From:   Martin Kaminer <>
Sent time:   Sunday, October 09, 2011 11:40:22 AM
Subject:   SPAM-MED: [september17discuss] Israel Cabinet Approves Reforms to Cut Living Costs

As there's been discussion about / interest in parallel protest movements in other countries here's an update on the (proportionately) massive J14 protests in Israel in August, at least as it stands at the moment.  

These protests were principally aimed at reducing housing costs and resulted in the appointment of a Prime Ministerial committee which many saw as channeling popular pressure into a dampening/dilatory committee process whose recommendations would eventually be ignored and forgotten.  

Worth heeding lessons learned here as well as in Spain and other places.

October 9, 2011

Israel Cabinet Approves Reforms to Cut Living Costs

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel's cabinet on Sunday overwhelmingly approved an economic reform plan aimed at easing living costs in response to weeks of popular social protests.

Ministers voted 21-8 in favour of the proposals drawn up by a government-appointed panel lead by economist Manuel Trajtenberg, and submitted to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month.

"Implementation of the report will lower the cost of living, cut taxes, boost disposable income and make housing more affordable," Netanyahu told cabinet ministers, a statement from his office said.

The plan still faces an uphill battle in parliament before some of its key provisions can be implemented.

Netanyahu had sought a vote on the plan a week ago but he could not muster enough votes from ministers in his own Likud party and in coalition partners.

Israeli media reported that Netanyahu made a deal with the conservative Yisrael Beiteinu party on more benefits for those who have recently completed their compulsory military duty and for public housing.

The plan calls for cutting the defence budget by 5 percent in 2012, while raising capital gains and corporate taxes. That would produce money needed to boost social-welfare spending without breaching fiscal targets.

The Trajtenberg committee was formed after weeks of massive public demonstrations calling for lower living costs -- particularly for fuel, food, housing and child care -- rocked Netanyahu's right-wing coalition government.

Protesters throughout the summer camped out in major cities and their activism culminated last month in one of the largest-ever demonstrations in Israel's history.

The protests along with threats of consumer boycotts led some foodmakers to drop prices on cheeses and other staples.

(Reporting by Steven Scheer; Editing by Hans-Juergen Peters)