Netanyahu after Court throws wrench into gas deal: Gov't must be given tools to govern

"We were elected to bring results to the citizens, and we need the tools to do that," Netanyahu says at cabinet meeting.

April 3, 2016 12:16
1 minute read.

Netanyahu: Gov't must be given tools to govern

Netanyahu: Gov't must be given tools to govern

Just days after the High Court of Justice struck down the government’s natural gas deal, a signature feature of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s economic policies, he told the cabinet on Sunday that the economy must be trimmed of over-regulation.

Economic growth occurs through opening markets to Israeli exports, something the government is doing through negotiating trade agreements with China and Japan, and also through “extracting the gas from the sea,” he said.

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“One of the reasons the Israeli economy is not reaching its potential is because of excessive standards, bureaucracy and regulation which are then passed on to the consumers, who pay higher prices for services,” Netanyahu said.

The premier said the cabinet will take a series of steps to reduce regulation and “give the elected government the ability to govern.

We were elected to bring results to the citizens, and we need the tools to do that. In the end we will be judged by results, not bureaucracy.”

On March 27, the High Court ruled the natural gas industry framework is unconstitutional, upending an agreement that would have frozen prices for 10 years. The court suspended the deal for one year, during which time the government will be required to change it, and possibly bring it back to the Knesset for a vote.

Netanyahu told the cabinet that he was pleased to have received the Bank of Israel’s annual economic report on Sunday. Among the good news in it, he said, were historically low unemployment data, and a real increase in salaries in many sectors.

“The key to the future depends on growth,” he said, adding that “everything we want to accomplish in terms of the budget, services and infrastructure improvement is dependent on economic growth.”

Toward that end, he said, Israel and China announced the start of free trade agreement negotiations last week. In parallel, he added, the government is pursuing talks with Japan about most-favored nation trade status.

The government is working to open Asian markets to the Israeli economy, Netanyahu said, adding that this could be characterized as a significant – even historic – change.

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