Trajtenberg hails socioeconomic c'tee's social sensitivity

Student Union calls on PM to ensure there’s "real dialogue" with protesters.

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August 10, 2011 03:49
4 minute read.
Trajtenberg Committee 'Rothschild Team'

Trajtenberg Committee 'Rothschild Team' 311 . (photo credit: Moshe Milner/GPO)

 
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“Social sensitivity” is what distinguishes the newly appointed socioeconomic committee charged with coming up with far-reaching economic proposals from similar committees in the past, Manuel Trajtenberg, the head of the panel, said at its first meeting on Tuesday.

“I am thrilled at the rare chance to make a positive change in our beloved country, and we have no choice but to succeed,” he said to the 22- member committee. “This committee is different than other committees because of the need for social sensitivity.

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You, members of the team, are endowed with a combination of professionalism and social sensitivity.”

Trajtenberg has headed the National Economic Council at the Prime Minister’s Office since 2006 and is an economics professor at Tel Aviv University.

Alluding to the fact that the committee was meeting on Tisha Be’av, Trajtenberg said this was one of the most difficult days on the Jewish calendar.

“But beyond destruction, it [Tisha Be’av] also symbolizes a new beginning for the Jewish people. I hope that beginning the committee’s work on this day will symbolize a new beginning for a better future.”

Trajtenberg said that the waves of protests are expressing a yearning for “something concrete called social justice.



The change is dependent on our ability to listen and to translate the desires of the public into they language of professional understanding and policy implementation.”

During its first meeting, the committee was broken down into a number of subcommittees that are to deal with the following issues: taxes; competition and the high cost of living; social services; and housing.

In addition, another subcommittee will deal with how much any new proposals will cost, and where the money will come from, and another sub committee will deal with how to conduct this dialogue with the public.

The committee is scheduled to meet again next Tuesday, after the subcommittees have started their work and held meetings.

On Tuesday evening, the National Union of Israeli Students and the organization “Dror Israel” penned a letter to Netanyahu and Housing and Construction Minister Ariel Atias in which union head Itzik Shmuli and Dror Israel Director Pessach Hosfeter demanded that the government “listen to the people and not make decisions that are purporting to solve the housing crisis but don’t deal at all with the real problems behind it.”

The letter continues, “such decisions, made without holding a debate with us, raise a serious fear that you are trying to merely push forth policies that were already decided upon in the past, while acting as though you respect the principle of holding negotiations.

“If the government’s desire is to hold a real dialogue with the representatives of the struggle, they should avoid all unilateral decisions and the establishing of facts on the ground. These are conditions that are necessary for a real dialogue,” the letter adds.

Also on Tuesday, the National Union of Israeli Students announced a series of protests across the country to be held on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., in support of workers employed by manpower agencies, who typically do not have the same rights as permanent employees.

According to an announcement released by the union on Tuesday, protestors in Tel Aviv, Beersheba, Jerusalem, Haifa and Kiryat Shmona will don white masks like those worn during the anti-G8 protests this year, and will hold demonstrations in each of the five cities.

The announcement stated that the demonstrations are being held in order to call for “a change in the employment methods that are harming the state of Israel.”

Uri Rozen, one of the students organizing the demonstration in Beersheba, said that participants will wear white masks because “the people we are protesting have become invisible and see-through to us; we don’t see them.”

Students also held a meeting with representatives from the organization “Gag” (Roof), an umbrella group dealing with issues facing disabled Israelis, at the main tent city on Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv.

“We decided to join this protest with the students because we have many shared concerns, which include housing, employment, national insurance and many others, which make it very difficult for someone like me to make ends meet,” said Tal Lev, a legally blind woman who took part in Tuesday’s meeting.

Lev said that housing issues are far more difficult for people with disabilities, not only because of the prices and their the challenge finding wellpaying work, but also because of what she said is widespread reluctance by landlords in Israel to rent apartments to disabled people.

Later in the week, a “strollers march” will be held for parents from Holon and Bat Yam, leading from the Bat Yam municipal library to the Bat Yam mall. The march will be joined by several other cities across Israel, and represents the third week in a row that parents protesting the highcost of raising children have held such demonstrations.

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