All Three Agree: ILA Needs Reform

There is at least one thing the three leading candidates for prime minister agrred on yesterday: The Israel Lands Administration and the country's planning and zoning commissions suffer from "horrible" bureaucracy and do not properly serve the people. The three appeared one after the other at a conference of the Union of Local Authorities held in Tel Aviv.

Kadima chairperson and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni even claimed that the ILA was tainted with signs of corruption. All three pointed out the problematic existence of "fixers" acting between the ILA and the citizen, and the need for deep reforms in city planning bodies. Livni, Labor chairman and Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Likud head MK Benjamin Netanyahu told the 150 heads of local authorities of their economic plans for after the election - if they are elected, of course.

Livni said she would change the 2009 state budget to increase spending by billions of shekels for public transportation and infrastructure, as well as classrooms and desalination plants.

Barak spoke about security, and called on industrialists to send workers on unpaid leave as an alternative to dismissals.

Netanyahu said he would present a program for a huge reform in the ILA aimed at rezoning land for construction. He also said he would connect any town with over 50,000 people to the country's rail network and called for increasing teachers' salaries.