Even before the new government has been officially installed and approved, prospective opposition leader Shelly Yachimovich has begun her campaign against the new coalition Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has hammered together – and her first target is Bayit Yehudi head Naftali Bennett, who is to be named Minister of Economics and Trade.
Although the name is a new one, the Economics and Trade Ministry is the direct heir of the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry. The name change was initiated by Bennett, and according to Yachimovich, the change is indicative of how Bennett will relate to less-advantaged Israelis.
Out of the three terms used to describe the previous iteration of the Ministry, Bennett chose trade. “Why trade?” queried Yachimovich. “Because it sounds more important? It appears that Israeli industry has disappeared overnight, and with it the jobs and employment opportunities that industry brings.
“From now on we are all going to be salespeople, with nobody making anything?” Yachimovich continued. “If we don't make anything what will we sell? Imported goods only? Where do you think jobs come from, if not from industry and exports?”
The name change is not just cosmetic, Yachimovich added. “It is representative of a painful process, in which the wealthy, who are expert at making money by performing financial tricks with other people's savings are now going to be dominant, overriding the importance of the true creators, the manufacturers, who not only manufacture products, but jobs.”
Bennett has not yet responded to Yechimovich's comments.