´Housing recommendations a bluff for the public´ (JERUSALEM POST) By BEN HARTMAN 03/19/12)
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The cabinet’s approval of the Trajtenberg Committee’s housing
proposals is nothing more than a bluff for the Israeli public, one of
the leaders of last summer’s “J14” social justice protests said on
Itzik Shmuli, chairman of the National Union of Israeli Students,
said the committee’s recommendations were never serious enough to
begin with, and “in a larger sense, they [the government] weakened
all of the serious recommendations that were included in the report.
All of the government’s dealings with the demands of the protests
were superficial and not serious. If it looks like a bluff, walks
like a bluff, and smells like a bluff, chances are it is a bluff.”
Shmuli said the cabinet vote was further evidence of the government’s
neglect of the middle class, and its inability to take seriously the
protest movement that took to the nation’s streets last summer.
When asked if the students planned to take to the streets again, he
said, “They already know how to do this, and the way it looks right
now, I think it is absolutely a possibility.”
Stav Shafir, another one of the main activists behind the protest
movement, had a more positive impression of the cabinet decision. “We
see this as a great victory for the protests and it shows that
results can be reached,” she said, adding that “we see it as just a
Shafir said she believed the government still did not view affordable
housing as a legitimate request, or at least not to the degree to
where it would work to ensure that every Israeli could obtain housing.
She also said the government needed to look for “deep social
solutions,” such as laws ensuring that rent not exceed 30 percent of
a tenant’s income, and that more public housing needed to be built.
“We must use this as a beginning but continue to pressure the
government,” she said. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 03/19/12)
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