Netanyahu to TheMarker: We Will Cap Market Centralization

Netanyahu says financial reform to limit private sector centralization to be implemented this year.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told TheMarker on Thursday that he planned to take steps to minimize market centralization in Israel during the upcoming year.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Tomer Appelbaum

"We are working to establish tools to cap the centralization in the capital market," Netanyahu told The Marker en route to the Organization of Economic Development and Cooperation conference in Paris. "I will be handed the professional team's recommendations, including the foreign minister's, upon my return to Israel after this trip – and they will be implemented over the course of the upcoming year."

Question: Prime Minister, you announced a comprehensive move to increase the competition in the market, and you showed willingness to confront the financial tycoons that stand at the helm of large conglomerates. What are the plans to cap the centrality in the capital market and what is the time table?

Answer: "We cannot be complacent. In the past we created reforms that increased market competition, more than most of the world's markets, and the financial results demonstrate it. Furthermore, our acceptance into the OECD is evidence of it. But now we need to continue to increase the competition in the market, therefore the centralization, in the private sector among other places, needs to be dealt with."

Question: Several experts claim that joining the OECD has no real financial meaning and that it is rather like joining an exclusive club?

Answer: "It reminds me of the story about Groucho Marx, who said that he doesn’t want to be a member of any club who would accept him as a member. So first of all, it is a nice club indeed, and everyone wants to be accepted as a member. We have tried to be accepted for years, and rightfully so. But joining the OECD also has serious implications. One of these implications is that Israel gets a rank of quality, which, together with our admittance into the MSCI developing market, enables us to receive shares in the large investment funds that specialize in investing in OECD countries. We enjoyed similar funds when we were one of the leading developing countries in the world, but we have exhausted that status."

Question: Will Israel accept the standards and policies that the organization demands from its members, on a vast array of issues?

Answer: "The OECD does offer its members a generalization of standards and policies, despite the fact that none of its members is obliged to accept them all, and many countries decide not to adopt the regulations. It is an organization which offers good measuring guidelines and statistical tools – why shouldn’t we take advantage of it?"

Question: Israel suffers from poor human resources and faulty physical foundations which harm its economic growth; for example, the transportation industry, especially the Israel railway.

Answer: "That is true. The railway foundations have been stuck for many years, and I declare here that I am committed to pulling us out of these problems, regarding the light trains, the trains in the cities, and the inter-city trains. That is why I have asked Minister of Transportation Yisrael Katz and Finance minister Yuval Steinitz to extracts us from this jammed situation and to overcome the bureaucratic blockades that are halting the development of the railway system."

Question: Will you support or object to the bill which proposes to increase minimum wage?

Answer: "I will express my position on this at the next cabinet meeting."