Uri Yogev, the newly appointed director of the Government Corporations Authority, said on Thursday he aimed to shake up the state's business empire by appointing more professional boards and making his agency act more like a shareholder than a regulator.
"Israel has 100 government companies," he said. "These companies turn over NIS 67 billion, employ 60,000 people, account for about 2% of the Israeli economy and are a critical component of it. But taken together, the whole business is losing money according to the financial reports."
Speaking at a conference of accountants, Yogev said government companies have earned the public's ire with political appointments. "If we appoint directors to government companies professionally, it will strengthen them [organizationally] and save us a lot of reform," he said.
Nissan Slomiansky (Habayit Heyehudi), chairman of the Knesset Finance Committee, told the conference he was determined to go after what he said was NIS 130 billion of black capital in Israel, saying the Budget Arrangements Law approved by the Knesset this past summer gave the Tax Authority the tools it needed to crack down.
"Imagine for yourselves that instead of raising the value-added tax we had in our hands that NIS 130 billion," he said. "There would be no need for economic decrees and that would benefit the public."