy governor Avia Spivak; Adina Bar-Shalom, founder of the
Haredi College of Jerusalem and daughter of Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia
Yosef; Education expert Prof.
Yossi Yonah from the Ben-Gurion University
of the Negev; and Dr. Hala Espanioli, former head of the state monitoring
committee for education in the Arab sector.
Also on Sunday, a spokesman
for the Trajtenberg committee said that it will make its question and answer
meetings with the public viewable online.
The meetings will be uploaded
to the website of MK Michael Eitan (Likud), the improvement of government
services minister, in about two weeks. The internal debates and meetings of the
committee will not be available online, however.
Members of the 22-member
committee visited tent cities in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Modi’in last week,
where they took part in debates and sat in on lectures, without revealing that
they were part of the committee.
The spokesman said they did so to gain
insight into the concerns being aired at the tent cities.