Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu has made it clear that he will hold the Finance Ministry portfolio in the next Israeli government.
In that context, Mr. Netanyahu will meet in Tel Aviv on Sunday with the 40 ranking leading figures in the Israeli economy. Mr. Netanyahu has set an agenda where he will ask them for answers on dealing with Israel’s current economic crisis. The expected rise in unemployment and spurring growth in Israeli business and industry over the next two years will be on the agenda.
This is against the backdrop of the Bank of Israel’s gloomy forecast for an unprecedented 1.5-percent negative growth rate.
Among those invited include:
- Shari Arison and Danny Dankner of Bank Hapoalim;
- Galia Maor of Bank Leumi;
- Tzadik Bino of First International Bank;
- Former Finance Minister and close Netanyahu associate Prof. Yaakov Neeman, an expert on taxation;
- Former Accountant General in the Finance Ministry Yaron Zelekha;
- Shraga Brosh, president of the Manufacturers Association of Israel;
- Reuven Schiff, president of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Israel, who will explain the situation from the accounting angle;
- Moshe Tari, former chairman of the Israel Securities Authority, who will explain the stock market;
- Attorney Uriel Linn, president of the Israel Chambers of Commerce and former chairman of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee;
- and Elisha Yanai, a veteran high-tech man, who will be asked to review the situation in this important sphere in the Israeli economy.
Mr. Brosh, the president of the Manufacturers Association of Israel, said on Wednesday he intends to raise “the credit problem – a critical problem in light of the fact that non-bank credit has vanished and there is no recycling of old credit.”
Mr. Linn, president of the Israel Chambers of Commerce, will suggest Mr. Netanyahu form a team that will be authorized to approve investment in infrastructure with an emphasis on the periphery.
“My first advice to the designated prime minister is to put money into the economy to prevent a credit strangulation even at the expense of increasing the budget deficit, even more than the governor of the Bank of Israel has proposed,” accountant Mr. Schiff said.
Mr. Yanai, on the other hand, plans to say “high-tech must be encouraged with grants and money, discounts in taxes instead of paying unemployment.”
He says tax benefits are essential to reducing layoffs and reviving Israel’s economy.
David Bedein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org