New pro-business party in Israel

By Noga Godein, June 7, 2012
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Daniel and Benny Goldstein, who have set up the party Calcala

Daniel and Benny Goldstein, who have set up the party Calcala

Like many “Anglo-Saxons,” as English-speaking immigrants to Israel are still known, brothers Daniel and Benny Goldstein find Israel a frustrating place to do business.

Daniel, 48, a businessman, and Benny, 35, a law student, originally from Long Island, New York, hope to bring an efficient American style of economic management to Israel through their newly-established party, Calcala, or ”finance” in Hebrew. It is the youngest party on the Israeli political scene, only a month old.

Their party is “not left and not right, not religious and not secular—we are for everybody,” Daniel says. “We want to make Israel a better place to live, no matter who you are.”

The Goldsteins want to impose a brisk economic order on what they see as Israel’s current chaos.

The brothers have lived in Israel and the US, in a zig-zag of immigration and emigration, for most of their lives.

“Every time I do business in Israel, I end up with the feeling that I just don’t want to be here, I can’t take it,” Daniel says. “There’s too much red tape, and no matter how successful I have been—I owned the third largest mattress company in Israel—and no matter how much I tried, the bureaucracy made it almost impossible to make it.

“The people who are leaving this country are real Israelis, people who try to run real businesses and can’t make it. So we asked, why are we losing all these people? It is about time someone decided to take care of it.”

The Goldsteins are confident that come Israel’s next elections, scheduled for late 2013, they will gain at least three seats in the Knesset. The third candidate on their list is a non-relative: Ann Sinelnikov, a 22 year old law old law school graduate, a striking blonde who likes to sport a Bardot-like chignon, and is, according to Benny, “brilliant at politics. Just brilliant.”

Among the issues Calcala will champion is the switch to a weekly salary plan from the current Israeli norm of a monthly cheque, which, according to the Goldsteins, causes a signal drag on one’s overdraft interest payments, and the creation of standard title insurance, which would protect Israeli homeowners from potentially dodgy middlemen trying to make a crooked shekel.

Last updated: 11:33am, June 7 2012