Social protest leaders slam approval of Trajtenberg report

Daphni Leef says c'tee recommendations offer no solution to housing crisis; Student leader decries "cosmetic changes" report offers.

Dafni Leef 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Dafni Leef 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The approval of the Trajtenberg Committee's recommendations on Sunday was met with criticism by the two most prominent leaders of the social justice protest movement that swept the country over the summer.
Daphni Leef, the 26-year-old Tel Aviv woman who in July launched the “social justice” protest movement that led to the formation of the Trajtenberg Committee, criticized the government’s approval of the committee’s recommendations, saying, “Where’s the public housing? What about day care? What about our crumbling health care system? Now is the time when real solutions are needed.”
Leef added, “If the problem that brought us out into the streets was the housing crisis, how come the government isn’t offering a single meaningful solution to this? Where is the public housing? Where is the affordable housing? In many different countries in the world, governments have come to the conclusion that they must get involved in the housing market. This report doesn’t offer any solution, only a continuation of the same policies that brought us to the current crisis.”
She also slammed what she said is the document’s failure to address problems in the country’s public health care system, saying, “Public health care is not even brought up in a comprehensive manner in the report, almost as though the government is not aware of the severe crisis taking place in the Israeli health care system.”
Leef joined other leaders of the protest movement on Sunday in saying that the social issues facing Israel require the formation of a special “welfare state” budget for 2012. She said that she believes that solutions to the social problems facing Israel can be found in a report compiled by a team of advisors working with the protest movement, a document entitled the “Spivak Report.”
The report calls for a new “social budget” for 2012, with a greater allocation of government spending for social issues.
Head of the National Union of Israeli Students Itzik Shmuli said Sunday that “the wholesale approval of the report’s recommendations is a serious mistake. The report makes some important statements but follows them up with watereddown recommendations that don’t solve the problems in housing – and in particular, public housing – and don’t address the elimination of contracted workers and the rising costs of basic goods.”
Shmuli added that the social problems facing Israelis “will not be solved through cosmetic changes” and vowed that the student union will continue their protest measures and “will expand these actions in the streets and the corridors of the Knesset.”
The student union also issued what they called the “Students Document” on Sunday, which listed a number of suggestions to improve social conditions in Israel. These suggestions include, among others, an increase in the number of affordable housing units to be built, housing solutions for homeless Israelis, a reduction in the employment of contracted workers, and free day care from the moment new mothers finish their maternity leave.