The Israel Freedom Movement is a non-partisan movement that is striving to increase the freedom of the citizens of Israel in the spirit of classical liberalism. Individual freedom, in our view, is the basic condition for the social and economic advancement of Israel. Only a free and tolerant society, in which the individual rights of every person are respected and every citizen has the right to chart his way at will as long as he is not harming someone else’s right to do similarly, can be prosperous and strong.
Property Rights — The quality of life of the citizens of Israel from all walks of life is closely related to their economic liberty. The social prosperity of the State of Israel depends most of all on respect for the sovereignty of the citizen on his body, his property and fruits of his labor, and his right to keep them and do with them as he wills as long as he does not violate the right of others to behave similarly.
Personal Freedom — A modern, liberal and vibrant society depends on freedom of expression and of the press, freedom of movement, freedom of thought and belief, freedom of association and freedom from arbitrary government decisions as long as did not affect body or property of another. The role of government is to guard the freedom of its citizens, so that they can live their lives freely, without fear of violence and coercion, from the government or from other citizens.
- Opening the market to competition — Freeing the economy is the best way to fight market concentration, unemployment and the high cost of living. The source of monopolies and cartels in Israel, for the most part, can be found in government legislation which violates freedom of occupation and competition. In Israel there exists a massive regulatory wall which consists of tens of thousands of pages, which prevents entrepreneurs, local and foreign, to compete with the large players in the market, beginning with the “Book Law” and culminating in the financial services oversight law. The Israeli manufacturing sector suffers particularly from legislation that restricts competition, in part by appointment of management councils and setting of production quotas (e.g. the law for planning the dairy market which contributes to high dairy product prices). Removing regulation will bring about the breaking up of monopolies and cartels such as the cement monopoly, the electricity monopoly, the ports monopoly, the lottery, the bank cartel, the insurance companies cartel, the milk, olives, honey and plants councils, and the like. Eliminating bureaucracy, production quotas and entry barriers, including unnecessary licensing and concession requirements will bring substantial growth in the purchasing power in Israel.
- Free up the lands of the Israel Land Authority and simplify the construction procedures — Separation between housing and state is required — remove the politicians from the construction field. The high cost of living in Israel is the result of extensive government involvement in the real estate market. Uniquely to Israel, more than 90% of the country is held by a government body – the Israel Land Authority. There is no similar economic area in the scope of the prohibitions, restrictions, supervision, government planning and bureaucracy as the construction and real-estate industry. This situation prevents the growth of the housing supply in accordance to demand and prevents providing housing in the location and character preferred by the consumers. All the lands of the Israel Land Authority should be publicly auctioned, high density and mixed-use development should be enabled, and the process of obtaining a permit should be simplified in order to allow affordable housing for every citizen via the market mechanism.
- Cancelling Subsidies and Transfers — The basis for mutual commitment and effective assistance to those who really need it, and not those who hold political influence, is voluntary cooperation among free citizens. Transfer payments and subsidies capture many in the poverty cycle on the one hand and increase the tax burden and raise the cost of living for the general population on the other hand. Government grants are usually given to inefficient and unprofitable factories or large corporations that operate lobbyists, and are financed by additional taxation imposed on the general public. The problem of poverty will not be solved by the distribution of welfare and the growth of the business sector will not be facilitated by the distribution of funds.
- Properly privatizing government companies — The private sector, which is entrepreneurial and productive, serves as the engine that is pulling the economy and the quality of life in Israel depends on it. The Israeli economy bears the burden of an inflated public sector, which draws nearly half of the GDP of the State of Israel. The Israel Electric Company bears debt of tens of billions of dollars. The ports and Israel Railways provide cumbersome service and are infected with nepotism and corruption. The only way to solve these problems fundamentally is to privatize these companies. A correct privatization is not done by transferal of controlling interests to those close to the government but by the IPO of the Companies’ shares to the public.
- Freeing the economy from the stranglehold of the Histadrut and the powerful workers’ unions — Fair association laws, which do not give disproportionate power to the unions, are instrumental to the functioning of the economy as a whole and the public sector in particular. The phenomenon of waves of strikes that paralyze the economy every few years affects economic stability, turns the citizens of Israel into hostages and leads to remuneration of employees not according to their contribution but rather according to their ability to cause damage. Striking is the right of every person by virtue of his ownership of his body and freedom of association, but it is inconceivable that striking workers, despite the severe damage they impose on Israeli citizens, will receive immunity from claims alleging breach of employment contract as part of the strike. Cancellation of the immunity system will cause the unions to internalize the costs of the strike and properly consider its use. Reducing the power of the strong unions will allow a more reliable and efficient functioning of the public sector and increase the number of jobs in the economy.
- Lowering the Tax Burden — Lower taxes allow to initiate, work and create freely and thus increase the welfare of all walks of life. However, the high level of taxes in Israel harms civilians, encourages emigration, fosters an underground economy, causes prices to rise and deters foreign capital from flowing to the country. The Israeli tax system is very complicated and includes a variety of tax credits and exemptions for various pressure groups which distort the economy. A reduction in taxes will enable economic growth and increase the citizens’ ability to take care of themselves and each other. Alongside tax cuts, we must simplify the tax code and eliminate all types of tax exemptions in order to reduce the resources required to collect the taxes and the incentive to evade tax, thus allowing a uniform low tax level. Particularly in the finance sector, the terms of taxation of all forms of savings should be equalized, so that there will not be an initial advantage for provident funds or savings plans of specific financial institutions as compared to managing one’s savings personally or through independent bodies.
- Making Israel a Free Trade Zone — Freedom of trade is the basis of a strong economy in the modern era. Restricting trade benefits only special interest groups and harms all citizens. The protectionism the exists nowadays for “crony” industries should be stopped and Israel should be turned into a free trade zone, meaning abolition of all tariffs, import quotas, prohibitions on imports, and unique regulatory requirements of the Israeli Standards Institute for each product — even if it already has a permit from the the regulatory entities in the US in or the EU.
- Freeing the Labor Market — A flexible labor market which respects the freedom of contract increases the productivity and wages of all workers. Labor laws which make it difficult for employers to hire and fire workers or restrict the employee and the employer’s ability to reach an agreement as they see fit harm the profitability of engaging workers in the first place and therefore adversely affect the most vulnerable workers. The institution of tenure in the public service has made many workers into “nails without a head “, i.e. you can not fire them or even transfer them to a different role. This severely damages the quality of governmental service — tenure should be abolished and workers should be employed as needed. The Israeli labor market should be based on contracts rather than on regulations and prohibitions. A flexible labor market will help the weaker sectors of the population integrate into the labor force.
- Establishing a Responsible Fiscal and Monetary Policy — A balanced budget, stable currency and free exchange rates are cornerstones of healthy economic growth. Money printing and budget deficits are the not path to long-term growth and lead to an irresponsible increase in the national debt, erosion of the public’s savings and distortion of the economy. A reform should be promoted that will reduce the ability of the Bank of Israel to generate inflation and speculate in foreign exchange on the back of the public, and that will reduce the economy’s dependency on decisions made by a limited committee. In addition, a constitutional mechanism should be instituted that forbids the destructive policies of chronic deficit, by forcing the government to automatically decrease expenses and a steadily reduce the debt burden until it is gone.
- Limiting the Government Agencies — A limited and transparent government is a precondition for good governance, so the number of ministers should be limited through a Basic Law. Consequently, the powers of the various government ministries should be limited, unnecessary offices eliminated, the remaining offices unified, and the possibility of appointing ministers without portfolio canceled. This an important step towards a more efficient and transparent management of the government, a significant reduction in the cost of the governmental apparatus, and an improvement in maintaining the separation of powers (currently, more than a quarter of the Knesset members serve as ministers or deputy ministers in the government, which violates the separation of powers between the executive and legislative powers). Any significant deviation from a simple government structure which includes the six major ministries: Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Defense, Department of Homeland Security and the State Department is a manifestation of the administration’s atrophy, a waste of public funds and unnecessary bureaucratic complexity.
- Allowing freedom of choice in Education
- Privatizing religion from the state to the individual and the community
- Ending the “War on Drugs”
- Progressing responsibly towards a professional army
- Saying “no” to the Biometric Database
- Legalizing Prostitution
- Separating the gambling industry from the criminal world
- Freeing the media and freedom of speech