Daily Israel Report

Rivlin: Keep Israeli Businesses Israeli

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin called on Israeli corporate executives not to rush to give up control of their companies to foreign elements.
By David Lev
First Publish: 6/28/2011, 7:09 PM / Last Update: 6/28/2011, 8:08 PM

Tnuvah

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin called on Israeli corporate executives not to rush to give up control of their companies to foreign elements, but rather to retain their control of the top companies in the economy.

During a discussion in the Knesset on the occasion of “Buy Blue and White Day" Tuesday, Rivlin said that “it makes no sense for us to ask the average Israeli to purchase Israeli products when most of the money he pays for the item is sent to foreign purses, which act from narrow profit motives. We cannot use 'buy blue and white' as a slogan for sales alone, without committing to the values the phrase represents."

Speaking to MKs and top Israeli industrialists, Rivlin said that “the cottage cheese price protests unveiled a process that has affected Israeli industry in this era of globalization. There are foreign funds and businesses that buy Israeli companies, with their only purpose to make a quick profit. These companies benefit from the 'buy Israeli' campaigns, but their financial fundamentals and purposes do not match our goals. They operate in Israel like an Israeli company, but their policies are set by remote control from Europe or the U.S.”

Rivlin was referring to a report in Globes this week that revealed that consulting firm McKinsey & Company told Tnuva that they could, and should, raise prices on dairy products. McKinsey said that raising prices would not harm sales but that it would “create quick value” for the company, after it was acquired by world investment firm Apax Partners. According to the report, Apax executives ordered Tnuva management to come up with methods of increasing the company's profits, as Apax planned to sell Tnuva within several years and wanted to maximize its profit.

Rivlin urged the manufacturers in the audience to do everything they could to keep their businesses under Israeli control. “We want to buy blue and white; you be the blue and white we can buy. Do not transfer the glorious fruits of Israeli labor to foreign hands on a whim – and even if you must sell, try to retain some control,” he said.