Somebody had better call a doctor and ask for some strong analgesics, because the country appears to be reeling in pain from the announcement that Israel’s largest company, Teva Pharmaceuticals, would be making painful cuts in its workforce.
Yedioth Ahronoth puts Teva Pharmaceuticals’ massive layoffs on Page 1, saying that “even an empire like Teva isn’t immune to turbulence.” The paper reports that 10% of Teva’s employees will be laid off in the coming year — approximately 5,000 of its 46,000 workers worldwide — and that the pharmaceutical giant employs 7,500 workers in its installations in Kiryat Shmona, Netanya, Kfar Saba, Jerusalem, Petah Tikva, and Ramat Hovev. Of those, an estimated 700 Israeli employees are expected to lose their jobs.
According to Haaretz, the “aggressive streamlining” at Teva is expected to claim 800 jobs, and the layoffs are expected to take effect by the end of 2014. Haaretz notes, however, that the layoffs are part of a streamlining plan announced in 2012.
“The plan includes sale of properties, increase in organizational effectiveness, and improvement in production effectiveness,” the paper writes. “Teva decided upon the streamlining in light of the continuing drop in earnings in 2012 in the previous quarters.”
Teva CEO Jeremy Levin tells Yedioth Ahronoth that the impact on the Israeli side of the company will be less than that of its holdings overseas. “The hit to Teva employees in Israel will be smaller,” he is quoted saying. “We will start at other, less effective production sites.”
The paper notes that Levin himself won’t be hurt, as “his income stands at NIS 1.2 million per month” and the cutback plan doesn’t entail pay cuts for senior employees.
According to Israel Hayom, Labor Party leader Shelly Yachimovich criticized Finance Minister Yair Lapid for calling for a change in the rules of the game vis-a-vis major corporations like Teva, while raising taxes on the middle class. The paper reports that according to Economics Ministry statistics, Teva received tax benefits equivalent to NIS 4.2 million shekels for hiring employees.
The paper noted that despite the bad news for Israeli employees of Teva, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange reacted to the news with a 1.64% jump in expectation of increased earnings.
Maariv’s main headline quotes Likud MK Tzachi Hanegbi saying “Israel can and must attack Iran.” Alongside the headline is a photo taken from an IDF video uploaded to YouTube showing IAF aircraft performing a midair refueling exercise conducted this week.
“Even if [US President Barack] Obama wanted to act [against Iran], that’s not enough,” Hanegbi tells the paper. “There is significant American public opinion against it. He has no majority [in favor]. We saw Congress’s stance against an attack on Syria; that won’t change against Iran. We don’t need to rely on his guarantee.”
Israel Hayom runs a brief story on the aforementioned exercise on Page 7, in which it emphasizes the connection between the IDF’s unusual announcement of its aerial drill and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s warning to European news outlets that if Israel has no other choice, it will act alone against Iran.
Inside, Maariv features a series of polls in the run-up to municipal elections. According to the findings of the surveys, 43 percent of respondents in Jerusalem said they would vote for incumbent Mayor Nir Barkat, with 43% undecided. Among Tel Aviv residents, 40% said they were planning to vote for incumbent Mayor Ron Huldai, and 46% remained undecided. Both polls were conducted by Maagar Mohot, and just over 500 respondents were queried in either city.
Aviv Lavi writes in response to the poll’s findings that the significance is that “there is a critical mass of Tel Avivis who are convinced by what Ron Huldai has argued for years: that for everything that’s good in the city (and there is plenty good in Tel Aviv) he is responsible, and for everything bad, the government is responsible.”
Shalom Yerushalmi writes it comes as no surprise that Jerusalem mayoral contender Moshe Lion only took 14% in the poll. He discusses Lion’s “embarrassing” interview with Walla news, in which he was asked “basic questions about what’s happening in Jerusalem.” Lion “claimed that there weren’t any movie theaters operating on the Sabbath (there are at least 10)” and demonstrated a lack of familiarity with local culinary institutions.
“Jerusalem residents, apparently, are not idiots. They very quickly picked up on who’s backing the candidate from [Tel Aviv suburb] Givatayim, who moved to Jerusalem only two months ago. They understood that he is a puppet candidate for forces larger than him, in this case [Yisrael Beytenu party leader] Avigdor Liberman and [Shas party leader] Aryeh Deri, who sent him to contend for the mayorship, evidently without preparation,” Yerushalmi writes.
Haaretz’s editorial addresses the recent bestowal of Nobel Prizes on ex-pat and resident Israelis. While Prime Minister Netanyahu hastened to laud their accolades as Israel’s, it writes that “it’s hard to draw any parallels between their success and the State of Israel’s higher education system. Rather, it seems their victory highlights trends that arouse fear for the future of academia.”
“A worrying expression of Israel’s neglect of higher education is the ongoing decline in the proportion of students who take the matriculation exam in math at the highest (five-unit) level. This pool of future scientists has shrunk over the last six years from 14 percent of all those who take the matriculation exams to less than 10 percent,” it writes.