Israel's Bureaucracy Isn't Undemocratic, It's Inept

The country’s civil servants don’t hide money from politicians and the public intentionally—they just doesn’t know how to wisely spend it all.

Then-Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon at a conference on September 1, 2019. Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

Then-Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon at a conference on September 1, 2019. Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

Response
Sept. 16 2020
About the author

Reuven Frankenburg spent forty years in Israel’s Finance Ministry and is currently a fellow at the Kohelet Policy Forum.


In his insightful and informative essay, Haviv Rettig Gur introduces the English-speaking reader to Israel’s financial bureaucracy, its history, its virtues, and its vices. I have spent many years working in this bureaucracy and observing it, and I agree with much of Gur’s analysis, but I would like to suggest that the bureaucracy is not so undemocratic, unaccountable, or indispensable as he claims. Both his glowing picture of its members’ dedication and abilities, and his claims about the extent of its power, are, it seems to me, exaggerated.

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More about: Israel & Zionism, Israeli economy