PM offers package of benefits to stave off strike

Netanyahu answers anger over price increase of basic goods with increase in minimum wage, cancellation of latest gas tax.

Netanyahu speech 311  (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Netanyahu speech 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday addressed growing concerns over sharp price increases in basic goods such as water, bread and gas that have led to threats of a general strike.
Netanyahu offered a package of benefits that could help the public deal with the rising price of oil in the world that he said was the cause of the price increases.
After failed talks with PM, Histadrut prepares for strike

The prime minister said that he would be lessening the price of public transportation by ten percent, decreasing the cost of water for those with an average rate of usage, raising the minimum wage for those working in the public sector and canceling the latest tax increase on gas.
Netanyahu said that these measures constitute a responsible answer for fulfilling people's social needs while maintaining a stable economy.
"We don't want to blow up the budget and end up like some European countries, such as Greece," Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu called on Histadrut Labor Federation chairman Ofer Eini to speak with him about these measures and accept them.
Kadima dismissed Netanyahu's plan, saying he failed to solve the main problems of the Israeli people.
"This is what a prime minister at the end of his way looks like. Serially giving in and giving conflicting messages every day influenced by headlines and threats - these are clear signs of a lack of leadership and a lost way," a statement released by the opposition party said.
Knesset Finance Committee chairman Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism)  praised the package of economic benefits offered by Netanyahu.
Gafni said that the proposed moves were a step in the right direction but lamented the fact that they did not come sooner.
Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer lauded the steps, saying that the they do not exceed the budget and do not increase the deficit.
Fischer said that it was important to maintain budgetary discipline in light of the uncertainty caused by the current geopolitical situation in the Middle East.