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A Netanyahu Candidate for Finance Chief Would Have to Do His Homework

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The campaign marketing Likud legislator Nir Barkat as Benjamin Netanyahu’s choice for next finance minister didn’t go well. The former Jerusalem mayor was exposed as a frivolous person, not because he failed the pop quiz Army Radio gave him – how much does a loaf of bread cost? Many people in Israel know how much bread costs, but that doesn’t qualify them to be finance minister.

Barkat, who’s eyeing that job and aspires to reduce both food and housing prices by 30 percent, is expected to be at least a little familiar with what Netanyahu governments have done over the past decade on these issues.

Well, you’d be surprised to learn they’ve done quite a lot. Since the social justice protests in the summer of 2011, Netanyahu governments have taken steps including the “cornflakes reform” – an easing of barriers on imports – reduced tariffs and reformed the Standards Institute, yet food prices have barely changed.

The situation in the housing market is even worse. Under Netanyahu, the government has instituted the so-called balcony reforms for simple construction plans, increased........

© Haaretz