A lobbyist in the Knesset dairy cafeteria.
A lobbyist in the Knesset dairy cafeteria. Photo by Olivier Fitoussi
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The Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce on Tuesday proposed legislation aimed at protecting business owners and boosting economic growth.

Uriel Lynn, president of the organization, said the Knesset has enacted 157 laws in favor of employees at the expense of employers over the past decade.

"The Knesset regards the business sector as the enemy, but they tend to be the enemy of the business sector," Lynn, a former director of the State Revenues Administration at the Finance Ministry, told a news conference. "This is eroding business and killing the motivation to start a business in Israel."

Lynn said the various pieces of legislation, which include labor laws and those to protect the environment, put too much financial burden on some 463,000 small and mid-sized businesses - most of which are owned by families.

He noted that the government has boosted corporate taxes to 25% but Israel is a "paradise" for multinationals who pay just 6% in taxes.

"It's another blow to the business sector," Lynn said. "The total load will eventually crush the business sector."

"What they are doing will not increase state income but decrease state income," he said of higher taxes on companies. "Income is a result of the scope of economic activity. If you shrink the level of economic activity, you have less taxes."

Israel's economic output soared 83% to $241 billion between 2001 and 2011, while gross domestic product per capita jumped by $10,000 to $31,000. Lynn credits Benjamin Netanyahu, who was finance minister between 2003 and 2005, for much of the success.

"When he became prime minister he started to ruin what he had achieved," he said, asserting that the country is reverting back to socialism in response to popular protests against high living costs. "Employers do not have any rights. This is not a passing trend but a trend that is entrenched and is gaining momentum."

The "Basic Law: Employer Rights" proposes to protect employers' rights, including prevention of infringement on contracts, not being forced to employ workers against their will and no retroactive taxation.

The organization has submitted the bill to three of Netanyahu's coalition partners - Kadima, Yisrael Beiteinu and Atzmaut - and is seeking to enact the law in other countries.