Bennett rebrands Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry

Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry, by any other name, would smell as sweet.

March 15, 2013 02:29
1 minute read.
Naftali Bennett.

Naftali Bennett 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)


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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 minister.

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.

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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.

In fact, the ministry is responsible for promoting Israel’s economic growth.

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 with.

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.

The ministry did not respond to queries on whether it had faced difficulties with people knowing what, exactly, it does.

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