In June 2015, Mr. Dror Strum, IEP's CEO, was appointed as the Head of the Committee for Increasing Competition in the Israeli Banking and Financial services. The Committee's recommendations led to a structural reform, adopted by the Knesset in the Increasing Competition and Reducing Concentration in the Banking Market Law, enacted in 2017 (also known as the Strum legislation). Pursuant to this legislation, the banking and credit card markets are undergoing numerous changes, including the structural separation of Credit Cards companies from the big banks (Poalim and Leumi). All these changes are likely to increase the competition in the provision of credit starting in 2021-2022.
For over two years, the IEP has been conducting an empirical extensive research project on corruption in local government, focusing on past cases of proven corruption in numerous local authorities over the last decade. The findings are relatively surprising and myth breaking. The IEP is currently working on recommendations that will not just narrow down corruption by means of technology, sophisticated enforcement measures and other structural changes but also increase the efficiency of the local municipalities. In the run-up to the local elections, we launched a social media campaign that provided information about the spread of corruption in the local government which was aimed to raise awareness regarding the extent of the phenomenon and the damages it creates.
On December 25, 2018, the Economics Affairs Committee in the Israeli parliament (the "Knesset"), approved the reform in the Restrictive Trade Practices Law that is expected to transform the Israeli Antitrust Authority to Competition Authority. This reform, which was largely supported by the IEP which proposed a number of improvements that were adopted, granted the Competition regulator the authority to exercise its powers to dominant firms, even when these companies control less than 50% of the market in which they operate. This was a major step towards increasing the enforcement of the law on dominant firms and bringing Israel concentrated economy in line with international enforcement practices and norms.
As part of the establishment of the Gas Framework, the IEP submitted detailed, reasoned and research-based position to the Tzemach Committee which opposed the Gas Framework. The IEP was also involved in the proceedings to cancel and limit the Gas Framework in the Knesset and the High Court of Justice.
The Grand Strategy Forum was established on the 65th Independence Day of Israel by the Samuel Neaman Institute in cooperation with the IEP. The Forum included some 200 experts and leaders from the academic, government, business, legal and military sectors. The recommendations of the team were published and are available on the web (Hebrew). On May 28, 2017, the "Grand Strategy for Israel" report was handed to the President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin.
The IEP promoted the establishment of a Court for Economic Matters in order to improve the system's efficiency and address the issue of conflicting rulings in matters of a commercial nature. The main points of the IEP's proposal included (1) a requirement that decisions on economic matters be given solely by judges who are members of the economic court, and (2) creating an infrastructure that would ensure a high level of professionalism of judges dealing with Economic issues. In July 2010, the amendment was approved by the Knesset, and in December of that year the first economic court in Israel was established.
Prior to the establishment of the Concentration Committee, the IEP drafted a private bill to address the issue of Concentration. The bill was submitted to the Knesset and was used as a basis and catalyst for the establishment of the Concentration Committee and the preparation of the Concentration Law. The IEP had significant reservations regarding the Concentration bill and these were accepted in part by the Knesset's Finance Committee, and were later adopted by the Knesset in the Law for Promotion of Competition and Reduction of Concentration, enacted in 2013.
The Committee's report indicated five structural failures in the civil service in the following matters: policy implementation and execution; burdensome bureaucracy; human resource management; lack of a systemic view and collaborations; thinking ability, policy planning, measurement and control. The IEP's CEO was a member of this committee. The Committees' recommendations were adopted by the government.
Due to allegations of a growing number of personal and problematic appointments under the title of "personal trust appointments" in the Prime Minister's Office, a public committee was set to examine the functioning and appointments of the Prime Minister's headquarters. The committee diligently examined the arrangements that have been in place until then, held discussions with current and past executives and reached detailed conclusions regarding the reduction of trust positions and subjecting such positions to the fulfillment of detailed professional requirements. The IEP's CEO was a member of this committee.
The IEP took an active role in the "cost of living" team of the Trajtenberg Committee and was highly involved in drafting the Committee's recommendations regarding competition and regulation. These recommendations led to further reforms in the Food industry, in the Cement industry and in the way regulation is conceived in all government offices.
In the IEP's view, the guiding rule is that investors and institutional bodies should be allowed to make their decisions regarding the attractiveness of an investment in a company, based, first and foremost, on efficiency considerations and the interests of the investors and savers, and prioritize the "moral consideration" according to their understanding. However, there is reason to intervene in the determination of executives’ salaries when dealing with companies affiliated with a group built as a "pyramid". The IEP's proposal is that these companies establish a compensation mechanism that is conditional on long-term performance of the relevant company.
Following the discoveries of natural gas, the IEP initiated and promoted the establishment of the Alternative Fuels Administration in the Prime Minister's Office, in order to stimulate and promote the transition to fuel substitutes, both for economic and national reasons.
The IEP appeared before the "100-day" staff committee of the new government, presented its work on the expected crisis in the housing market and influenced the need to submit a bill to address the issue. Following the appearance of the IEP's CEO in the Economics Affairs Committee, a section that prevents the concentration of ownership in real estate in specific areas was added to the Law. In addition, the IEP continued to warn of the consequences of the untreated problem of concentration, such as the monopoly of the Israel Land Administration.
The IEP led a team of experts and submitted a detailed report to the Ariav Committee on the subject: "Israel as a Financial Center" The report included detailed recommendations for legislative amendments that would remove obstacles and barriers to the entrance of international businesses to Israel. Other than an amendment to the Tax Ordinance that exempted foreign investors from Israeli capital gain upon sale of their investment in Israeli companies, due to the economic crisis that erupted shortly thereafter, the work of the Committee was completed without implementation of its conclusions and insights.