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PM Appoints Social Justice Committee of Ministers

The prime minister has appointed a social justice committee of ministers to address problems raised by “tent city” protesters.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 8/7/2011, 4:09 PM

Tent protesters watch Netanyahu
Tent protesters watch Netanyahu
Yoni Kempinski

In another effort to quell what appears to be a growing wave of polite social unrest similar to America's 1960's "revolutions" Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has appointed a social justice committee of 15 ministers that is intended to address the problems raised by the “tent city” protesters.

Sunday's announcement came in the wake of demonstrations that after a fourth week, by Saturday night, had grown to an unprecedented 300,000 protesters in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Netanyahu told the weekly Cabinet meeting that representatives of various groups would be invited to appear at round table discussions of the new committee. Ministers are then expected to translate the information conveyed at those appearances into practical proposals for ways to ease the hardships faced by average Israelis.

The proposals will be forwarded for review by the social-economic cabinet headed by Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz.

A statement sent to media said that Professor Manuel Trajtenberg, chairman of the National Economic Council, will head the committee.

Expressing caution about his new role, Trajtenberg said he had “mixed feelings” about the task ahead. “We are witness to a powerful process,” he noted, pointing out it would be difficult to meet the expectations of hundreds of thousands of people.

Protest leaders meanwhile have rejected the initiative even before it has been launched, demanding instead to meet with the prime minister directly.