PM thanks Likud for passing housing reform in c'tee

Netanyahu singles out Steinitz for praise, says people "can see you're doing well"; Elkin slams opposition for not supporting reform bill.

Binyamin Netanyahu 521 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Binyamin Netanyahu 521
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu thanked his Likud party members for passing housing reform legislation in a joint session of the Knesset Economics and Interior Committees, speaking at a Likud faction meeting on Monday.
"Yesterday I asked ministers to carry their weight," the prime minister said, "Today I can say that they did. I am glad progress is being made to improve the housing market in Israel"
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Earlier Monday, a joint meeting of the Knesset Economics and Interior Committees passed reforms to the national housing committees, expediting the construction planning process by circumventing bureaucracy.
Netanyahu told the gathered Likud MKs that he will present his own housing plan on Tuesday.
Thanking the entire faction for helping find solutions, he singled out Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, who he said, "always carries the weight of the economy."
The results of Steinitz's work prove it, Netanyahu said, pointing to economic growth and "possibly the lowest unemployment in the nation's history." Addressing the finance minister, Netanyahu added, "Yuval, you have an important part in the economy doing so well. All objective people can see you're doing well."
Being finance minister, he said, "is a difficult job." When the job is done well, however, "you see the results."
Looking ahead to coming economic and political challenges, Netanyahu said, "There are missions coming up: stopping the cartels of the Israel Lands Authority and passing the housing reform in the Knesset."
Likud MK Ze'ev Elkin, also addressing the faction meeting, lamented the lack of support in the opposition for the Likud housing reform legislation.
"Unfortunately, the opposition didn't behave responsibly [by voting against the housing reform]," he said. Taking a jab at opposition leader Tzipi Livni, Elkin added, "People responsible for the shortage of apartments, including people who [previously served as] housing minister used the debate as a platform for political taunting."
Earlier, during the Knesset meeting to discuss the housing crisis, students interrupted the proceedings with yells of, "We're sick of this."
The students, who set up camp both inside and outside the Knesset, built a protest tent in Gan HaSus, and declared their intent to stay there round-the clock until the government makes reasonable progress on the housing crisis.
The protest came on the tail of mass protests in Tel Aviv and in Jerusalem, the latter of which saw at least 1,000 demonstrators marching on the Knesset Sunday night, perturbed over the soaring cost of housing.
Lahav Harkov contributed to this report