Legislation Could Compel Defense Ministry to Buy Only Israeli Textile

Bill proposed by Manufacturer's association could prevent ten textile factories in Israel from shutting down.

The Ministerial Legislation Committee is slated to discuss on Monday a proposed bill that would allow only Israeli companies to participate in Defense Ministry and Public Security Ministry tenders for textile supply.

"The tender will stipulate that only companies that manufacture goods in Israel are permitted to vie for the contract," the proposal reads.

The proposal was initiated by the Manufacturers' Association and has been endorsed by MKs Shelly Yachimovich (Labor), Stas Misezhnikov (Yisrael Beitenu), Magali Wahaba (Kadima), Moshe Kahlon (Likud), Yitzhak Ziv (Pensioners), David Azoulay (Shas), Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism), Dov Hanin (Hadash), Ran Cohen (Meretz), Benyamin Elon (National Union) and Eliyahu Gabai (National Union).

The proposal does not call for new legislation; rather it recommends an amendment to the existing tender law. The law currently rules that in government tenders, a preference must be given to Israeli companies within a range of 15 percent. That is to say that an Israeli company can make a bid that is 15 percent more expensive than a foreign bid selling an identical product, and the law would require the purchaser to give the contract to the Israeli bidder. However, if the Israeli bid is outside the 15 percent range, the purchaser is free to accept the foreign bid.

The proposed amendment would eliminate the option of giving the contract to a foreign company, regardless of its bid, in government textile purchases.

Head of the fashion and textile union and CEO of Tefron Yossi Shiran warned that if the proposal is not approved, ten textile factories employing over 500 workers could be forced to shut down. Most of these factories are located in peripheral cities where unemployment is rampant.

Shiran also emphasized that a similar law exists in the United States, protecting American manufacturers. He explained that the American defense establishment is permitted by law to purchases textile only from American companies.