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The cabinet on Sunday approved a four-year plan by the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry to increase sales of domestically made products as a way to create thousands of jobs.
"I commend the four-year initiative by Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer to boost 'Blue and White' purchases in an effort to increase employment and reduce unemployment," Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at the regular weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday.
The 2009-2012 plan is as part of the government's efforts to promote Israeli industry and reduce unemployment by giving preference to the purchase of locally manufactured goods. According to estimates by the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry, every NIS 1 billion spent on Israeli-made products rather than on imports will create 2,750 jobs. Moreover, every NIS 1b. not spent on production equipment from abroad but rather on local goods is estimated to create 1,125 jobs. A product is defined as Israeli if at least 35 percent of the cost is spent in Israel.
"The outbreak of the global economic crisis in the third quarter of 2008 has weighed on the Israeli economy, leading to a significant slowdown in economic growth and raising unemployment," said Ben-Eliezer. "The repercussions of the crisis demand renewed thinking. Now is the time to get the message across that the purchase of locally manufactured goods is creating jobs for the Israeli economy and will help citizens to make a living."
Over the next few weeks, the ministry together with the Israel Manufacturers Association will roll out a campaign that includes a media blitz, an educational program in the schools and the establishment of a 'Blue and White headquarters' in the ministry.
In partnership with the Manufacturers Association, the ministry will produce a sticker to be placed on all locally produced items, so that shoppers will be able to identify them easily.
In addition, the Infrastructures Ministry will order government ministries to act in accordance with the 'Blue and White' plan regarding tenders. The ministry will also create a position in all government offices and organizations subject to the tender laws for a person who will be responsible for making sure Israeli companies receive fair and equal consideration, and to receive complaints from parties who feel they were unfairly treated.
"I call upon the public to buy 'Blue and White,'" said Ben-Eliezer.