Business leaders fear for Israel's economic future

Heads of Israeli business organizations pen letter to Netanyahu, urging government to form a plan to prevent brain drain.

View of the Azrieli Towers in Tel Aviv. (photo credit: REUTERS)
View of the Azrieli Towers in Tel Aviv.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
In a letter to the prime minister, heads of Israeli business organizations say companies and well-educated people are leaving the country.
Shraga Brosh, president of the Manufacturers Association of Israel, Dov Amitai, president of the Israel Farmers Association, Yair Seroussi, president of the Association of Banks in Israel, and other business leaders, have written to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asking him to set annual growth targets for the Israeli economy and to redefine the conduct of economic and social policy.
The signatories to the letter contend that a lack of economic management represents a danger to the State of Israel's economic and social future. "We appeal to you out of genuine concern for the social and economic future of the State of Israel, and in the belief that by combining forces we will be able to improve the future of the state's eight million citizens."
According to the letter, the main causes of the present situation are "an increasing regulatory burden, extreme damage to private property rights, rising costs of doing business, and an unprecedented wave of privately sponsored legislation, without international parallel, that has turned the Israeli economy into one of the most difficult places in the world to run a business."
The letter further states: "In all branches of the private sector there is a growing trend of transferring business activity outside Israel. Even worse, because of the low level of disposable income in Israel in comparison with developed countries, economically strong and educated people are also choosing to transfer their place of residence outside Israel, and these trends pose dangers to Israel's economic and social future."
The business leaders seek to set a growth target of 5-6% annually for the Israeli economy, accompanied by targets for narrowing the gap in standard of living between citizens of Israel and citizens of the developed countries.
"We are asking you to instruct the economic ministries to draw up a multi-year strategic plan designed to meet these growth targets by substantially and immediately improving the business environment, with the aim of bringing about faster growth and boosting productivity and disposable income in the economy," the business leaders write.
In addition, the signatories to the letter ask Netanyahu to give instructions that these changes should be part of the economic plan and the state budget for 2017-2018.