Netanyahu calls for free market reforms

March 6, 2016  

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu took aim at government intervention in the economy on Sunday at the beginning of the weekly Cabinet meeting.

Netanyahu blamed overregulation and state interference in the economy for Israel’s failure to attract outside investment and the relatively modest pace of economic growth.

“In Israel we have excessive regulation, excessive bureaucracy and excessive legislation; the combination of these three things is causing Israel to be less and less competitive, less attractive to foreign investors,” Netanyahu told the Cabinet.

“This says that the prices of products and of services are too high. The citizen pays more and businesses here do less business.”

Netanyahu pledged to make deregulation a primary focus of his government in hopes that it will spur economic growth.

“A main goal of this government is to reduce the excessive regulatory burden in Israel. We are starting to discuss this in the Cabinet today; tomorrow it goes to a special ministerial committee. The greatest reform that we in the Cabinet could enact is to reduce the regulatory burden on doing business in Israel and on the government administration.”

Netanyahu’s distinctly market-oriented talk signals a possible return to the neo-liberal economic policies he pursued as Finance Minister from 2003-2005. The fiscal reforms implemented during his tenure are largely credited with bringing the Israeli economy out of a recession and kicking off more than a decade of growth.

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