Low Level of Public Debate Hurts Country, Economic Adviser Warns

Speaking at the Israeli Presidential Conference in Jerusalem Eugene Kandel attacks the nature of the public discourse on economic issues for what he said was exaggerated rhetoric.

The strident way economic issues are debated in Israel is damaging to the country, said Eugene Kandel, chairman of the National Economic Council in the Prime Minister’s Office, on Thursday.

Speaking at the Israeli Presidential Conference in Jerusalem Kandel attacked the nature of the public discourse on economic issues for what he said was exaggerated rhetoric.

“The major threat to the economy and to democracy is the public debate on economic issues,” he told the audience at the high-profile conference under the auspices of President Shimon Peres, adding that Israel had sunk to a low level in this regard. “We’ve stopped believing that someone who doesn’t agree with us represents a legitimate position. The ends justify the means, and it doesn’t matter what you say. What’s important is how it looks on the social media or on a website. From the moment you enter government, you are automatically blamed.”

“The level of public discourse,” he said, “has a destructive effect on the operations of the government, because you defend yourself and your [sense of] initiative is less than it could be. It affects the national mood, readiness to invest and people’s readiness to live here.”

Ofer Vaknin