When details of the new government coalition emerged this week, Naftali Bennett,
who led Bayit Yehudi to a 12- mandate showing in the Knesset, raised a few
eyebrows by taking on an unprecedented cabinet position: economy and trade
The reason nobody has held that position until now is that it’s
a new name for the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry, which Bennett reportedly
insisted on changing because nobody knew what it did.
Bennett, a former
hi-tech entrepreneur with clear views on how the government should interact with
business, was concerned he would not get credit for good economic reforms, a
source close to him said.
“They called it ‘Economy and Trade Ministry’ so
it would be clear who is responsible for the changes they, with God’s help, will
bring about,” the source said.
People surveyed guessed that the Industry,
Trade and Labor Ministry did anything from technology to communications, the
source added. It’s abbreviation didn’t help clarify the matter.
the ministry is responsible for promoting Israel’s economic
Unlike the Finance Ministry, which deals with the state’s economy
from a fiscal perspective – overseeing budgets and payments, taxes and capital
market regulation – the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry is in charge of
supervising and encouraging trade, assisting research and development and
regulating consumer products. In many ways, it supervises “the real economy” as
opposed to the financial and regulatory aspects the Treasury deals
Yet there may be some unexpected costs to the rebranding effort.
More than simply buying new stationary, the ministry would have to get a new
domain for its website. That would break the links to all the ministry’s forms,
information and documents that business, both in Israel and abroad, rely on. The
email addresses would have to be overhauled along with the new domain name, and
the website would have to reestablish itself in search engines.
ministry did not respond to queries on whether it had faced difficulties with
people knowing what, exactly, it does.