Former Treasury officials call for halt to judicial reform

Yarom Ariav  credit: Sasson Tiram
Yarom Ariav credit: Sasson Tiram

In a letter to Minister of Finance Bezalel Smotrich, 200 former Finance Ministry and Budgets Division heads and others warn of "irreversible damage to the economy and the social fabric in Israel."

Some 200 former staffers in the Ministry of Finance Budgets Division have signed a letter calling on Minister of Finance Bezalel Smotrich "to act to halt immediately the rapid legislative process for changing the form of government in Israel, because of the grave fear of irreversible damage to the Israeli economy and to the social fabric in Israel."

Among the signatories to the letter sent to Smotrich yesterday are fifteen former heads of the Budgets Division and directors general of the Ministry of Finance, including Keren Terner-Eyal, Shaul Meridor, Ori Yogev, David Brodet, Gal Hershkovitz, Yarom Ariav, Yael Andorn, and Udi Nissan.

"Given the legislative moves now being advanced in the Knesset, we foresee a severe blow to the economy, the first signs of which can already be seen in reality. The consequences for the economy will be, among other things, capital flight, loss of confidence on the part of local and foreign investors, depreciation of the shekel, higher inflation, a hit to the country’s credit rating, higher interest payments, and slower growth."

Former Budgets Division officials have recently criticized the current head of the division, Yogev Gardos, for refraining from expressing a public position on the government’s legislation. "This letter, of former Budgets Division personnel, is extremely unusual, probably unprecedented, but we chose to do this in the light of the danger faced by the country and the economy. This is a huge danger, and we are all party to the deep fear for the economy and for society in Israel," the letter states.

According to the letter’s authors, the risk is not just a theoretical and future one, but a slippery slope down which the country has already started to slide. "The economic indicators show that the erosion of the strength of the Israeli economy has already begun," the letter states. "In the era of a global, open economy, investors, local and especially foreign, examining long-term investments, see a strong, independent legal system as a vital pre-condition. Damage to the legal system will not only deter future investment; it raises the level of immediate risk, and is liable to lead to rapid movements of capital, and fast deterioration, to the point of danger to stability. These are enormous risks, and responsible policy must avoid them."

Published by Globes, Israel business news - - on March 13, 2023.

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2023.

Yarom Ariav  credit: Sasson Tiram
Yarom Ariav credit: Sasson Tiram
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