Trajtenberg Warns MKs: Israel's Next Social Protest Won't Be Peaceful

Head of government-appointed committee on socioeconomic change urges MKs to accept social recommendations, says markets controlled by monopolies and politicians removed from citizens.

The head of the government-appointed committee on socioeconomic change in Israel, Prof. Manuel Trajtenberg, warned the government ministers on Tuesday that "there will not be a second, peaceful chance" to resolve the social crisis.

"The political system has moved away from the citizen and is not receptive to him," he said at a meeting held to discuss his committee's recommendations. "The citizen hears the market is growing but doesn't feel it. A growing monopolistic force had developed in the different local markets."

Trajtenberg - Emil Salman - October 4, 2011
Emil Salman

According to Trajtenberg, "there is room for privatization and outsourcing, but they must be done according based on quality and not just cost. There is nothing easier than opening the faucet."

Trajtenberg called on the MKs to approve the recommendations: "We must not miss the opportunity created by the social protest of 2011. And there will be no second, peaceful and nonviolent chance."

Intense pressure from various ministers and the leaders of the social protest has prompted the government to refrain from voting on Monday on the recommendations of the Trajtenberg committee.

The discussion took place despite the fact that the socioeconomic cabinet, which was supposed to hold a preliminary debate on the recommendations, has yet to convene and approve them.

Speaker of the Knesset, MK Reuven Rivlin (Likud) said that "the only place decisions are made is in the Knesset… the public protests have become entrenched in Israeli society, therefore the government made the decision to set up the Trajtenberg committee."

Since the committee's establishment in the wake of last summer's social protest, activists have expressed concern over the outcome of the committee's work because of its declared intent not to break the budgetary framework.

According to Student Union leader Itzik Shmuli, the report includes a number of positive elements, but lacks essential recommendations with regard to inequality, the cost of living and the housing situation.