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Netanyahu and Manuel Trajtenberg, committee's head
Photo: Marc Israel Sellem
Protesters removing tents in Tel Aviv
Photo: Moti Kimchi
Rothschild Boulevard protesters
Photo: Moti Kimchi
Gov't to vote on Tranjtenberg Report after all
Netanyahu retracts decision to delay vote on socioeconomic committee's recommendations, drawing criticism from ministers, public
The government has gathered to discuss the Trajtenberg Report and is expected to decide whether to adopt the blueprint for the reprioritization of the state's socioeconomic agenda later on Monday.

 

The report is being put up for the government's approval despite a statement that was released by the Prime Minister's Office on Sunday, announcing that the vote has been postponed due to pressure from the public and some coalition factions.

 

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Earlier Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who is visiting Ukraine, in a last-minute attempt to gather the majority necessary to pass the report, but to no avail; Lieberman's party, Yisrael Beitenu, is still expected to vote against it.

 


טרכטנברג לצד נתניהו, היום בישיבת הממשלה (צילום: מרק ישראל סלם)

Netanyahu at government meeting (Photo: Marc Israel Sellem)

  

"The citizens of Israel must know that we are changing the priorities," Netanyahu said. "We are doing this job responsibly, while the primary task that stands before us is reducing the cost of living in Israel. This is the root of the trouble, and this is what we intend to fix or change."

 

The prime minister warned that if Israel does not act responsibly, it might go down the same road as other nations worldwide, which are facing financial collapse. "We will act differently," he said. "We won't extend the state's overdraft. We will adopt the core of the report, and then we will move forward with private proposals, and Israel will beat a new path."

 

Factions oppose report

Several ministers voiced criticism of the report and of the way it was being handled.

 

"It's inappropriate to (schedule a) vote without giving the ministers any time to prepare and study the report," Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov said at the meeting.

 

Defense Minister Ehud Barak released a statement ahead of the meeting, expressing opposition to the adoption of the recommendations.

 

"The protest and the Trajtenberg Committee are serious and significant issues that must be discussed by the government extensively and in-depth," he said. "The Independence Party… will act towards delaying the government vote until the plan's implications are made clear."

 

Housing and Construction Minister Ariel Atias, whose faction, Shas, intends to vote against the adoption of the report, said that while the report helps the middle class, it does not address the plight of the poorer sectors who live in public housing.

 

"It is our duty to help them and make changes," he said. "If alterations are made, we will support the report. If no alterations are made, we won't support it."


מתכוננים לפינוי בתל אביב (צילום: מוטי קמחי)

Protesters' last minute efforts (Photo: Motti Kimchi)

 

'PM's rush to pass report is questionable'

Meanwhile, the Tel Aviv Municipality continued to remove the encampments that have been set up around the city over the summer in protest against the high costs of living. The remaining dwellers of the tent city in Rothschild Boulevard packed their belongings as police officers stood by allowing them to vacate the sites on their own. Many were seen crying as they cleared their property.

 

National Student Union Chairman Itzik Shmuli urged the government on Saturday to reject the Trajtenberg Report in its entirety after Netanyahu announced that the report will not be discussed at the Socioeconomic Cabinet first, instead being immediately put up for government approval.

 

Yisrael Beitenu and Shas joined the call, threatening that if the vote takes place Monday they will vote against it.

 

Daphni Leef, who initiated the social protest that brought to the establishment of the Trajtenberg Committee and its subsequent report said that the prime minister's rush to pass the disputed report is "questionable."

 

Moran Azulay contributed to the report

 

 

 

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