Partnership Instead of an Arena of Political Pressure

Cooperation between employee and employer representatives is important; however, cooperation will only turn into partnership if it includes the government and civil society and serves as a basis for a strategic debate.

The dollar has weakened sharply against the shekel over the past few months. Histadrut chairman Ofer Eini threatened a 24 hour general strike if the government continued to refuse to intervene. In his view, the strike would force the government to act.

Eini joins Shraga Brosh, President of the Manufacturers Association of Israel, who has advocated for government intervention to reduce the damage suffered by exporters. The cooperation between these two key actors in the public sphere is manifested in their proposed Bank of Israel law.

While Stanely Fischer, Governor of the Bank of Israel, is promoting a law that enshrines price stability as the Bank's key objective, Brosh and Eini believe price stability, growth, and employment should be given equal weighting. Moreover, they suggest that the monetary committee responsible for setting interest rates should include three members from the Bank of Israel and four external members from business and academia. In this formulation, the Governor of the Bank of Israel would not enjoy an automatic majority.

The cooperation between Brosh and Eini is the latest in a series of collaborations based on shared interests. This cooperation will become partnership only if it is expanded to include the government and civil society and becomes an arena for strategic debate. Partnership promotes of the long term interests of all of the main actors in the public sphere.

The Reut Institute claims that:

  • To promote partnership, the planning departments in the Prime Minister's office have to be involved. These departments, acting as a socio-economic central mind, engage the representatives of all the sectors in ongoing discussions as part of their mandate to advance a systemic socio-economic vision.

  • Partnership promotes long term interests - The Irish partnership model explicitly prevents participants from advancing short-term political interests as the Histadrut and Manufacturer's Association have done. The Irish discourse is focused on the long term - strategic planning for three years ahead. In this way, the discourse deals with strategic issues and avoids narrow political interests.

Sources

Brosh, The Marker, 29.1.08, for the full article (Hebrew).

Koren, The Marker, 4.2.08, for the full article (Hebrew).

Shtresler, Haaretz, 10.2.08, for the full article (Hebrew).