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The Law of Settlements, the Battle for Agriculture: Dichter vs. Smotrich - Voila! Of money


The Minister of Finance is expected to face several tough battles in order to pass the Settlements Law, but one of the main ones is going to be against the Minister of Agriculture. Smotrich who supports the continuation of the reform

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich.

Supports the continuation of the agricultural reform that is in line with his worldview (Photo: Avi Rokah)

A new front has opened up in recent days between Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and Agriculture Minister Avi Dichter.

Smotrich, who believes in a competitive market that is open to imports, and supports the implementation of the articles of the reform in agriculture that the farmers signed, inserted into the draft of the Arrangements Law a section that should make it easier to issue permits for the import of animal food to Israel, unify the regulation of the Ministry of Health and Agriculture in the field, and enshrine in the law the plant protection regulations, which should make it easier on the import of fruits and vegetables into Israel - which will remove them from the control of the Ministry of Agriculture.

"Walla" has learned that the Minister of Agriculture, Avi Dichter, intends to oppose the bill and does not intend to assist in the implementation of its reform. He opposes it.

It is likely that this tension will rise when the discussions on the settlement law begin and according to the mood, the Minister of Finance is expected to have a difficult confrontation with Dichter, who has joined hands with the farmers' organizations since taking office.

Minister of Agriculture Avi Dichter.

Will he return the Ministry of Agriculture to be a branch of the agricultural lobby within the government? (Photo: Reuven Castro)

Wells for plant protection

Dichter does not hide his opposition to the plant protection clause, as it appears in the draft law on settlements.

"The goal of the regulations is to protect the Israeli economy from pests," he says.

"The ministry will assist as much as it can in anything that lowers the cost of living, provided that it does not endanger either the public health or the health of agriculture. The wording of the section written as drafted in the Arrangements Law will be changed and adjusted to maintain the health and protection of the flora in Israel, while taking calculated risks."

A smart agricultural expert, that since the establishment of the state, the Ministry of Agriculture has been considered the "Ministry of Farmers", an extension of the agricultural lobby in the Israeli governments.

This tradition was broken, when Oded Forer, the previous Minister of Agriculture, entered his office and, together with the CEO Naama Kaufman Pess, began to promote the reform in agriculture.

The reform was supposed to lower tariffs on fruits and vegetables and thus encourage imports from abroad in order to make them cheaper, which excluded the farmers out of your mind,

With the swearing in of the new government and Avi Dichter taking office, things returned to normal.

The farmers once again control the ministry, and sources in the Ministry of Agriculture say that the minister, who, although he does not come from the working settlement, is linked to the agricultural lobby in Likud and the farmers' friends from the army, is a prisoner in their hands and does as they wish.

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Naama Kaufman Pess, the director general of the ministry who left her position last week. Apparently she could not bear the reform she worked on (photo: official website, Inbal Marmari)

conflict of interests

Here it is appropriate to point out that hundreds of employees of the Ministry of Agriculture sign conflict of interest agreements, because they are related in one way or another to agriculture, or they own farms, or their relatives are farmers or hold managerial positions in councils in organizations or agricultural councils.

This creates an absurd situation, where the concern for private interests may prevail over the public and consumer interest.

Last week, the director general of the ministry, Naama Kaufman Pess, resigned from her position, who during the negotiations on the reform was personally attacked by the farmers.

The reason: Dichter's intention to compromise the agricultural reform that he led together with the previous minister, and his deliberate foot-dragging in the passage of the new "plant protection regulations", which are supposed to allow the importation of the stuck fruits and vegetables, for a vote in the economy committee.

Those around Dichter say that these claims are baseless.

"As a small country with limited land resources, Israel must ensure that it can produce enough food to feed its population," says Dichter in response.

"Israel's hot climate and the lack of natural resources make it difficult to grow crops, which makes food security even more challenging.

In addition, the global instability and the political situation following the Russia-Ukraine war emphasizes Israel's great need to ensure food security as a priority .

"From the agricultural reform led by the previous government, we will implement what the minister believes are indeed leading to the right goals. Things that are not in the right direction will be canceled or changed and in their place we will lead moves that will help food security, the cost of living and guarantee the farmers in Israel who are the most important guardians of the country's lands.

We will reduce the bureaucracy between the farmer and the marketer, Priority will be given to blue and white products and at the same time we will open the market for imports in order to meet the demand of the Israeli citizen."

Zvika Cohen, will he be appointed CEO? The Civil Service Commission was surprised to hear. The minister for his part announced that he was "examining candidates" (Photo: screenshot, Knesset Channel)

"The minister examines candidates"

In addition, Shukel Dichter is considering appointing Zvika Cohen to the position of CEO, as senior vice president of the ministry, as was revealed a few months ago in Vala, Cohen passed on information to the farmers about the progress of the negotiations on the reform against the ministry where he works, and because of this a serious complaint was filed against him to the Commission The civil service for breach of trust, a complaint whose investigation is still ongoing. As I

recall, during the negotiations on the agricultural reform, screenshots from Cohen's phone were revealed, in which he advised farmers how to behave in everything related to the plant protection regulations that came up in the discussions: "It would have been better to move another year Cohen wrote.

"It's a big concession, so we mustn't give up anymore."

If Cohen is indeed appointed to the position, it is likely that he will not support the transfer of powers from the farmers' organizations to those who wish to import agricultural products to Israel.

The Civil Service Commission was surprised to hear about the expected appointment of Cohen to the position of CEO of the ministry from "Walla". In response, a widely circulated letter was sent which read: "It should be noted that according to the procedure, when there is a candidate before the Appointments Committee with a disciplinary record, the relevant information will be presented to the committee And it will be examined by her among all her considerations."

Agriculture Minister Avi Dichter said in response: "The minister is examining the candidates carefully and will formulate his position in the coming days."

  • Of money

  • news


  • Ministry of Finance

  • Ministry of Agriculture

  • Avi Dichter

  • Bezalel Smotrich

Source: walla

All business articles on 2023-02-01

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