Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer was charged with preparing a national plan to put people to work and integrate them into the labor market.
(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)
At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday), 2 May 2010:
1. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to the ‘Lights to Employment’ plan (the ‘Wisconsin Plan’):
"One of the changes we have made is the ‘Lights to Employment’ plan that promotes and encourages the unemployed – especially the chronically unemployed – to find work. This plan was launched on a pilot basis in several cities. It marked out 18,000 people, placed them in jobs. They stayed in the jobs and thus the plan certainly succeeded. It did not lack problems that must be corrected but the plan’s closure is a blow, a blow to the idea that we want to promote, that Israelis who can work – should work, period.
I am not prepared to give up on this. I also spoke about it with Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, and I asked the former to submit to the Cabinet soon – I mean weeks and certainly no more than two months – a new national plan that makes the corrections. Such a plan would enable us to advance the basic idea of putting people to work and integrating them into the labor market, giving the ability to earn a decent living for themselves and their families, and boosting their self-esteem, which is a very fundamental point of both economics and psychology.
I would like to make it clear that if we succeed in reaching levels of participation similar to those that prevail in Europe, which currently lags behind us in many respects, Israel will be one of the most prosperous countries in the world. This is one of our two or three greatest ills, alongside bureaucracy and cartelization, which we must struggle against. We will submit a new, corrected national plan for Cabinet approval – and to the Knesset if necessary. I believe that both of these will prove necessary and we will do so during the coming Knesset session."
2. Prime Minister Netanyahu paid tribute to his outgoing intelligence advisor, Col. Uri Halperin.
3. On the occasion of National Reservist Recognition Day, Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai and IDF Chief Reserve Officer Brig.-Gen. Shuki Ben-Anat discussed reserve duty in 2010, including the compensation that reservists receive. They noted that the ages of the average reserve company and battalion commander, and average soldier, are 36 and 31, respectively. Among reserve commanders, 86% are married, 6% were born abroad, 90% are self-reported academics and 3% are students. Among reserve soldiers, 50% are married, 19% were born abroad, 73% are self-reported academics and 18% are students.
Prime Minister Netanyahu said: "I would like to thank all reservists who bear the burden of long days, and occasionally weeks and months, every year for Israel’s security. While the State of Israel has a unique regular army, in the end it relies on the people and mobilization of reservist soldiers and commanders. This is, in effect, the guarantee of Israel’s security and our ability to maintain the state and repel attacks against it. I know that the burden is not always shared evenly; perhaps this can be changed. We must certainly express our special appreciation to those who bear the burden and thus help us all."
4. The Cabinet approved a regular salary supplement for certain National Insurance Institute and President’s Residence employees.
5. The Cabinet adopted measures to hasten construction and the transition to permanent housing for families that were evacuated within the framework of the Disengagement Plan.
6. The Cabinet approved the inclusion of dental care for children up to the age of 8 in the health basket. Prime Minister Netanyahu thanked Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman and noted that, "Every boy and girl in Israel would be able to receive dental care for the symbolic amount of NIS 20. Sometimes such care can cost thousands of shekels. This is a socially oriented step of the highest order. It gives an equal basis for care for Israeli children regardless of the parents’ income. I think that this is a welcome step."