Business in Brief

Lynn asks Lapid for six-month freeze on new regulation

Uriel Lynn, president of the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce, called on Finance Minister Yair Lapid on Monday to freeze all regulatory directives on business for the next half year, saying the economy needed a break from an excess of rules. “You must act to create a turning point on the regulatory front by means of a government decision requiring all regulators to freeze any new regulation for half a year,” he wrote Lapid, stressing that the Chambers of Commerce are “very disturbed by Israel’s excessive regulation.” Lynn added that during the freeze regulators should reexamine all regulatory provisions, rescind those that are unnecessary and bothersome, and simplify convoluted ones. Paring the red tap would spur growth in Israel’s business sector, he added. ‏(Moti Bassok‏)

Car imports rebound in March, but appliance imports plummet

The number of cars imported to Israel in March jumped 35% to 22,346, up from an exceptionally low 16,578 in February, according to Tax Authority figures released on Monday. The month also saw a 15% increase in imported commercial vehicles to 380 in March from 332 in February, it said. Auto imports in the first quarter reached 59,586 up 8.4% from the same time last year. Meanwhile imports of household appliances dropped sharply year-over-year last month, with refrigerator imports dropping 11%, washing machines by 24%, dryers by 51%, dishwashers by 30% and television sets by 23%. Cigarette imports, however, rose 2%. ‏(Moti Bassok‏)

Herzliya cleared for 470 new housing units

Herzliya’s local planning and building committee on Monday granted approval for three housing developments in the city’s Gan Rashal and Nachalat Ada neighborhoods at its northern edge in areas currently designated as farmland. The plans call for building 470 housing units altogether, including 75 rental apartments subject to controlled prices for a seven-year period. The plans have now been submitted to the Tel Aviv regional planning committee for the necessary change in zoning. The Herzliya municipality hopes this will help alleviate its housing shortage after a decade that saw hardly any new construction. “The public infrastructure in Herzliya’s northern neighborhoods is capable of providing services to many more residents,” said Deputy Mayor Zvi Hadar, who also chairs the local planning and building committee. ‏(Nimrod Bousso‏)

Schnitzer makes new bid to head Diamond Exchange

 Shmuel Schnitzer, who served as president of the Israel Diamond Exchange from 1998 to 2004, wants his old job back. He announced on Monday that he will seek the position again in the election slated for July. After his last term ended in 2004, he was appointed honorary president of both the World Federation of Diamond Bourses and IDE. Schnitzer follows in the footsteps of his father Moshe, who played a key role in building the diamond industry into the country’s leading export industry for many years. “I believe the upcoming election will determine in many ways the direction of the diamond industry for years to come,” said Schnitzer. ‏(Ora Coren‏)

Michal Fattal