Netanyahu: Cabinet to Vote on Recommendations of Israel's Social Reform Panel

Vote to take place despite previous statement from PMO saying recommendations would only be debated due to objections from right-wing Yisrael Beitenu party and ultra-Orthodox Shas party.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a Likud ministers’ meeting that he will be bringing the Trajtenberg Committee’s report to a cabinet vote on Monday, despite his office’s announcement stating otherwise on Sunday.

The prime minister’s office issued a statement on Sunday saying that the government would debate, but not vote on the social reform panel's recommendations due to objections from the right-wing Yisrael Beitenu party and ultra-Orthodox Shas party.

However, Netanyahu said on Monday that the socio-economic forum, a smaller group of ministers, would discuss the recommendations further, after which it would be possible to add in additional changes and recommendations as needed.

The prime minister called the Trajtenberg recommendations a “good report that allows for making necessary changes.” According to him, “today (Monday) we will change our national priorities and make amendments that will benefit the citizens of Israel, but we will do this responsibly.”

Netanyahu said that his goal was to lower the high cost of living in Israel, adding “we will not create a state in overdraft. If we don’t act responsibly we will reach a point that other states have hit and suffered economic collapse.”

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said at the start of the meeting on Monday that he was positive that most of the committee’s recommendations would receive the majority of governmental support. “In another month we will vote on the entire report,” he said.

Tourism Minister Stas Mesezhnikov said on Monday that his party, Yisrael Beitenu were still against the report, saying at the beginning of the meeting that the “flip-flopping of the past day is very upsetting. I am surprised that members of Shas and Habayit Hayehudi are willing to bring the report to a vote.”

Yisrael Beitenu ministers sent an angrily-worded letter to the cabinet secretary Sunday, in which they demanded that Monday’s meeting be cancelled.

The ministers were upset that the socio-economic forum did not first meet to discuss the proposals, and that they were not given enough time to go over the committee’s recommendations. They were also upset that the government did not consider the economic plan that it formulated separately.

Shas ministers also announced that they would object to the Trajtenberg committee’s recommendations because they deal with the needs of the middle class and not the lower class, and that they don’t include a satisfactory solution to the problem of public housing.

Netanyahu and Trajtenberg - Government Press Office - September 2011
Government Press Office