Kahlon slams Netanyahu for inaction on economy

Moshe Kahlon and Benjamin Netanyahu  photo: Reuters

"Even if you're prime minister for another twenty years, you won't do a thing."

A stormy confrontation broke out that this morning's meeting of the government, which had on its agenda approval in principle of the amendment to the Electricity Law that will give effect to the reform of the power industry in Israel. Toady's discussion was supposed to be merely technical, since the reform had already been approved by the government a month ago, but the prime minister insisted on once more expressing his reservations about it, sources inform "Globes".

According to the source, who was present at the meeting, Netanyahu argued that the workers could still shut down the power supply, and asked what would happen if they failed to abide by the agreement with them, since the reform would now be anchored in law. According to the source, Netanyahu sought to introduce further amendments to the Electricity Law beyond the decision drafted by those proposing the amendment presented at the meeting. Netanyahu proposed mandatory arbitration in cases of strikes at vital monopolies. He tried to put pressure on Kahlon to restrict the right to strike of workers in the large monopolies, in order to reduce their ability to delay structural reforms.

At this, Kahlon attacked Netanyahu, saying, "You're a philosopher, you know how to talk but not how to act. You have been prime minister for ten years, and you were prime minister for four years before that. Even if you're prime minister for another twenty years, you won’t do a thing."

Kahlon has been cooperating closely with Histadrut (General Federation of Labor in Israel) chairman Avi Nissenkorn, and does not wish to take action against organizations that the Histadrut represents.

When the prime minister asked Minister of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz whether he would be prepared to forego the legislation, Seinitz answered, "No. Why? The law removes the workers'' hand from the power switch." Steinitz added that the reform was one of the best that had been instituted in Israel, and that the agreement that had been reached with the workers was conditional on progress with reform. According to the source, Kahlon joined in and supported Steinitz, saying that the Likud party would also oppose a mandatory arbitration clause.

Asked by "Globes" how Netanyahu responded to Kahlon's remarks about his inability to lead reforms, the source did not give a direct answer, but said that the prime minister continued to want legislation on mandatory arbitration. He is also demanding quarterly progress reports on the reform so that the government can supervise it.

Netanyahu said that his remarks should be recorded in the minutes, and the bill to amend the Electricity Law passed the vote. Meanwhile, it was announced that the Knesset Economic Affairs Committee would hold a marathon session on the power industry reform. The plan is to complete the legislation by the end of the Knesset summer session on July 30.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 8, 2018

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2018

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Moshe Kahlon and Benjamin Netanyahu  photo: Reuters
Moshe Kahlon and Benjamin Netanyahu photo: Reuters
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