Analysis: Deri an unknown quantity as new economy minister

Market analysts were cautious about Shas leader Arye Deri’s ascension to the Economy Ministry Sunday, where he will have big shoes to fill as his predecessor Bayit Yehudi head Naftali Bennett moves on to the Education Ministry.

As the head of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, Deri’s economic agenda to date has consisted largely in securing welfare benefits for his constituents, who are among Israel’s poorest.

Bennett, a hi-tech superstar who made millions when he sold his company, brought a private sector gravitas to the position that was clear in the list of specific accomplishments he rattled off at Sunday’s changing of the guard ceremony in Jerusalem. Lowering import barriers and passing reforms in the food market has started bringing down food prices, he said, and more Arab women and haredi men have entered the work force.


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