Taxpayers must fund IMI fiasco

Yuval Azulai

Israel Military Industries should have been privatized long ago.

NIS 1 billion here, NIS 700-800 million there; who can be bothered to count? Numbers are tossed about - tens of millions and hundreds of millions of shekels - in contexts summarized in code words about a strategic asset critical for the country's defense. Who, even among the experts, is prepared to swear, either now or a year ago that the he has a clue about where each shekel poured into Israel Military Industries Ltd. (IMI) over the years has gone. And this is taxpayers' money, if anyone has forgotten.

Anyone who says that IMI could have been privatized long ago is right. Sometimes, the coin beneath the streetlight should be sought beneath the streetlight. But for years, the owner of this company (which has outstanding human capital and products) has abused it. All the creative experiments to revive the company sabotaged it; instead of giving it the reputation of a thriving high-tech defense company, its name is associated with a welding shop. Furthermore, for some reason, this destruction will now cost IMI's owner billions upon billions of shekels just to make possible its sale, and to finish, once and for all, this saga two decades late. Only these billions come from the taxpayers' pockets.

And yet, inject the money that has to be injected and finish the matter. A safety net and unfunded pensions for employees, and commitments to procure bombs and bullets in the future, because this tale will not end soon, and who knows how much more will be spent. Who's counting? Who will be held to account one day? In fact, who even cares?

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 24, 2014

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2014

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