Economy Minster Naftali Bennett unveiled a plan on Tuesday to help spur entrepreneurship by giving new businesses a five-year grace period from the country’s notoriously heavy regulation.

The plan would allow new businesses time to create their products, put them to market, get revenues flowing and perhaps even become profitable, before holding them to the same regulatory standards as established businesses.

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Though he strongly believes in the importance of regulations on matters such as environment, equal employment, safety and so on, Bennett told Tel Aviv University’s Business-Academic Club, a more basic set of regulations could help new companies survive.

“After five years, we’ll throw all the garbage on,” he said.

New companies create jobs at twice the rate of big, established ones, he said, adding that providing more credit to new businesses was also necessary to encourage successful young companies.

He further called on Israel to focus not just on hi-tech, but on what he called “lighthouse products.” Comparing Israel to a lighthouse in the stormy Middle East, he explained that “lighthouse products” were those that could help people around the world, dealing with agriculture, energy, water saving, life sciences and cyber security.

Pushing innovations in those fields, he said, would diversify Israel’s economy and help it build strong trade ties with emerging markets in Asia and Africa, as well as provide the country some good PR – changing the conversation from the ever-present debate over the conflict with the Palestinians.

“I think this is the right thing economically and politically,” said Bennett, who has been touting a plan to annex 60 percent of the West Bank. “I see the economic diplomacy taking more of a role than classic politics.”
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