Netanyahu, Cabinet meeting_311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu continued on Sunday to voice his support
for the report submitted by the Trajtenberg Committee for socioeconomic
change, telling the weekly cabinet meeting that approval of the recommendations would
allow the government to implement proposals for lowering the cost of
living in Israel, Israel Radio reported.
The steps outlined in the report "will lower the prices of goods and marketing in the economy, will significantly lower parents' expenditures for education, will reduce customs duties and will make housing more available," Netanyahu said.
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"My government is committed to taking the necessary actions in order to ease living conditions for Israelis and to lower the cost of living – and I have no doubt that this will be the case. First the Cabinet, afterwards the Knesset," he continued.
Netanyahu brought the Trajtenberg Committee’s
recommendations on sweeping socioeconomic change to the cabinet on Sunday, a
week after he stepped back from calling for a vote because he lacked a majority
among the ministers.
Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) said on Sunday that he expected the Trajtenberg Committee report to pass a Cabinet vote despite his party's rejection of the recommendations.
Yishai said that even if the report passes a Cabinet vote, it will not receive majority backing in the Knesset unless fundamental changes are made in the Trajtenberg Committee recommendations that reflect the demands of the lower classes.
"The Treasury's fingerprints appear all over the report," Yishai said.
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Vice Premier Silvan Shalom (Likud) told
Channel 2 News on Saturday night that “the government must first take care of
the periphery and the weaker segments of society.
“If that is not in the
report, I cannot support it,” Shalom said.
“The Independence Party does
not accept the idea of social versus security,” Home Front Defense Minister
Matan Vilna’i said on Channel 2. “We cannot allow funds to be taken from the
defense budget for social matters.”
Defense Minister Ehud Barak also
voiced opposition to the report last week, saying on Israel Radio that “the
Trajtenberg Committee’s recommendations were pointing in the right direction,
[but] there’s no way to answer the protesters’ demands without expanding the
Israel Beiteinu has not committed to whether the party’s
ministers will vote in favor or against the report.
A party source said
that there must be a “serious, deep discussion” in the cabinet meeting before
Israel Beiteinu can agree to Trajtenberg’s recommendations.
ministers plan to meet before the cabinet meeting to decide how they will
The cost of implementation of the far-reaching recommendations –
including free education from the age of three, rather than five, as is
currently the case; marketing 200,000 housing units over the next five years;
and raising individual taxes for the wealthy and for business – is expected to
cost some NIS 30 billion over the next five years.
Last week Netanyahu
backed off calling for a vote after facing opposition form Israel Beiteinu,
Shas, Barak’s Independence party and three Likud ministers, – Shalom, Kahalon
and Minister-without- Portfolio Yossi Peled.
Despite efforts last week to
win over their support, Shas is still demanding a public discussion on the
Independence doesn’t want to open up the
defense budget from which much of the funding is to come, and Israel Beiteinu
still wants a discussion on an alternate socioeconomic plan it has put
It is also not clear whether the three Likud ministers have
been convinced to vote for the recommendations.
Gil Hoffman and Jpost.com staff contributed
to this report.
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