Kandel: Effect of peace on our economy is overstated

20 Questions interviews Eugene Kandel, the head of the National Economic Council to the Prime Minister. Prof. Kandel asserts that the country’s main objective should be to improve education.

20 questions 58 (photo credit: courtsey)
20 questions 58
(photo credit: courtsey)
Do you think that planned cuts for ministries’ budgets may hurt the public more than the other proposals? In your opinion, what is the biggest problem facing the Israeli economy? What does the state intend to do with the money earned from natural gas?
This week’s 20 Questions hosts Professor Eugene Kandel, the head of the National Economic Council. The Council serves as the economic headquarters for the Prime Minister, with the purpose of assisting in the process of decision-making.
Prof. Kandel contends that one of the biggest problems facing Israeli economy is the extreme shortage of human capital, whereby the demand is far outpacing the supply.
In order to combat this, the government is invested in efforts to incorporate parts of the population that do not generate their share of knowledge workers. These efforts include improving education to be more relevant for the labor force, and increasing the employment rates of less proactive factions of the population, including the Haredi and Arab sectors.
When asked about the government’s intentions regarding revenues garnered from natural gas fields, Kandel states that the amount will be insignificant if distributed among the citizens. Instead, the profits will go primarily towards education and a small part will be delegated towards the country’s defense.
In the face of increasing costs of gasoline, Kandel supports the move to encourage people to employ much wiser and efficient uses of this resource, including car pooling and public transportation.
Kandel attributes the reason for Israel’s high prices on both basic commodities and luxury items to the country’s relative isolation. Smaller markets mean lower levels of competition which naturally increase the prices of foodstuffs and electronics.
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