Sunday, August 7, 2011

Steinitz and Netanyahu calls on protesters to show responsibility for Israel's economy

"We cannot meet all the desires and demands. We live in the real world, and we still have heavy defense expenses that Norway and Sweden lack," Minister of Finance Yuval Steinitz told “IDF Radio" (Galei Zahal), as he called on the social protest leaders to show responsibility, not indifference to the debt crisis in Europe and the US.

Asked about the 320,000 protesters in last night's demonstrations across the country, Steinitz said"
"This was an impressive civic demonstration. Irrespective of its content, if our citizens care, that has positive aspects."

"Just as we should listen to the murmurings of the public's heart, and fight the high cost of living and high home prices, the public should listen to what is happening around the world. We're still navigating the Israeli economy in tough times. We must be responsible, act carefully and with proper caution. We must preserve the general economic policy structure and budget framework."
Steinitz promised that the Rothschild team that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu established today in response to the protesters' demands would submit its recommendations for dealing with the high cost of living by September. However, he reiterated his warning about not breaching the budget framework, saying, "Countries that used to live beyond their means are now paying dearly for it. We don’t want to end up like Greece, Spain, or other countries in the world."

"I'm attentive to the protest, but we can't satisfy everyone," Netanyahu stressed at the cabinet meeting. "We'll listen to everyone. We'll act sensitively and responsibly ... We'll conduct a real dialogue. We won't present lip-service solutions; we want to bring real solutions. In the end, we'll be judged on our practical solutions."

Netanyahu said that Trajtenberg's panel will submit recommendations on the following issues: 
"One, a change in priorities, with the goal of easing the economic burdens on Israel's citizens. Two, a change in the mix of tax payments. Three, expanding access to social services. Four, increasing competition and efficiency in the goods and services markets, with the goal of reducing prices. Five, implementing the housing plan we've already launched.

"The panel's recommendations will reflect the need to maintain fiscal responsibility in the state budget,Such responsibility is especially necessary at a time of economic uncertainty."