MK Moshe Gafni 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The government should establish a public committee to address the high level of
concentration of power in the economy, Knesset Finance Committee chairman Moshe
Gafni said Monday.
“There is a very small number of people or families
who have access to many businesses and who own a large share of the economy,” he
said at his committee’s meeting. “They also control the communications sector.
At any time in the future this group of people may be able to run the country
because any decision they take could lead to a crisis. It won’t be possible to
control or criticize them because these families also own the media. Such a
situation is frightening.”
Gafni said the government must establishes a
public committee or else private-member bills would be advanced to address the
“If the government establishes a public committee, we will
cooperate,” he said. “If not, we will continue to discuss and advance other
proposals on our own, which the government does not like. As a state, we cannot
ignore the issue.”
At the committee meeting, MKs also said a public
committee should examine the separation between ownership of real companies and
financial institutions and the appointment of directors by the public.
recent months, some MKs have called for legislation to regulate and reduce
cross-ownership by families that control both financial firms and industrial
companies, which they say is stifling competition.
Last month, Bank of
Israel Governor Stanley Fischer warned that the high level of
power in the economy could harm competition and the financial
“Israel’s economy is a highly concentrated one compared
other economies,” he said. “About 20 business groups control half of the
in Israel. This has implications for the degree of competition, and in
certain situations could damage the financial system.”
banks monitors this area closely, and the constraints he imposes on the
of concentration in banks’ credit portfolios are intended to address
issue,” Fischer said. “The handling of this matter must be based on
and correct information, and on a thorough analysis of the implications
proposed solutions, and not on unfounded populist rhetoric.”