Afternoon Tea in Jerusalem Blog

In addition to my work as a business coach, one of my interests is blogging about life in Israel. This is a country full of contrasts – over eight million citizens living in an area the size of Wales. You can see snow and the lowest place on the globe in the same day. Although surrounded by geopolitical extremes, Israel has achieved a decade of high economic growth. My work brings me in contact with an array of new companies, exciting technologies and dynamic characters. Sitting back with a relaxing cup of strong tea (with milk), you realise just how much there is to appreciate in the Holyland. Large or small operations, private sector or non profit, my clients provide experiences from which others can learn and benefit.

Yesterday’s farce in the Kenesset, Israel’s Parliament, brought little joy to anyone.

To keep it simple: The PM, Netanyahu, has called 4 general elections in 24 months. After each one, he declared victory and then was left without a functioning cabinet. Yesterday, at least temporarily, as he attempts to form yet another coalition, he lost control of the Kenesset.

Not out, but certainly down. And the procedural bickering brought disrespect on us all.

As Netanyahu was being humbled, instigators of both sides were provoking riots between Arab and Jew in East Jerusalem and in Jaffa. And deafened by all the social and political battles noise was a squeak from the Governor of the Bank of Israel, Prof. Amir Yaron.

Now Yaron was appointed by a Likud Minister of Finance, assumedly at the behest of Netanyahu’s wishes.

His monthly summary noted how the economy had proved resilient in 2020, only dropping 2.6%, and that is good compared to fellows in the OECD. Over the next two years, GDP will lurch upwards at 5-6% annually. Unemployment is down from over 20% to about 12%, and still dropping. Direct overseas foreign investment is nothing less than buoyant. And there are a whole host of other positive stats.

So where is the proverbial ‘but’?

Yaron states outright:

The highest priority economic task for any government that is established will be to pass the 2021 budget, and to promote the approval of the 2022 budget on time, in order to establish economic priorities, and to initiate the reforms and long-term investments that are essential to accelerating the economy.

However, Netanyahu, praised for his economic policies of 20 years ago, has not passed a budget since the 2018! Worse; there are no signs that one is in the making for 2021.

This is a disgrace. It is a failing of one of the basic tasks of any caring and capable government. Unacceptable.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu is forced to invest his time in creating a coalition that will serve one core purpose; allowing him to retain power and thus regain control of the Ministry of Justice, as he fights the 4 charges of corruption against him in the courts.

Listen to the PM or listen to an academic as to what is best for the country?


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