Making Israel’s Economic Problems Worse

Excessive regulation, rising food prices, high taxes, and government waste threaten the stability of Israel’s economy. Yair Lapid, the outgoing Treasury Minister, rode into office promising to ameliorate these problems; instead, he wasted political capital on reforms that could not make it through the Knesset, accomplished little, or were simply counterproductive—leaving the Israeli economy in worse condition, according to Shoham Wexler, than it was two years ago:

The tax burden is scaring away investors and leaving the private sector in the lurch, which has already been buried under the weight of taxes and regulation. As Treasury Minister, Lapid wasted hundreds of billions of our taxpayer dollars. Rather than invest the money in reducing the tax burden on businesses, the stock market, and companies, and providing credit for small businesses, Lapid preferred to invest the money through the public sector. The enormous budgets of the Transportation Ministry continued to become more bloated, and the same is true for the boondoggles of Education Ministry reform and the government companies.

Lapid is a grave disappointment with zigzags, unsuccessful reforms. The Treasury Minister who declared “I am not a socialist” failed to understand the important principle of capitalism: entrepreneurship. Rather than encourage it, he crushed it. Rather than release the public’s money back to the public by reducing taxes and government intervention, he increased government involvement in the economy, dissuading both investors and consumers from increasing their activity.

Read more at Mida

More about: Capitalism, Economics, Free market, Israeli economy, Israeli politics, Yair Lapid

The Diplomatic Goals of Benjamin Netanyahu’s Visit to the U.S.

Yesterday, the Israeli prime minister arrived in the U.S., and he plans to address a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, but it remains uncertain whether he will meet with President Biden. Nonetheless, Amit Yagur urges Benjamin Netanyahu to use the trip for ordinary as well as public diplomacy—“assuming,” Yagur writes, “there is someone to talk to in the politically turbulent U.S.” He argues that the first priority should be discussing how to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons. But there are other issues to tackle as well:

From the American perspective, as long as Hamas is not the official ruler in the Gaza Strip, any solution agreed upon is good. For Israel, however, it is quite clear that if Hamas remains a legitimate power factor, even if it does not head the leadership in Gaza, sooner or later, Gaza will reach the Hizballah model in Lebanon. To clarify, this means that Hamas is the actual ruler of the Strip, and sooner or later, we will see a [return] of its military capabilities as well as its actual control over the population. . . .

The UN aid organization UNRWA . . . served as a platform for Hamas terrorist elements to establish, disguise, and use UN infrastructure for terrorism. This is beside the fact that UNRWA essentially perpetuates the conflict rather than helps resolve it. How do we remove the UN and UNRWA from the “day after” equation? Can the American aid organization USAID step into UNRWA’s shoes, and what assistance can the U.S. provide to Israel in re-freezing donor-country contributions to UNRWA?

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Gaza War 2023, U.S.-Israel relationship