Dobi Amitai, Chairman of the Business Sector Presidency and Chairman of the Farmers' Association (Photo: Reuven Castro)
: Dobi Amitai, 62 years old, chairman of the Farmers' Association and chairman of the presidency of the business sector.
Who I am
: Loves people, strives for excellence, sets goals for myself and reaches them in my own way.
: My great-grandparents on my father's side arrived in Metula in 1896 and the family has remained there ever since.
They started working in limited agriculture and when Baron Rothschild purchased land for them, the farm developed and reached 300 dunams.
Father was born in Metula.
Mother, a Holocaust survivor, who lost her parents in the war, immigrated to Israel with her aunt, was taken in by Tel Yosef and after a year arrived at her transition in Kiryat Shmona, where she met father.
She didn't tell us much about what she was going through.
I only know that her parents threw her off the train when she was five and told her aunt to look after her.
She was very anxious in everything concerning children, and from the mid-70s, when the security situation worsened, it shortened her life.
: In the first years, after father received the property, the financial situation at home was difficult and the toilets were outside.
We all went to work, because there was no outside personnel.
From the age of four I walked among the cows and chickens and was in the orchards.
I went to elementary school in Metula in my religious kingdom, and put on tefillin.
Towards high school, when there were kidnappings, intrusions and shootings, I was sent to the agricultural boarding school in Pardes Hana.
I played a lot of soccer, I liked farming and less the studies.
It was clear to me that I would be a farmer and I always followed many people and led processes.
"From the age of four I walked among the cows and chickens and was in the orchards" (Photo: Reuven Castro)
: Immediately after I enlisted I went to all the command courses and when I was released my father said I had two options: either return to the farm or return today.
So I came back.
But in between, the Galilee Peace War broke out and following the battle in Kfar Sil against the Syrian commandos, together with the Vulcan company of which Ashkenazi, Kaplinsky and Amirm Levin were among its fighters, I was a candidate for the exemplary award which I did not agree to receive.
Amiram Levin, whom I rescued in a heroic rescue, in retrospect, from the airport in Beirut told me, Dobi, we do what is required of us and do not need decorations.
What interested me was to continue with my soldiers, three of whom I lost and they are here with me, in the picture behind me.
After the liberation, I climbed the ranks in the reserves and today I'm a colonel, doing what I can, until I'm deported.
: My wife, a true partner and the one who designed and managed the family's restaurants.
In 2015 she decided to retire and be with her grandchildren.
She was born in Rosh Pina, we met in the army and got married.
We live in Metula, we have three children and two grandchildren.
: I returned to the farm and family.
After a year I was elected to serve as the chairman of most of the agricultural associations in Toula and for 25 years I managed them. I acquired my knowledge while on the move, not in the academy. I learned from people who had something to learn from them, I read a lot, and I used my senses, intuition and thinking. At the same time I developed my farm .
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"I acquired my knowledge on the go, not in the academy" (Photo: Reuven Castro)
: Mother was a first class cook.
When HaGedal Tova opened, she opened a restaurant at the edge of the colony called the "Border Inn" that served Lebanese food and the family supported it.
When I once came to help and misbehaved, she didn't let me work outside the kitchen anymore.
In 2000, after the withdrawal of the IDF from Lebanon, the inn was closed and my brother and I opened "The Mill
", which in the meantime I left due to lack of time and has several butcher shops throughout the country
. The head of the association and to replace Pesach Gruper.
I debated whether to go for it and in the end I was there a day and a half a week and continued to work on the farm.
The association is the first resettlement movement that arose in the State of Israel and was founded by Moshe Smilansky, and resettled Pet, Rehovot and Rashlatz.
It is at all decision points in the agricultural sector, together with the kibbutz movement.
After I was elected, I established "Team 6" which includes the regional councils, the moshavim movement, the economic organizations of the kibbutzim and the farmers' association.
The negotiations on the reform were conducted by a tripartite team that included Amit Yafarah from the Moshavim movement, Abu Willan and myself.
I inform you that I want the reform more than the Minister of Finance and Agriculture. I put the whole truth on the table, even if it will affect me negatively. And yes, agriculture is in a kind of stagnation. There is no debate about that.
Why is she there?
Because the state invests nothing in it.
Because I can't get the amount of water I need.
And not only do I live on allowances, the price of water is hundreds of percent higher than what the Jordanians get.
The Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance are talking about lowering the price of water, and at the same time, the Water Authority put out for a hearing the 150% increase in the tariff for agriculture.
Two or three weeks ago, I heard that Mekoro distributes dividends to the state. I understand that there is money in Mekoro. It is an inefficient company, it has a lot Money and I pay dearly for the water. And I say - yes, the state should subsidize the water for farmers, not through exercises and not through investments but a significant reduction.
"I want the reform more than the Minister of Agriculture" (Photo: Reuven Castro)
: They tell me, compete with the tomato from Turkey, let us make open imports.
And I say, no problem, we want normal direct support.
Give us fishing rods and not stinky fish.
At the moment, in the reform, tariffs were only lowered.
We did not receive a shekel from all the promises of the billions.
I want to lower the crazy regulation on foreign workers.
They charge us 50 million shekels a year for foreign workers and we have to set aside a pension for them.
The agriculture sector needs 45,000 workers and we were given half of the necessary quota, and then a black market for workers opened up, which is very bad.
We should be allowed to hire foreign workers like in Europe, some of them long-term and some seasonal, but we are not given short-term workers.
The disgusting black market causes a crazy increase in the price and a shortage of working hands.
If five years ago the agricultural export was NIS 5 billion, it has halved.
It's a growth engine we could be proud of.
But with the lowering of tariffs, not only are there no exports, the territories are abandoned.
Lower the tariff on garlic and start importing garlic without health values from China.
From 10,000 dunams of garlic we went down to crops of 1500 dunams and got synthetic garlic.
Competition with abroad
: I have no problem canceling the councils and quotas, but give me good sports shoes, so that I can deal with the number one athlete in Spain and Turkey. Competition is a healthy thing, produces efficiency and productivity. I do not argue with Smotrich on this
. For once to do a proper job in MAL, and understand that because of the climate crisis and the war in Ukraine, many countries are emphasizing food security based on local production.
We don't know how to deal with grains, but with fresh animal and plant food, I eat them all without salt, both in quality and freshness.
"The north has become a cell that has an insane amount of oil and the farmers are threatened" (Photo: Reuven Castro)
: I work with the "New Guard" in many areas, training volunteers, raising budgets, but as a citizen and farmer in Israel, I want and believe that the role of the police and the Mageb is to give us security and not to let criminals operate freely in the field. The north has become a cell that there is an insane amount of oil in it and the farmers are threatened.
The presidency of the business sector
: in the farmers' association, the industrialists and the farmers came to the conclusion that they should unite and establish a body that would represent the business sector vis-a-vis the government and the Histadrut, and established the coordination bureau of the economic organizations, which was headed in the past by Dan Proper, Dov Lautman, Oded Tira and Shraga Brosh.
The Farmers' Association has a chair in the presidency and until 2015 I was a full member and then deputy and chief executive officer of Shagra Barosh. Over the years I studied the business sector in depth and replaced Sharaga when necessary. At the end of 2019, when he decided to resign from his position, he said to me, Dobi, come and replace me Until elections are held, you are the most suitable. I asked him to think carefully before offering me, because the position of chairman was traditionally held by the industrialists' association.
Within three months there were elections, and after consulting with the members of the presidency, I decided to run for office and was elected.
Against this background, the Industrialists' Association headed by Ron Tomer, chairman of the Industrialists' Association, withdrew from the organization. The Craft and Industry Association, which unites the medium-sized businesses, remained with us.
"I'm a Likudnik, active behind the scenes, I don't want to be in the front" (Photo: Reuven Castro)
: Close to the time when I was elected as the permanent chairman of the presidency of the business sector, the corona broke out. On February 17, 2020, I received a call from Bibi to come to him for a meeting with the chairman of the Histadrut and the presidency's representative, and then I began to understand the magnitude of the event.
Hand in hand with Arnon Bar David and the Minister of Finance, we agreed on the departure of workers to Halat until April and I worked in front of the interfaces of the business sector. That's where my good relationship with Arnon was forged, together we made difficult decisions and made it through this period.
: I'm not going to war. The model I set for my people is cooperation and sitting around a round table between the government, the business sector and the Histadrut.
If someone thinks he can manage the country differently - he is wrong.
And I take this opportunity to tell the Minister of Finance and the Chairman of the Histadrut that this triangle is bound by reality.
In light of inflation and the increase in interest rates, which affects doing business, one should leave the ego aside for the sake of the economic future of the State of Israel and remember that the engine that drives the economy is the business sector.
I talk to Arnon several times a week, and unlike many heads of the Histadrut before him, he is not a man of strikes, but of the girls.
: It was a mistake that the package deal did not go through and I tell the government that the business sector wants certainty and stability.
We cannot live in a world where decisions are made every two weeks and changed.
I want them to build a five-year plan like in the IDF, because the ones who pay for the endless change of governments are us. We are ready to raise the salary, but for those who deserve it and not in a horizontal way, that both the one who earns 5,000 shekels will get it and the one who earns 30,000 shekels will benefit from it . It does not make sense.
Those who are below the median wage should have their salary raised, but another mechanism should be found and not an automatic pilot that gives raises to everyone in a blanket manner.
Let's take care of those who need it.
I don't want it, just like I didn't like that Corona took money off the helicopters.
I gave my 2000 shekels to those who need it.
The cost of living
: there is concentration in retail and the competition authority is not doing its job.
As consumers we deserve a competitive market.
The state must stop wasting land in order to lower real estate prices and the supply must exceed the demand, but the most urgent treatment is the price of the land. Investing in infrastructure and especially in transportation is a key issue and it will not hurt to deal with the crazy regulation and the world of class actions that kill businesses, and 98% What are frivolous claims?
If you want to take care of productivity, you must continue to invest in employee training.
The outgoing Minister of Economy, Orna Barbiei, handed over to us the "Employers' Directorate" that we managed with the Histadrut and through which we trained 20,000 workers, who were taken on by employers at the end of the training.
The work arm is now being transferred to the ministry of fact and I hope that this blessed initiative will continue.
But the main thing that Smotrich has to stand on is maintaining the budget framework.
: We met last week for a long and substantive meeting.
I am very close in my economic views to the Minister of Finance and believe in a competitive market, but to give everyone the same conditions.
I found him attentive and attentive to details.
I believe that we will work in cooperation and he also agreed that there is a need for dialogue around a round table.
: I am a Likudnik, active behind the scenes, I don't want to be in the front.
I know all the factors, I have a lot of friends from among the members of the government, people I greatly appreciate, but politics does not interest me.
Leisure: When I come home at ten at night, my wife asks me, why can't you sleep, and I explain that my head doesn't stop working.
I am the chairman of several companies, one of them in the field of cannabis. All my occupations also fill my leisure time.
Looking to the future
: I have four more years as chairman of the presidency of the business sector and at the same time I am constantly doing business development for myself.
As someone who ideologically believes in the love of the country, our ability and creativity, I want to develop this sector and make it a leader in the world.
A real bear
Minister of Finance