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September 29, 2016 / 26 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Moshe Kahlon’

New Poll Sees Israeli Left Collapsing, Purely Rightwing Coalition Government

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

Following the surprising results of a GeoCartographia poll a week ago, showing Likud down from 30 to 25 seats, the Zionist Camp (Labor) dropping from 24 to 8 seats, Habayit Hayehudi soaring from 8 to 16 seats, and Yesh Atid rocketing from 11 to 22 seats, on Thursday a new poll by Maagar Mochot (Heb: Think Tank) showed a more moderate reflection of the same trend. The new poll, conducted for FM103 Radio, shows Likud still in first place with 27 seats (3 fewer than its current mandate), Habayit Hayehudi rising, but only to 13 seats (a +5), Yisrael Beiteinu gaining 4 seats to rise from 5 to 9 seats, and Yesh Atid still soundly beating its identical twin at the center, Kulanu, as Yair Lapid’s party rises from 11 to 21 seats, while Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu drops from 11 to 6 seats.

On the left, the Zionist Camp (Labor) slows down its sharp drop, and scores 10 seats, compared with its current 24 (the other poll gave it only 8). Meretz picks up one seat to rise to 6 seats, and the Joint Arab List maintains its 13 seats.

The Haredi block stands at 15 seats (last poll gave it 18), with Shas at 8 (+1) and United Torah Judaism at 7 (+1).

The ideological map reflected in the new poll is most encouraging to the rightwing parties: 49 seats go to the three rightwing Zionist parties, and 15 to the Haredim, meaning that Prime Minister Netanyahu, in his fifth term, could easily put together a rightwing government relying on a workable 64-seat majority, without ambiguous center-right partners such as Kahlon. The question then would become, does Netanyahu actually want a purely rightwing government, which would likely expect him to impose Israeli law in Area C, change the rules of engagement, invest heavily in Jewish expansion in Judea and Samaria, alter the undemocratic way in which Israel’s judges are picked, and a myriad other burning issues which so far he had been reluctant to pursue, blaming it on his more secular, centrist partners.

The rightwing parties could possibly combine their numbers to boycott either Kahlon or Lapid, or both, from the future coalition government — the Haredim because they despise Lapid, Habayit Hayehudi and Yisrael Beiteinu because they’d like to pursue an aggressive agenda in Judea and Samaria, where a good portion of their constituency resides.

Our friend Jeremy Saltan, a.k.a. Knesset Jeremy, who moonlights as HaBayit HaYehudi’s Anglo Forum Chairman, has launched the Israeli Poll of Polls, strictly for political addicts. Here’s his most recent handiwork, copied from his website.

 

Party KnessetJeremy Polling Average (June/July/August) Change since previous KJPA (April/May) KJPA (April/May) All Polls since Elections 2015 Election
Likud 25.3 -1.4 26.7 26.4 30
Yesh Atid 20.3 0.3 20 19.3 11
Bayit Yehudi 13.5 2.2 11.3 12 8
Joint List 13 0.2 12.8 12.8 13
Zionist Union 11 -1.8 12.8 14.4 24
UTJ 8.8 0.8 8 7.5 6
Yisrael Beitenu 8.2 -0.8 9 8.4 6
Kulanu 6.8 0 6.8 6.7 10
Shas 6.7 1 5.7 6.5 7
Meretz 6.3 -0.5 6.8 6 5
Right-Religious 69.3 1.7 67.5 67.4 67
Center-Left-Arab 50.7 -1.7 52.5 52.6 53

 

 

JNi.Media

A First: Kibbutzniks to Pay Personal Income Tax

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

Individual kibbutz members will be required to pay a 25% personal income tax as well as the Social Security Healthcare tax starting next January, according to a move by the Finance Ministry, Israel Hayom reported Thursday. The new taxes are expected to enrich the Finance coffers by close to $80 million annually, and the Social Security income by about $50 million.

Since the beginning of communal history, each kibbutz used to pay a corporate tax for all the members, and even after the change in taxation kibbutz members without outside income will not be required to file individually. But over the past few decades many kibbutz members have been working off the kibbutz grounds, contributing a portion of their income to the cooperative — and the Israeli tax authority would like to take a peek at those monies.

The Finance Ministry’s new rule must still go through the Knesset Finance Committee for approval, and the agricultural lobby is expected to put up a hard fight against the changes.

Amitai Porat, the Religious Kibbutz Movement Secretary General, and Nir Meir, the Kibbutz Movement Secretary General, on Wednesday wrote Prime Minister Netanyahu requesting that he halt Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon’s proposed changes in the tax code regarding kibbutzim. They told the PM that “Minister Kahlon is not interested in meeting us to find a solution that would make it possible to reexamine the tax code while maintaining and protecting the kibbutz character and the communal life in which we believe.”

David Israel

Finance and Justice Ministries to Crack Down on Gambling

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

By Michael Zeff/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and Justice Ministry Director General Emi Palmor announced at a joint press conference on Wednesday evening that gambling machines and horse racing are to be outlawed in Israel.

“Israel’s weakest and poorest are being sold illusions and false hopes every day,” said Minister Kahlon. “As of next year, there will not be a single gambling machine or any horse racing in Israel.”

There are currently some legal forms of gambling permitted in Israel though most are outlawed. The only authorities licensed to provide gambling services are Mifal HaPayis, which operates the Israeli national lottery, and the Sports Betting Council, which manages betting on various sports events. The gambling machines belong to the lottery while horse-race betting is run through the Sports Betting Council.

The announcement was made after a report published on Wednesday by the Commission on Gambling Regulations, a joint think-tank headed by the directors general of the two ministries.

The commission’s recommendations include a limit on the size of the legal gambling sector, a prohibition on operating games with an addictive nature, a tax raise on money earned through gambling, and various other limitations.

The report expects the implementation of its recommendations to drastically curb the growth of the gambling sector in Israel and thus decrease its influence on the Israeli population.

Minister Kahlon announced that he would adopt and implement the recommendations to their full extent.

“It is no coincidence that these gambling machines are found mostly in poor neighborhoods. It is also not a coincidence that we see a sharp rise in lottery revenue the day after welfare checks are sent out every month,” Kahlon explained.

The report claims that while a certain percentage of the gambling revenue accrued by these authorities is meant to go to charity and to state education and welfare projects, only a small amount actually does.

The report further states that there will be a reduction in the operating costs of the Sports Betting Council and the lottery, such as in advertising and sales commissions, thus increasing the state’s share of the revenue.

“Unregulated gambling exclusively and deliberately targets and hurts the country’s weakest communities so as long as I am finance minister, there will be no casinos in Israel,” concluded Kahlon.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Israeli Government in Cantankerous Rancor over New Broadcasting Authority

Monday, August 1st, 2016

The Likud party has been attacking its coalition partner Habayit Hayehudi party over the memorable debate in Sunday’s cabinet meeting of the establishment of a new Israeli Broadcasting Corporation. The official announcement from Likud called Ministers Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked the “favorites of the left and of [Yediot Aharonot owner] Noni Moses” who support the indefatigable efforts to harm the prime minister and the Likud rule. It was in response for Bennett’s and Shaked’s decision to abstain during the vote to postpone the date when the new corporation starts broadcasting.

One of the most celebrated quotes from Sunday’s debate, all of which reached unusually shrill tones, was from Likud Minister Miri Regev who reportedly cried out: “What’s the point in having a corporation if we don’t control it? The minister should be in control, or what, we’ll give money and then they’ll broadcast whatever they want?”

As the minister in charge of culture (and sport), Regev exhibited a particularly narrow understanding of freedom of the press and possibly of the entire concept of what a public corporation is. One of the fundamental principles of such corporations, outside Zimbabwe and, recently, Moscow, is that the ministers are strictly in charge of budgeting and monitoring public satisfaction of the corporation, but they are absolutely prohibited from dictating and controlling anything.

Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan couldn’t help himself and made fun of the vociferous yet thin-skinned Regev. He told her, “Yes, live with it. There’s no law saying the public broadcasting authority will do what Miri Regev tells it to do.” The two Likud ministers continued to yell at each other (they both ranked in the top slots in the last Likud primaries), until Prime Minister Netanyahu had to shut them up.

Ayelet Shaked on Monday shot back at the Likud’s attack press release, saying that Likud should stop whining, and, anyway, they have their own daily newspaper (tycoon Sheldon Adelson’s pro-Bibi Yisrael Hayom).

Shaked was the second female politician in Israel yesterday who told a fellow lawmaker to stop whining. The other was Shelly Yachimovich, who said she’d had it up to here with her party chairman, Isaac Herzog’s whining about an insult she shot at him last May. She called him Bibi’s lap dog. He threatened to expel her.

But the media’s focus on Sunday centered on that cabinet meeting where Regev let the world know what’s her take on democratic institutions. And just to show you that you don’t have to know democracy to thrive in one, Miri Regev’s culture ministry on Sunday received control over the entire government advertising budget, which comes to about $80 million. That’s everything the Netanyahu government spends on ads, foreign and domestic, despite the fact that the bulk of those ads have nothing to do with the culture ministry.

Minister for Social Equality Gila Gamliel (Likud) told Army Radio on Monday that Regev’s statements were borderline fascistic and that she had warned Netanyahu none of those statements should be allowed to stick to the Likud party.

Incidentally, the reason the Netanyahu government has been attempting to establish a new broadcasting authority was because the current authority is considered inefficient and infested with leftists. But having been under the coalition gun for several years now, the IBA has gone a long way to become more efficient and to sprinkle all its high-ratings hours with rightwingers. So the Kol Israel one hears today is more balanced politically than what it was only a year ago.

Which is the reason Coalition Chairman MK David Bitan (Likud) announced Sunday that he was going to advance a new bill to dismantle the new public broadcasting corporation in favor of the one Israel has had since the British mandate (1948).

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon summarized that unhappy cabinet debate in an interview with Army Radio, where he said, “This entire government has to go on vacation. They must urgently go on summer holiday, before the entire government would end up in hospital.”

JNi.Media

Bill Approved to Increase Competition in Israeli Financial Sector

Monday, August 1st, 2016

By Michael Zeff/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – The Israeli government unanimously approved legislation to increase competition in the Israeli financial sector on Sunday.

According to a Finance Ministry spokesperson, the legislation aims to shatter the current banking sector oligopoly by allowing new players to enter the financial and banking sector thus increasing market competition.

“The problem with Israeli banks is that they all suffer from a lack of efficiency in costs, which is necessarily rolled on to the consumers of their financial services,” Professor Omer Moav, an economics expert at the University of Warwick, told Tazpit Press Service (TPS). “Competition can help that. Allowing foreign banks to offer services, even through the Internet for example, will decrease costs and increase efficiency.”

The bill was proposed by Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and is an implementation of recommendations made by the Committee on Increasing Competitiveness in the Economy. The committee was formed by Minister Kahlon and the Central Bank of Israel (CBI) in order to find legal ways to increase competitiveness and efficacy in the otherwise concentrated and cartelized Israeli banking system.

“The changes mandated by this law, mainly the recommendation to separate the banks from the credit companies, will create an advanced banking system and more competitiveness in the retail and small business fields in the upcoming years,” said CBI Governor Karnit Flug.

The main clauses of the bill include a separation of the major Israeli banks from Israeli credit companies. The three largest Israeli banks also currently own and operate the credit card companies.

The three banks, Hapoalim, Leumi, and Discount, together control about 75% of credit in Israel. The new law will force Hapoalim and Leumi at the least to sell their existing credit card companies.

In addition the new law will provide certain protections and incentives for potential new actors to enter the Israeli market, such as more flexible regulations to help them compete with the major banks.

“The bill also includes a pathway to the establishment of entirely new Israeli banks, better oversight on existing banks and on their competitiveness, the creation of new and improved databases for credit card companies, and the advancement of technology and innovation in local banks,” Governor Flug elaborated.

However, the measures proposed by the bill have been previously criticized by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of which Israel is a member.

According to the IMF, the government committee that provided recommendations for the bill used old data in its analysis thus rendering the basis of the reform faulty and potentially harming the stability of the entire system.

While Flug and the CBI supported the bill and helped shape it to a large extent, Flug cautioned the government to implement the law responsibly. “An increase in the number of banks and financial brokers that are not banks means a higher risk of collapse,” she contended.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Knesset Committee Slams Finance Minister on Fear of Fighting Monopolies

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

“Five years have passed, and prices have not gone down, and in certain cases they have gone up,” members of the Knesset Finance Committee told government representatives during Monday’s meeting marking five years since the summer of 2011 popular social protest in Israel.

The committee members slammed Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon for “being afraid to fight the monopolies,” but members of Kahlon’s Kulanu party said in response, “We are advancing many reforms, and we can already see the results on the ground.”

Finance Committee Chairman MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) said that “with all due respect to the Finance Ministry and talks of reform, in practice the prices have not gone down.”

MK Uri Maklev (United Torah Judaism) said, “Five years after the ‘cottage cheese’ protest, not only have the prices not gone down, in real terms they have increased, because the prices of commodities around the world have dropped 30-50%, and this is not being reflected in the Israeli market. Prices are 20% higher, on average, than in Europe. The prices of inputs have also decreased, as has the price of gas and energy, but this has not had any effect. What happened is that the monopolies and chain stores have gained huge profits at the consumers’ expense.”

MK Manuel Trajtenberg (Zionist Camp) explained that “the expense basket of a young family has three main components: housing, education and food. In housing the prices have only gone up; in education there has been some progress regarding ages 3-4, but not a week goes by that we are not asked to answer questions regarding family expenses related to education. An average family with three children spends some $1,300 a month on education, day care, afternoon child care, camps, and more. As far as food is concerned, some positive steps have been taken, but that nut has not been cracked and, ultimately, too much power has been left in the hands of a small number of companies.”

MK Yitzhak Vaknin (Shas) charged that the Trajtenberg Committee, which examined and proposed solutions to Israel’s socioeconomic problems, was established only to “ease tensions” and “take the wind out of the social protest’s sails.” In practice, he said, “nothing has been done.” Vaknin called to restore price controls, saying “in the absence of competition, this is the solution.”

MK Oren Hazan (Likud) said the problem is “greed.” The chain store owners and the major wholesalers “earn tens of millions on the public’s back,” he stated. “And meanwhile, here in the Knesset, people are strong at talking. The finance minister can make bold decisions and change the market without fearing his friends the tycoons. Here in this committee we have the power to advance a plan to dissolve the monopolies. We will enact a law to that effect.”

MK Roy Folkman of Kulanu said, “We have waged an all-out war on the monopolies. In Israel there is a very high concentration of market controls, and a finance minister who does not fear them has now arrived. We launched reforms in the importing of fresh meat and the prices have dropped. With fish as well, we created parallel importing. For years no one has dared to deal with the monopolies, which maintain a stronghold on Israeli politics, and we have started doing so. A change can already be seen in toiletries, food items, children’s toys and other items. The fight takes courage and ability. Increasing competition is the only way. Price control does not work; [corporations] would only raise the prices of other items. The business sector is more sophisticated than the regulator.”

MK Rachel Azaria, also from Kulanu, said “We are making great efforts, but every issue that reaches the Knesset gets stuck there. Every reform encounters objections, and it is nearly impossible to pass anything, including the fight against black market capital. I belong to the finance minister’s faction and it is my job to pass things, but nothing can be advanced; there are always dramas here; in some cases it’s the kibbutzim, in others kashrut – everybody has an interest. We have to be brave and deal with the basic problems: monopolies, quotas and interested bodies that prevent change. In the Arrangements Law we will introduce important reforms, and then we will see if all those who are yelling here will support them. We are the cause of the high prices. We have an opportunity to lower the cost of living, and I hope everyone here will support [the measures].”

JNi.Media

FM Kahlon Tussles With Netanyahu Over Casinos in Eilat

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

Kulanu party chairman and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon apparently is teaming up with Bayit Yehudi chairman and Education Minister Naftali Bennett in a minor political brawl against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The argument is over funding, as usual – this time, a plan to open a casino in Eilat.

In the past Kahlon has sidestepped the issue altogether by saying, “Everyone knows there will not be a casino here.”

The Finance Ministry has taken steps to block gambling activities that target Israelis and others who have low incomes and difficulty walking away from their hopes for easy money.

“Last week we decided to put an end to slot machines and horse races – gambling activities that ruin families. These machines are placed in poor neighborhoods to sell them illusions and hopes while taking money out of their pockets,” Kahlon said, according to the Globes business news site.

“Sadly, this has been going on since 2003 – it has been talked about for years and we decided to take action; soon we’ll remove them, and Mifal HaPayis can scrap them as far as I’m concerned.”

Meanwhile, Netanyahu appointed Tourism Minister Yariv Levin to head a commission to look into the possibility of developing a gambling spot in the southern resort city.

But Kahlon told journalists at the start of the Kulanu faction meeting in the Knesset on Monday: “The State of Israel does not need casinos. It needs to provide education, values, and jobs – not a casino.”

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/fm-kahlon-tussles-with-netanyahu-over-casinos-in-eilat/2016/06/14/

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