New economic package passed by gov't as Labor threatens to challenge

The new plan, which calls for gradually raising the minimum wage to NIS 6000 a month by 2025, is being opposed by the Labor party and ministers Omer Bar Lev and Nachman Shai.

 A RAMI LEVY supermarket in Jerusalem last week.  (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
A RAMI LEVY supermarket in Jerusalem last week.
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s cabinet passed Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman’s new economic package on Sunday, despite opposition from Labor and Meretz.

Labor leader Merav Michaeli and her party colleagues Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev and Diaspora Affairs Minister Nachman Shai voted against the package deal as presented to the government, demanding changes and adjustments to the deal so that workers earning the minimum wage are not harmed by it.

The plan calls for gradually raising the monthly minimum wage to NIS 6,000 by 2025.

Labor, which wants the minimum wage raised immediately, threatened to prevent the plan from being passed in the Knesset if changes are not made. The party controls the Knesset Welfare Committee, where the bill is expected to be legislated.

But Liberman said the package must be passed into law as is, with no changes at all, or he would withdraw the plan.

 Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman (credit: NOAM MOSKOVITZ/KNESSET) Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman (credit: NOAM MOSKOVITZ/KNESSET)

Meretz said the government could be more flexible due to recent economic growth and a surplus in tax collections.

“It has become shocking,” said Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, Meretz’s chairman. “No matter what the data says, no matter what rose and fell, the Finance Ministry does not change its tone. They still keep saying they don’t have what to give.”

Joint List head Ayman Odeh said the cost of living would rise faster than the minimum wage. The government’s plan proved its ministers were disconnected from reality, he said.