The cabinet heard the main points of the recommendations of the report by the committee on cartelization.

 Cabinet communique

 

Israel Cabinet meeting (Reuters archive photo)

(Communicated by the Cabinet Secretariat)

At the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Sunday, 26 February 2012):

1. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the following remarks:

"Today, the Cabinet will hear the main points of the recommendations of the report by the committee on cartelization. I established this committee in 2010. It was established due to the problem regarding the cost of living, which we viewed as a main problem then, in the hope of encouraging competition. Competition lowers prices. Competition is the consumer’s friend. Competition improves service. Competition is also good for growth and savings, with a more rational allocation of credit and citizens’ long-term savings.

Therefore, for all these reasons, we thought that it was necessary to establish the committee on cartelization. I consulted with Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Bank of Israel Governor Prof. Stanley Fischer and we established the committee on cartelization – chaired by Finance Ministry Director-General Chaim Shani for this goal. Today, he will present its main recommendations.

I would like to explain that in Israel there is exceptional cartelization in comparison to other OECD member countries. We deal with cartelization in one sector, say vehicles. We deal with this. There are good mechanisms for dealing with this, such as the Israel Antitrust Authority, but we have no model for dealing with the problem that has developed in Israel, that of horizontal cartelization, between sectors. For example, if you control a bank or other financial power and you extend or deny credit to your creditors.

The question of financial and real corporations is a question of pyramids. All of these phenomena exist here. We sought to deal with them in a responsible manner. What is this responsible manner? We remember that in the end, it is the private sector, business people, who bring the added value to the economy. We want to encourage their competition, amongst them, not deny it. Therefore, we remember that the business sector is the locomotive of the economy. We want to encourage more competition within the business sector and not take these assets into the Government’s hands for us to manage; this is the last thing we want.

In order to understand all of these balances, we asked the committee to do its work. It deliberated for a long time; these questions are not simple. In my view, it has come up with very good, effective, measured proposals, and we will hear the main points today and advance them toward legislation.

Second, at the end of the week, I will leave for North America. I will meet with President Barack Obama in Washington and, before that, with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Ottawa. Of course, our region is in an unsettled state and is quickly changing in all directions, including the deplorable massacres that we see being perpetrated against innocent civilians in Syria. While we will discuss all of these issues, there is no doubt that one issue will be at the center of our talks, and that is, of course, the continued strengthening of Iran and its nuclear program.

Whoever needed it, received additional, biting proof in the form of the IAEA’s latest report which proves that Israel’s assessments were correct. i.e. that Iran is continuing to make rapid progress in its nuclear program, without let-up, while defying and grossly ignoring the decisions of the international community. We will certainly discuss this issue, as well as many others related to the Middle East.

And finally, I have a footnote about Footnote. I don’t go to the cinema much. The last film I saw was this one, Footnote. I very much enjoyed it. It is a neighborhood film, about the academic neighborhood in which I grew up in Jerusalem. While I was familiar with many of the scenes, I also saw that it has touched the hearts of very many Israelis, and apparently non-Israelis as well who have seen it. I am certain that I speak for all Israelis: We wish Footnote great success at the Oscars this evening."

2. Pursuant to Article 4A(a) of the 1958 Council for Higher Education Law  and according to the recommendation of Education Minister Gideon Saar, the Cabinet decided to propose that President Shimon Peres appoint 22 members of the 12th Council for Higher Education.

3. Pursuant to Article 43A of the 2010 Bank of Israel Law, the Cabinet approved Bank of Israel Governor Fischer’s proposal regarding the latest issue of commemorative coins.

4. The Committee to Increase Competitiveness in the Economy, which was appointed by Prime Minister Netanyahu, Finance Minister Steinitz and Bank of Israel Governor Fischer concluded its work. Committee Chairman and Finance Ministry Director-General Chaim Shani presented its main recommendations.