Livni: PM trying to take down tents, not put up houses

Labor party MKs slam Netanyahu's housing plan; Yachimovich says state ownership of land is Zionist; Herzog: Public doesn't buy PM's promises.

Livni 520 (photo credit: MIRIAM ALSTER / FLASH 90)
Livni 520
(photo credit: MIRIAM ALSTER / FLASH 90)
Opposition leader Tzipi Livni was joined by several Labor party leadership candidates in criticizing Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's housing plan presented on Tuesday, saying "Netanyahu is acting to bring down [the] tents and not to build houses."
"Instead of changing economic policies and managing those bodies under [his control], Netanyahu is shirking responsibility, continuing to spread slogans that won't solve the social problems and lessen the burden of young people and the state of building in Israel," Livni said.
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"Netanyahu doesn't understand that the problem isn't technical, but fundamental," she added. In order to solve the country's problems, "We need complete national political change and not marginal solutions."
Labor MK and party leadership candidate Zehava Gal-On slammed the prime minister's housing plan, saying "Netanyahu is trying to cover up the Titanic after it already hit the iceberg." She added, "His speech had no solutions and displayed no leadership."
"The prime minister is genetically capitalist, which makes all the steps worthless," Gal-On said of Netanyahu. "He's archaic and disconnected and doesn't understand that the nation long ago stopped buying his vision of a free market that can be advanced by a supertanker."
Fellow MK and Labor leadership candidate Shelly Yachimovich sharply disagreed with Netanyahu's assertion Tuesday that state ownership of land constitutes an economically unhealthy monopoly.
"The fact that most of the land in Israel is controlled by the state is not a market failure, it is Zionist and [holds] environmental value," Yachimovich said in response to Netanyahu's press conference.
"The attempt to connect the state's control of the land to the housing shortage is an attempt to misguide the public and a cynical attempt at using demonstrations as an excuse to initiate destructive economic polices that will harm the middle class and empower tycoons."
Labor MK Issac Herzog and fellow party leadership candidate Amram Mitzna attacked the content and sincerity of Netanyahu's plan. Herzog said that "Netanyahu's plans will never be implemented, just like all of his others haven't been, including the train to Eilat." The public, he said, "doesn't buy his promises."
Mitzna, in a statement, said, "Netanyahu once again proved that he is very good at explaining things but does not know how to get the country out of the mud."
Commenting on the prime minister's plan from the other side of the political spectrum, MKs Ze'ev Elkin (Likud) and Arye Eldad (Habayit Hayehudi) responded to Tuesday's plan with demands for the removal of barriers to building West Bank settlements.
"We call on the prime minister to add to his plan the removal of political barriers on building in Judea and Samaria, and by doing so, to immediately solve the housing problems of thousands in a way that has national consent in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem," the MKs said in a statement.