The Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce on Tuesday revealed its proposal for an employer protection law in Jerusalem and urged immediate action to prevent the economy from collapsing.
FICC president Uriel Lynn accused Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of operating a policy of “extreme socialism” and the Knesset of having transformed into “the business sector’s enemy.” If current trends do not change, he said, Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz will be “personally responsible for the economy’s collapse.”
According to Lynn, the main question is not whether the government expands the budget deficit to 2.5 percent or to 3%, but rather whether it allows new and existing businesses to develop and spur economic growth. The business sector is not just a bunch of tycoons, he said, but consists of 375,000 businesses with yearly proceeds of NIS 1 million or more.
Two million Israelis depend directly on the success of at least one business, he added.
Businesses are currently weighed down by the burden of environmental and financial regulations, workplace and consumer protection laws and administrative requirements such as the filing of online VAT reports, among other things, Lynn said.
Under the proposed law, which has already been submitted to Kadima, Yisrael Beytenu and Independence MKs, businesses will be permitted to maintain exclusive property rights without interference, freedom of contract will be protected and collection of retroactive taxes on profits will be prohibited. In addition, business owners will be permitted to determine their own employment structure.
Referring to the last point, Sakal Group chairman Solly Sakal said employers are forced to spend up to NIS 50,000 per worker to uphold new regulations that require them to validate whether contract workers are treated properly by outsourcing companies. This has created a situation, he said, where businesses task regular company employees with guarding warehouses instead of hiring professionals to do the same job.
“Doing business in Israel is a punishment,” Sakal said.
“My foreign partners don’t believe me when I try to explain our regulatory situation here. They think I am joking, but once they check for themselves, they no longer want to do business here. The business sector is the foundation of the economy and society; without it there is nothing. We are the breadwinners for the bureaucrats and the prime minister.”