Economic ministries hold ceremonies for hand-overs

Outgoing finance minister Steinitz wishes Lapid luck in carrying the "50-ton" burden of the position.

March 19, 2013 22:54
1 minute read.
Ougoing finance minister Steinitz and incoming minister Lapid at office change over, March 19, 2013.

Lapid and Steinitz at Finance Ministry handover 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

The new ministers of the Finance and Industry, Trade and Labor ministries took their positions at official handing-over ceremonies on Tuesday, and the outgoing ministers wished them luck.

At the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry, which is to be renamed the Economy and Trade Ministry, outgoing minister Shalom Simhon praised his successor, Naftali Bennett, saying he was proud that an important economic ministry would be led by a prominent politician.

“I am pleased to be replaced by a man with values like you,” Simhon said. The task ahead would be formidable, he said.

Bennett would have to set the country on a path to create 700,000 jobs in the next seven years, he added.

Bennett said the cost of living was the greatest challenge facing Israel. It was anti-Zionist because it deters people from coming to live in Israel, he said.

At the Finance Ministry, the incoming minister, Yair Lapid, thanked his predecessor, Yuval Steinitz, for his service.

“Being finance minister is particularly hard for good people,” Lapid said. “The impressive thing, Yuval, is that even those who oppose you know you are a good, caring man.”

Steinitz wished Lapid luck in carrying the “50-ton” burden of the position, saying the important policy goals were low unemployment and high growth.

“That’s the name of the game,” he said. “On that, every finance minister in the world is tested.”

“Unemployment is people,” he added. “Unemployment isn’t macro. It touches hundreds of thousands of people and their families.”

Steinitz said he left the position with the satisfaction of knowing that unemployment was at its lowest level in years.

Finance Ministry directorgeneral Doron Cohen told Lapid: “You are coming into the position of lobbyist for all the people, from which each sector wants money. When you give it, remember, it’s from the pockets of the people.”

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