The Knesset Finance Committee called on Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz to increase government
assistance to small and medium-size businesses.
"In light of the economic state worldwide and the difficult financial
condition the Israeli middle class faces, the assistance available to
small and mid-size businesses should be increased and the criteria for
assistance should be made more flexible," said Committee Chairman MK
Rabbi Moshe Gafni during a special Finance Committee meeting on the
issue. "In particular, the export criteria for factories that export
less than 25 percent of their output should be reevaluated.
"Many small and medium businesses are in danger of closing and
employee layoffs," added Rabbi Gafni. "Small and medium-size
businesses are the primary business anchor of Israeli society."
The meeting was initiated by MK Ruchama Avraham (Kadima), who noted
that "the state gives NIS 5.5 billion to established industrial plants
listed on the TA-25 index, but during the period of economic slowdown
and social protest it is considering raising taxes for small and
medium businesses, which are considered the most substantial engine of
growth in the economy."
"Over 430,000 small and medium-size businesses are discriminated
against, despite the fact that they employ 55% of the workforce and
contribute 45% of the GNP. They are the backbone of growth. In fact,
President Obama praises small and mid-size businesses in every speech
he gives. In Israel, these business owners have to confront a slough
of obstacles. On one hand, a lot of bureaucracy, and on the other, a
heavy tax burden that could increase still further. On top of that,
the Bank of Israel is tightening regulations."