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Committee Responds to this Summer's Tent Protest in Israel

Recommendations include increase in welfare, education and low-income housing funding
By: Leonard Carl
Published: September 27th, 2011 in News » Israel

This summer’s massive social “tent protests” in the streets of Israel to protest the high cost of living, seems to be paying dividends.

A committee, created by the Israeli government in response to the protests, has come out with its much-anticipated recommendations.

Presented on September 26th, the committee, led by Tel Aviv University economist, Manuel Trajtenberg, recommended that Israel expands social welfare spending by $8 billion over a five year period with the increase funding coming from Israel’s defense budget in order to step up funding for welfare, education and low-income housing.

While a number of opponents to the recommendations let their displeasure be heard during the announcement, Trajtenberg, who acknowledge the ongoing threats made against Israel defended the committee’s recommendations, saying, "Israel's social security is as important as its physical security," according to Haaretz.

Along with the proposed defense cuts, the committee recommended increasing taxes on the wealthy, corporations and capital gains, as well as freezing planned tax cuts for the middle class.

The committee also recommended expanding free education to toddlers; reducing excise taxes on fuel and tariffs on electrical products and foods; more benefits for working mothers; and implementing health and regulatory changes. The committee also recommended the construction of nearly 200,000 new apartments while imposing fines on empty apartments and other buildings not being used.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the recommendations "an important milestone for the Israeli economy and society,” and that implementation of the moves would "lead to Israelis being able to purchase, and do more, with their money."

Related articles: tent protests, israel, cost of living, government committee makes recommendations
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