Israeli cabinet approves economic reforms in response to mass protests
JERUSALEM — Israel’s cabinet on Sunday approved the outline of economic reforms intended to address rising frustrations about the cost of living and income disparity in the Jewish state.
The proposals, which passed 21-8, were laid out by a committee appointed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this year, as Israelis took to the streets in record-breaking numbers to express their frustration about the economic situation.
Netanyahu had called off the vote on the proposals last week after it became clear he did not have the sufficient support to pass it.
“I gave my word — and kept it,” Netanyahu said in a statement issued by his office following the report’s approval on Sunday.
“The Trajtenberg report is good for Israeli citizens. It lowers the cost of living, decreases taxes, increases disposable income, significantly takes part in funding education for pre-schoolers, and makes housing more available.”
The committee, headed by respected economist Manuel Trajtenberg, delivered its 267-page report last month in which it outlined recommendations on housing, competitiveness, social services, education and taxation.
Defence Minister Ehud Barak, who heads the Independence party, voted against the recommendations, which are likely to be funded in part by cuts in the defence budget.
“The defence budget has for the past 20 years been consistently dropping despite the threats and challenges to Israel, which have been increasing over the past year,” he told the meeting, in remarks communicated by his office.
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Photo bBy Cherie Cullen [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.