In the early afternoon Monday it was not yet clear whether the Cabinet would hold a vote on the main points recommended by the Committee for Social and Economic Change headed by Prof. Manuel Trajtenberg. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu wanted the vote held but ministers from Yisrael Beitenu, Shas and Independence objected.
Netanyahu hosted Prof. Trajtenberg at the session and wished him and his committee a good year "in the wake of the accelerated, serious and detailed work" that they did.
" I believe that there is a change of direction here," he said. "Israelis need to know that we are changing the national order of priorities. We are making many social corrections for the benefit of Israel's citizens, but we are doing so responsibly. The main mission before us is to lower the cost of living in Israel. This is the root of the distress affecting Israelis and this is what we are going to change and correct."
"We are changing the national order of priorities in a wide range of areas including childcare for toddlers, lowering a series of customs duties, enacting tax corrections and cancelling tax distortions, increasing competitiveness for products and services for the benefit of the Israeli economy, increasing negative income tax, housing easements, etc. We will discuss these today and at future meetings until detailed proposals are submitted.
"All of this will be done responsibly, without opening the country's overdraft. If we do not act responsibly, we could certainly lead the state of Israel into the situation of many other countries that are on the verge of economic bankruptcy, the collapse of their social welfare systems and high unemployment. We will act differently. We will adopt the main points of the report and afterwards we will move forward with detailed recommendations. Our intention will be to make social corrections while maintaining economic responsibility. I think that Israel will thereby make a new breakthrough and be a symbol for many other countries vis-à-vis the direction to take."