ways finds a way around it. It is a
problem of political will."
Israel's practice of linking
wages to the cost-of-living index
does not cause inflation, "but
makes it difficult to fight infla-
tion," Levenson adds. Israel's in-
flation in December and January
was very low, but March was the
highest on record. The govern-
ment's "Package Deals I and II"
wage-and-price freezes were only
designed to give the government
"breathing space to do what is
necessary," and that has not been
Eight-six percent of Israel's
$24 billion budget is in hard-to-
cut areas, Levenson explains.
Thirty-eight percent goes to debt
service (interest on loans), 20
percent goes to defense and 28
percent to health and education.
Levenson believes a shifting of
Israeli manpower from govern-
ment jobs to high-tech export in-
dustries will be the long-range
solution to Israel's economic
woes. Israel has always had a gap
in imports vs. exports. In 1949,
exports were valued at only 11
percent of Israel's imports. In
1983, the export figure rose to 60
percent of imports. However, that
1983 gap represented $4 billion
in Israel's balance of payments
deficit. In 1984, the figure was
cut to $3 billion. "This private
sector represents the only alter-
native to government interven-
tion," he says.
Levenson says concerned
Americans can help Israel by
encouraging the Israeli private
sector through importing Israeli
goods for personal or business use
and by purchasing the stock of Is-
raeli companies on American
Israeli stocks on American ex-
changes are denominated in dol-
lars and information on the com-
panies is available in the United
States. "The success of these
firms means more jobs in Israel,"
He adds that there is a whole
range of more active ways inves-
tors can aid Israel through
partnerships and other business
"Those more interested in
classic philanthropy can help
through the United Jewish Ap-
peal and other specific Israeli
groups," he says. "And the vib-
rant, six-month-old American Is-
rael Chamber of Commerce in the
Detroit area has people with
ideas, funding, brokers, etc. to
help in the investment areas."
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
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