Labor MK Avishay Braverman vowed to keep Finance Minister Yair Lapid in check
Wednesday on his first day as chairman of the powerful Knesset Economics
Committee that oversees the Treasury.
Unlike Lapid, who is a political
novice with no socioeconomic background or education, Braverman is a
worldrenowned Stanford-educated economist. Braverman is a former World Bank
executive who was credited with building Ben-Gurion University of the Negev into
a world-class institution in his 16 years as its president.
of the committee, I will use my experience to oversee the government and help it
with reforms that will enable Israel to compete internationally while also
ensuring that the fruits of economic growth will trickle down to all the sectors
of the population,” Braverman said.
Braverman said he was disappointed
that Lapid was focusing so much on making the haredim bear the burden of cuts in
the state budget. He said Lapid’s high profile spat with haredim
in the Knesset
plenum was counterproductive.
“We are dealing with a sensitive,
complicated situation,” Braverman said. “I was embarrassed by the finance
minister’s behavior in the parliament. `His shows for the press will only
spread baseless hatred. The haredim are not the major issue of the
economy. It’s ridiculous to make all the budget cuts on their
Braverman said he wishes Lapid success in drafting the budget
but, from what he had seen of it so far via the press, there are no significant
changes from the policies of the previous government that Lapid campaigned
“I am looking forward to getting all the numbers that could
prove otherwise, but so far, I have not found any good news,” he said. “All of
the burden is still on the middle and poorer classes. Lapid says his budget is
Gospel for the working man, but I don’t think so. I guess there is no messiah
Braverman said that one of his goals as Economics Committee
chairman will be to encourage the development of long-term industry that employs
thousands of people, and not just start-ups.
“A book called us the
start-up nation, and I like start-ups,” Braverman said. “But then the start-ups
get bought by bigger companies and taken abroad. The weakness of Israel
is it has remained with just start-ups. Then the companies go to Europe,
China, and the US, leaving only low-paying jobs here. We need a policy of growth
based on industry and we will get one.”