avishay braverman 88.
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In another attempt to undermine the economic credibility of the other two main political parties, Professor Avishay Braverman, Labor's likely candidate for finance minister, rebuffed Binyamin Netanyahu's economic goals as "an old story that has not happened yet."
"As prime minister in the 1990s, Binyamin Netanyahu first made the promise that within 10 years, Israel would be one of the 10 richest countries in the world, which we have not seen happen. Now Bibi again makes the same promise," Braverman said at a meeting with the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce (FICC) in Tel Aviv.
In presenting their economic platforms ahead of the March elections, all three major parties have accused each other of "much talk but no action." Likud says Kadima is making empty promises while Labor accuses the Likud leaders of failing to take necessary steps to stop poverty during the Olmert-Netanyahu government. Kadima, in turn, has charged that Bibi and Labor Party chairman Amir Peretz, are speaking out of desperation because they have nothing to lose and, therefore, can promise whatever they want.
Braverman, fourth on the Labor list, focused his speech Wednesday on clarifying the differences between Kadima's economic platform and the Labor platform since the latter recently had been criticized for being too similar to Kadima's.
"We need to differentiate between those who intend to execute and those which have already led the economy and are now making contradictory statements between our social democratic world view and the way Olmert-Netanyahu controlled the economy," Braverman said.
The FICC, which supports the economic policy of the current government and supported the reforms during Netanyahu's tenure as finance minister was not in agreement with some of the aspects of Braverman's speech on Netanyahu.
"Netanyahu's policy was the right policy, which succeeded in moving Israel's economy out of a deep economic crisis," said Uriel Lynn, FICC president.
Speaking to the business leaders, Braverman defended Labor's proposal to raise the minimum wage against Kadima's call for instituting a negative income tax until 2008.
"Our proposal to raise the minimum wage could be implemented immediately. Who knows what will happen in 2008 or whether the government will remain until then?" Braverman said.
Furthermore, Braverman emphasized the need for real and more aggressive competition, which would require cutting red tape, improving the management of public and civil services and reforming the Israel Lands Administration to enable the transfer of land to private ownership.
"Israel has to be more aggressive in opening up to competition, otherwise there will be no factories here," Braverman stated.
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