NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Free Market Reforms For Israel

February 17, 1997

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he wants to bring free-market ideas to Israel -- where the government has long dominated the economy and provides one of every three jobs.

Armed with an American MBA and business experience both in the U. S. and Israel, he aims to push through a revolution similar to those undertaken by Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan in the 1980s.

  • Part of his strategy is to lock in peace in the Middle East by promoting prosperity both in Israel and among its Arab neighbors through high-tech industries.
  • He says he wants to break up the concentration of power among Israel's three largest banks -- which account for 80 percent of the banking sector -- and introduce greater competition.
  • He plans to raise $1.2 billion this year by privatizing 13 state-owned companies.
  • Privatization plans also include Tel Aviv's water treatment plants, the country's toll roads, domestic public transportation and air cargo.

Netanyahu visualizes a doubling of Israel's $17,000-per-capita gross domestic product in 10 to 12 years.

Source: John Rossant and Neal Sandler, "Remaking Israel," Business Week, February 17, 1997.


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