In an interview with “IDF Radio" (Galei Zahal) today, Minister of Finance Yair Lapid spoke about the appointment of Jacob Frenkel as the next governor of the Bank of Israel, negotiations with the Palestinians, and other issues. "The economy is in a complicated and difficult situation. Frenkel's appointment is wonderful; there is no disagreement over him. This is basically a call-up for reserve duty for Frenkel. He will receive a much lower salary, and it won't be easy for him," he said.
"IDF Radio": Frenkel shares your capitalist worldview.
Lapid: "The private sector is also a private individual who opens a store and three entrepreneurs who found a start-up. This is the sector which drives the economy forward, not the public sector. Israel has an anti-business atmosphere, which is not good. You have to worry about jobs.
"I am not a populist. I support it when people are involved. As for the gas, I don’t understand the protesters, because everyone will receive thousands of shekels from this. The cost of living will fall. I don’t understand why they want to bury it in the sea for 30 years. I don’t understand it. Yes, there's no getting away from it; Tshuva and Noble Energy are the ones who found the gas and they should profit from it."
The demonstrators are you a year ago.
"True. That's why I have a lot of sympathy for them."
You've said that things will be better in 18 months. On what do you base this?
"Mostly on what is happening in the world about us. Multinationals want to expand their operations, the economy is improving, and everyone will benefit from this. The Israeli economy has the strongest growth engines in the world."
This morning, there was another Price Tag incident.
"It's a disgrace and a blot on Israel. We must deal with this."
Commenting on negotiations with the Palestinians, Lapid said, "In every interview, I have said that we shouldn’t divide Jerusalem. That's not subject to negotiation. It is also necessary to establish a Palestinian state; it's in Israel's interest. The settlers are good people and evacuating them will be a great tragedy. Israel should return to the negotiations. The classic mistake of the past few years was that the Israelis announced in advance what they were willing to give up."
Do you think that it is possible to reach a permanent settlement?
"Yes. History teaches that one of the most harmful things is to enter negotiations and nothing happens afterwards. You should enter negotiations in order to finish them."
Do you believe in what the prime minister says?
"Yes. I talk with him a lot, and he means what he says. He is taking a risk within his party."
Parts of the coalition really do not support your opinions.
"Naftali Bennett has a certain way of speaking, and you shouldn’t be shocked by it. It's true that we don’t agree on certain foreign policy issues."
How is it at the Ministry of Finance?
"It's fascinating and challenging. I'm here to help the middle class. There are times when you have to say no. We're now solving the problem. I'm very pleased where I am."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on June 24, 2013
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2013