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September 01, 1989 - Image 34

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-09-01

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Israeli workers protest unemployment.

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his week, the govern-
ment of Israel declared
war on itself. Faced
with a two year recession that
has led to stagnation, massive
unemployment and high
prices, Finance Minister
Shimon Peres presented the
Cabinet with an emergency
bill aimed at cutting through
the official red-tape that he
believes has thwarted
economic growth. On Sunday,
by a vote of 14 to 3, his govern-
ment colleagues approved the
plan. .
The Finance Minister
arrived at his decision to take
drastic measures after
months of listening to bureau-
cratic horror stories from
frustrated potential investors.
At present, new enterprises
often have to receive 28
separate licenses and ap-
provals from various govern-
ment ministries and agencies,
a process that can take years.
According to Peres, there are
currently, "hundreds of mil-
lions of shekels waiting in line
to invest in new industries,
and no matter where they
turn, they encounter more
and more difficulties."
To alter this situation,
Peres' plan calls for the
establishment of a three-
member ministerial commit-
tee, which will be composed of
the Finance Minister, the
Likud's Housing Minister
David Levy, and Minister of
the Interior Arye De'eri of the
Shas Party. The committee

will have the authority to in-
sure that selected projects are
given all needed government
authorization within a fixed
(and brief) period.
There is broad trans-
partisan agreement that the
economy is choking in red-
tape. But some of Peres'
political opponents believe
that the current plan is ill con-
sidered. The Likud's Ronnie
Milo, the minister in charge of
environmental issues, fears
that it might lead to approv-
ing industries that would
damage public health stan-
dards. And his fellow Likud-
nik, Thurism Minister Gideon
Patt voiced concern that it
could be used to give preferred
treatment to political cronies.
"In general I support the
plan," said Patt, "but I don't
want to go back to the days of
the little black book" — a
reference to the notebook kept
by Labor's late, legendary
Finance Minister Pinchas
Sapir, in which he wrote down
favors dispensed to special
interests.
Non-partisan, observers are
skeptical about the plan's
chance for success. "It is only
putting out fires," said Pro-
fessor Yehezkel Dror, an
expert on Israeli public
administration. "The real
problem is that we aren't com-
petitive with other countries."
Professor Dror believes that
nothing short of a restructur-
ing of the economy can bring
this about.
That is unlikely to happen.
Despite recent liberalization,
Israel's economy retains a

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