Meridor Wants to Run Israel’s Economy As A’big Business’

Yaacov Meridor, appointed as the Economic Coordinator in the new Cabinet of Premier Menachem Begin, says he intends running the country, from the economic point of view, as a “big business.”

He told a radio interviewer that he would concentrate on long-range planning. “Most of the tools, machinery and equipment in the country is idle most of the time, working one shift while their capacity is two or three shifts,” he said. “This isn’t because of any lack of markets but because of the wage structure, and the lack of incentives and taxes for the private industrialist as well as for the worker.”

The economic Czar asserted that “My first effort will be to change this, otherwise it means disaster for the Israeli economy. I want to run the whole country, from an economic point of view, like a successful big business.”

He said he foresaw no difficulties with the Histadrut in this respect. “The only difference is that if a factory owner is offered incentives you’ll find him in the factory at midnight instead of going to a concert, unlike the Histadrut official (in charge of a labor union cooperative enterprise) who might not be so interested.”

Meridor said it was conditions which made the Israeli worker lazy. If offered incentives, in the form of no income tax on overtime payments, he would work harder “and we will make him a rich man.” He said he was in favor of a nominal five-day week “but the worker will probably agree to work and produce on Fridays, also, if he gets incentives without income tax.” He saw no problems with Sabbath work. “Everybody has to have a day off,” he said.

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