Hi-tech leader: 'We don't want to leave Israel, but it seems the easiest thing to do'
In a meeting between Finance Ministry heads and business leaders at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, the latter expressed their frustration with increasing regulation, increased taxes and an unjust reputation for avoiding payments.
Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon and the chairman of the Knesset's Special Committee to Discuss the National Authority for Urban Renewal Bill, Eli Cohen (both Kulanu), held a meeting on Tuesday with business leaders at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
According to Cohen, who initaited the meeting, it was intended to strengthen ties between the government and the business sector.
"I organized the meeting with the goal to raise the growth target to contribute to the national economy and benefit businesses and help maintain a low rate of unemployment," said the chairman. He called to reduce the regulatory burden and emphasized the need to improve the economy's anti-business atmosphere.
Notably present were representatives of the high-tech industry, led by Check Point CEO Gil Schwed, who harshly criticized regulation and the increased tax burden. "Twenty years ago, it was attractive to be here, but in recent years, the impression is that the state wants to throw us out of here. The Tax Authority takes the rules and transforms them.
"Government officials are incited against the industry. We pay billions of shekels in taxes, and they say that we don't pay. We don't want to leave Israel, but it seems the easiest thing to do."
Schwed also discussed the need to encourage investment by institutions in Israeli companies' growth instead of searching for overseas investments.
Kahlon, who was accompanied by his ministry's director general, Shai Babad, said "In formulating the next state budget, we are meeting with all the relevant parties to build a budget that will focus on increasing growth and improving productivity, while continuing our fight against the high cost of living and reducing inequalities."
One of the criticisms levied against the government was on the top sector wage law, which threatens to bring about the retirement of dozens of managers. Kahlon said that he did not intend to apply to law to past compensation and that, at this stage, he does not intend to widen the law to additional sectors of the economy.