etanyahu has appointed Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin to lead a commission to explore the possibility of opening a gambling establishment in the southernmost Israeli city. In the past, Kahlon has avoided direct confrontation on the issue, telling inquisitive reporters, “Everyone knows there will not be a casino here.”
His comments come after the Ministry of Finance began taking steps against gambling ventures – specifically those targeting the poor, such as slot machines.
“Last week we decided to put an end to slot machines and horse races – gambling activities that ruin families. These machines are placed in poor neighborhoods to sell them illusions and hopes while taking money out of their pockets. Sadly, this has been going on since 2003 – it has been talked about for years and we decided to take action; soon we'll remove them, and Mifal HaPayis can scrap them as far as I’m concerned.”
Kahlon also discussed the Strum committee recommendations presented to the government on Monday. “In the coming days, we will wrap up the committee’s work and start legislating. For 47 years, not one bank was founded in the State of Israel. The key issues were the barriers in capital adequacy, in technology, and in equity – we removed these blocks. And here we should heap praise on the Governor of the Bank of Israel and the Supervisor of Banks. The Bank of Israel cooperated with us on the matter despite our feuds fueling the headlines in the financial press; but it was for a good cause – to create competition in banking.
“A competitive banking system will increase the volume of credit; it will introduce new players including insurance companies and pension funds into the credit market. It will offer small businesses and households more credit, more cheaply, and with lower fees. The second announcement I made to the government was the splitting off of the credit card companies. There are already parties interested in Visa and Isracard. Their buyers will receive banking licenses within three months. In the past, companies could have waited for years without receiving the license. But we have a commitment from the Bank of Israel: there will be new banks within three months of the day these companies are split off.”