The Israeli Economy: New Government, Old and New Challenges

The Israeli Economy: New Government, Old and New Challenges

The two top economic ministerial positions In Israel’s new government – the Minister of Finance and the Minister for Economics and Trade – are held by novice politicians with no prior experience of economic policy-making at national level. The highly-successful Governor of the Bank of Israel is leaving his position in June 2013, two years before the end of his term. His replacement, as yet unknown, will probably lack the experience of his/her predecessor.

This completely new economic policy-making team faces a plethora of economic problems/challenges:

• the 2013 budget (still to be approved) with a huge deficit which calls for sharp expenditure cuts
• the social unrest of Summer 2011 and its aftermath
• restraining the long-term increase in housing prices
• stemming the increase in poverty
• increasing labor force participation
• contending with essential improvements in education and health
• reducing Israel’s centralization of wealth and economic influence
• preserving Israel’s international credit rating and improving its position in international economic rankings
• maintaining Israel’s predominance in the global hi-tech sector

Above is a short list of the main challenges facing the new government, to which can be added in general, maintaining Israeli economic growth in a global economy still in crisis and with a high degree of uncertainty.

The 2013 I-Biz lecture tour will present these problems/challenges to our US audiences and suggest ways of dealing with them, including solutions currently being debated by the new government. The lectures are geared to members of the US business community and indeed to all persons involved and/or interested in the welfare of the Israel economy, with the aim of provoking lively discussion.

Yaacov Fisher, trained in Economics at Cambridge and Harvard universities, is a recognized expert in the field of economic and business information on and analysis of the Israel economy.

As a Senior Economist in the Research Department of the Bank of Israel until 1990, he established economic information systems that are still operative at the central bank, and was responsible for the Bank’s published current economic analysis. From 1990 to 1995, he served as Managing Director of Praedicta Ltd., Israel’s first provider of computerized economic information systems. From 1995 to 2000, he was an independent consultant in the areas of supply, analysis and presentation of Israeli economic and business information, and acted as a consultant to several government ministries.

In 2000, he founded his company I-Biz – Israel Business Information Services Ltd. Today, I-Biz is a leading supplier of information and analysis on the Israeli economy, both at the macro-, industry/sector and regional levels: numbered among I-Biz clients are many important economic, business and financial entities both in Israel and around the world.

In 2006, I-Biz was appointed as the Israeli correspondent to the European Union (EU) Trendchart project on innovation policy, and in 2007 – as Israel’s consultant to the EU Medibtikar project on establishing innovation-based industrial partnerships between Mediterranean basin countries. In 2008, the EU appointed I-Biz as the Israeli correspondent to the ERAWatch project, which analyses national R&D systems, and is currently a member of the official ERAWatch Network..

As of 2006, Yaacov Fisher was invited to join the Board of Directors of Psagot, Israel’s largest investment house, which was purchased in that year by York Capital of New York: he served on the Board until 2010, when York Capital sold Psagot. In 2008, he was appointed as a member of Israel’s Public Advisory Council for Statistics.

Starting in May 2006, Fisher has done 3 major annual lecture tours on the Israeli economy in the US and Canada, speaking to business audiences in more than 20 cities.



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