Shani, Kendal
Shani, left, and Kendal. The idea is to change how the state plans for the long term.. Photo by Ofer Vaknin
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The government seems to be serious about creating a socioeconomic plan for the next 15 years.

International consulting firms with experience in putting together strategic policy plans for other countries are being invited to bid on the tender to be published today. The winner will have to prepare proposals that include a fundamental analysis of the Israeli economy, with an emphasis on the challenges and opportunities facing Israel over the next 15 years.

Bids are due by the end of April. The government wants to complete the strategic planning process by the end of this year.

In January, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz tapped Prof. Eugene Kandel, the head of the National Economic Council at the Prime Minister's Office, and Haim Shani, the director general of the Finance Ministry, to lead a process of building a new long-term social and economic strategy.

Netanyahu and Steinitz established a steering committee consisting of Kandel, Shani and Udi Nissan, the Finance Ministry's budgets director. They will meet with various groups from a very wide range of Israeli society, and from both the public and private sector, in an attempt to make Israel a world leader on living standards and socioeconomic strength.

Netanyahu announced the program in January at TheMarker's Israel 2021 conference, which took place over a two-day period in Jerusalem. The prime minister said he expected the new plan to get Israel into the top 15 countries in per-capita gross domestic product.

The plan will recommend ways to make the state's processes for long-term planning routine. The problem is that the frequent changes in government and ministerial leadership have created a lack of planning and implementation during any period longer than from one election to the next - nowadays between two and four years.

The new strategic plan will attempt to set permanent government planning processes that will continue even when governments change. Such plans would no longer be dependent on who heads a specific ministry or other public institution.

One possibility would be to require ministry director generals to be professional - not political - appointments, and to give them set tenures of no less than five years.

The strategic plan will also examine major global trends and how they would affect Israel, said Yulia Eitan, a senior economist at the National Economic Council.

The idea is not to produce a one-off plan whose only product would be a position paper, but to create something that will become part of the government's work routine, she added.