Parties vie for credit as Knesset readies final minimum wage bill

The Knesset on Wednesday approved the first reading of a bill to raise the minimum wage in a stormy election-time session, in which politicians lobbed accusations over attempts to take credit for the popular measure.
The bill, which was later approved by the Knesset Labor and Welfare committee but still must pass two more Knesset readings before becoming law, will increase the minimum wage from its current NIS 4,300 a month to NIS 4,650 in April, NIS 4,825 next July, and NIS 5,000 at the start of 2017.
But chaos erupted in the Knesset session as players from across the political spectrum lashed out at one another.
Calling the bill was "enormous social news" and giving credit to many actors for advancing it, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett took the opportunity to slam the Labor party.
"My friends in the Labor party, I think that this past year has been a historic year, in which we managed to prove that when you don't just talk like you often do, it's possible to bring about a real revolution in the field," he said.
He accused the Labor party of being held captive by the Histadrut, and claimed victory in advancing the minimum wage bill and a deal on contract workers where they had failed. Other reforms, he said, were possible only because Labor was not in the government.
"The secret is not to be the servants of the unions, but to serve all of Israel," he said. "In two years we've accomplished what you have not managed in 30 years."
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