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Committee Proposes Ministers Get Rid of Private Business Holdings to Avoid Possible Conflict of Inte

August 15, 1977
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A public committee recommended today to the government a series of measures to avoid a conflict of interest between ministers and their private business activities. The committee, headed by Supreme Court Justice Shlomo Asher, was appointed by the government to look into the possible conflict of interests of ministers and deputy ministers who are also owners of business enterprises.

If adopted, the recommendations may force some of the ministers, especially Agriculture Minister Ariel Sharon and Commerce and Industry Minister Yigael Hurwitz to get rid of assets which are worth many millions of Pounds. Sharon owns a large farm in the south and Hurwitz owns a large dairy plant. Finance Minister Simcha Ehrlich’s family owns an optical lens plant while Defense Minister Ezer Weizman has sold his stocks in a private firm.

Ehrlich said he would accept any government decision, “provided it would be reasonable, and this government usually adopts reasonable decisions.” Sharon and Hurwitz have not yet reacted to the committee’s recommendations.


Essentially, the committee recommends three possible ways for a minister or a deputy minister to avoid a conflict of interest: selling the rights in the assets to a person outside of the minister’s family; selling the rights to members of the family, on condition that that member has worked with the firm for at least a year; and leasing the rights for a determined period to a person who is not a member of the family, and is not associated with the person in question.

These three choices, particularly the third one, seem to pave the way for allowing all business owners who serve as ministers to continue their term in the government, without having to give up projects which have been built through the years.

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