Lapid: Tycoons Should Consult With Economists, Not Rabbis

Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid slams fallen business leaders like Nochi Dankner who have seen their empires crumble.

Hila Weissberg
Hila Weissberg

Finance Minister Yair Lapid on Friday mocked failed business tycoons who allegedly consulted with rabbis in an attempt to keep their sprawling conglomerates above water.

“Maybe it would be better if the tycoons consulted with economists, not rabbis,” Lapid said, speaking at an economics symposium at Tel Aviv’s Eretz Israel Museum.

“The three tycoons who are said to have consulted with rabbis are Moti Zisser, Ilan Ben-Dov and Nochi Dankner, and what they have in common is that their empires have fallen apart. It saddens me to see how the occupation of rabbi has been transformed into a combination of magic and interference in things they shouldn’t be interfering in.”

On a different topic, Lapid said schools in the ultra-Orthodox community would only be budgeted if they taught the core curriculum. “The State of Israel shouldn't pay for ignorance,” he said, calling the government’s efforts to turn this situation around “a revolution.”

Regarding the report that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a bank account in the Channel Islands from 1999 to 2003, Lapid said, “Since the state comptroller said he would look into the matter, it’s not appropriate for me to talk about it here.”

Replying to a question that mentioned Israel’s higher taxes, soaring housing prices and high cost of living, Lapid added, “Goals aren’t achieved in a day. This is trench warfare. It’s the reason I put cream and sour cream under price control, which is against my ideological position as one who believes in the free market. I understand the disappointment, but the test is a long-term one.”

Yair Lapid in Rebecca Sieff Hospital, Safed. December 26, 2013.Credit: Dror Artzi

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