Deputy A-G Licht: ‘Reduction of Regulation Should Not Harm the Public or the Government'

Ministry of Finance’s Hizkiyahu: ‘Israel has an anti-business environment’

Speaking Tuesday at the Eli Hurvitz Conference on Economy and Society in a session focused on reducing the bureaucratic and regulatory burden, Deputy Attorney-General Avi Licht said he feels that there are repeated attacks on the legitimacy of regulatory clerks.

“The reduction of regulation should not harm the public or the government,” said Licht. “We cannot harm the legitimacy of the regulators as we seek ways to mitigate regulation: this is an anti-democratic move.”

Licht called tax evasion a “national sport” in Israel and said that the government’s earlier attempts to simplify the tax system led to a new set of loopholes.

“The tax authority will continue to make the system complicated, in order to close loopholes,” he said.

Rony Hizkiyahu, Accountant General at the Ministry of Finance, outlined the ministry’s objectives:
1. Maintaining fiscal responsibility
2. Growing the economy and increasing productivity
3. Enhancing competition
4. Reducing the cost of living
5. Decreasing inequality

He said that Israel is also behind in the development of infrastructure and noted that the ministry is in the process of drafting a new multi-year infrastructure plan.

“The work plan of the Ministry of Finance will lead to improvement in doing business in Israel, specifically with regards to reducing bureaucracy,” said Hizkiyahu, charging that currently "Israel has an anti-business environment."

MK Roy Folkman said he is a “big believer in regulation, but it should be efficient and effective."

Ziva Eiger, director of the Foreign Investment and Industrial Cooperation Department at the Ministry of Economy and Industry, called Israel “stuck in time.”

“Foreign investments should be a national interest; we cannot stay in the ivory tower,” Eiger said. “We have to chase them. We have to make them want to come here. We have to connect them with investments in Israel and make the process as easy as probable.”

Noam Bardin, Chief Wazer at Google, seconded Eiger’s sentiments. He said: "The feeling among businesses in Israel is that you don't count.”

“Let's be a bit more humble with our Startup Nation,” Bardin said. “Israel is not as big as it thinks it is.”

He said Israel should make it a national goal to have dozens of automated plants in Israel.

“We cannot compete on manpower. We can lead the world in robotics. Another issue is that of autonomous cars. We can make a goal to turn 10-15 percent of Israeli autonomous car drivers. To do so, we need to develop very clear regulations as to what it takes to put an automated car on the road,” Bardin said.

To make it happen, Yossi Abu, CEO of Delek Drilling, said there are a number of solutions but the first one should be to vote in government officials who have experience in the private sector.

“The government needs more experience from the private sector,” Abu said.


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Media: Maayan Hoffman at 050-718-9742