'Gov't is committed to making tangible social change'

Netanyahu promises to act quickly following large-scale social justice protests across the country; Livni: I believe Israel can change.

September 4, 2011 13:24
3 minute read.
Netanyahu at the weekly cabinet meeting

Netanyahu cabinet meeting 311. (photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)


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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Sunday that the government is responsible for making significant social changes, following large-scale demonstrations demanding social justice across the country on Saturday night.

"My government is committed to carrying out tangible changes in order to ease the cost-of-living and correct social distortions," the prime minister said.

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"I believe that the public dialogue that has developed, as well as the discussions of the Trajtenberg committee, will offer us a unique opportunity to implement genuine and responsible changes in this sphere," he continued.

Netanyahu expressed his commitment to act quickly "and maintain the correct balance between social sensitivity and responsible economics."

400,000 rally for social justice across the country
Gallery: City streets jammed for March of the Million
Protest leaders want gov't regulation of rent, tax policy

"This balance preserves the Israeli economy, the State of Israel, Israel's people and the national welfare," he continued.

The prime minister also highlighted the need to have a strong economy that would not be blighted by the problems seen in other countries in Europe. "Only if we have an economy that does not slip, fall and collapse, as happened to several principal countries in Europe, only thus can we ease the cost-of-living and correct those distortions," he added. "We will do both: We will maintain the economy and we will correct what needs to be corrected."

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni (Kadima) also commented on the protests and said that she believed that Israel could change for the better.

"From my standpoint, it was a demonstration of a million, even if there weren't a million [people] there,"  Livni said on Sunday of the previous night's "March of the Million."

Speaking at the "Israel 2012" conference organized by The Marker at the The Academic College of Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Livni said, "From here, either Israel will continue to deteriorate socially [and] we will desperately find ourselves with groups that do not communicate with one another, or Israel will change. And I believe Israel can change."

Livni criticized the creation of a committee to address the social protest issues. Although she valued the Trajtenberg committee and believes it will raise appropriate solutions, Livni said she thinks that it is the duty of the leadership to make the decisions right now, before the committee does.

"There is a problem here with management," she explained. "It is true that the manager has the monopoly [over power] but what does the prime minister do in order to manage it? The solution is not to give [responsibility] to someone else to do it. There needs to be reform in the public sector that will allow for management."

Livni concluded her speech by saying that for Israel 2012 to be different, there will need to be elections in 2012.

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