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The Associated Press October 9, 2011, 11:42AM ET

Israel responds to protester demands on economy

In a victory for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Cabinet has approved steps to lower living costs in response to mass street protests this summer.

A committee appointed by Netanyahu recommended a multibillion plan that would boost free education for young children, give tax breaks to parents, increase affordable housing and cut military spending.

Israel's powerful defense establishment, as well as ultra-Orthodox parties inside the governing coalition, had opposed the program, fearing their pet projects would be in danger.

But the Cabinet on Sunday voted in favor 21-8. Last week, Netanyahu was unable to muster a simple majority when he tried to bring it to a vote.

Protest leaders say the measures are not enough.

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