MKs slam PM over rejection of Trajtenberg recommendations

Kadima MKs call for Knesset finance, economic committees to convene on report that Netanyahu will nix socioeconomic committee's recommendations.

MK Ruhama Avraham (Kadima) 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
MK Ruhama Avraham (Kadima) 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Kadima MKs slammed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Monday over a report he will nix key Trajtenberg Report recommendations on education, and they called for the Knesset finance and economic committees to convene urgently on the matter.
Business daily The Marker reported Sunday that Netanyahu is planning to abandon multi-billion shekel cuts to the defense budget. Citing Finance Ministry officials, the report said the move would put at risk two recommendations made by Trajtenberg – free education for children aged 3-4, and the nationwide deployment of after-hours educational care for children aged 3-9.
Officials in the Prime Minister’s Office say Netanyahu has discussed the matter several times in recent weeks with Treasury and Defense officials and with Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer, but that he still has not made a decision.
“Over time we have seen that members of the Finance Committee were correct, and that the government only established the Trajtenberg Committee to buy time,” Kadima MK Ruhama Avraham-Balila said.
Finance Committee Chairman Moshe Gafni (UTJ) agreed to Avraham-Balila’s request to hold a discussion on the matter, and said the report proved the Trajtenberg Committee’s establishment was “unnecessary,” as it dealt with the same issues that had already been dealt with by the Finance Committee.
Kadima MK Yoel Hasson said this was proof that Prof. Manuel Trajtenberg – who headed the committee on socioeconomic change – was “no more than a tool for Netanyahu,” and said he would take the matter to the Knesset Economics Committee.
He added: “The [Trajtenberg] report which Netanyahu and [Finance Minister Yuval] Steinitz boast about was part of a performance whose purpose was to silence the socioeconomic protest. Through his actions, Netanyahu has delivered a blow to the face of Trajtenberg, and a slap to the public.”
Meanwhile, Steinitz told Army Radio that he hopes the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee will not block a Treasury request to add NIS 780 million to this year’s defense budget at the expense of other ministries. The job of Knesset committees is not to obstruct budgetary policy, but to supervise, Steinitz said.
The addition to the defense budget, which has already been approved by the Finance Committee, will be funded by reductions from the following ministries: Welfare and Social Services; Industry, Trade and Labor; Housing; Tourism; Communications; Energy and Water; and Environmental Protection.