Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday hosted Mathias Cormann, Secretary-General of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) at his weekly cabinet meeting, saying, “On behalf of the Israeli government, I’m happy to welcome you … and your very distinguished delegation.”
Bennett continued: “Israel’s economy is on a good track. We’re recovering from the latest Covid wave remarkably well with rapid growth as you’re well aware of. This has to do with our decision to keep Israel’s economy open throughout the fourth and fifth wave, while diligently fighting the virus. So we’re not on any extreme; we know the virus is much more than just flu but on the other hand, we’re not in a state of hysteria that we need to close everything.
“We’ve formed our model which is many, many small actions to allow the economy and the conditions for parents to go to work, for children to go to school, for shops to remain open and for life to go on. The result of all of these actions is the remarkable growth that we were talking about last night.
“Israel has got several growth engines. First and foremost, our fantastic hi-tech sector but also our decision to release tens of thousands of young Haredi men into the workforce. And we’re going to have to embrace them and that will be a huge engine because these folks are really smart and when they are injected into the hi-tech sectors and others, we’re going to see a huge boost. The new bridges we’re building in the region—with the Emirates and others— I see this as another engine. A further engine is integrating the Arab sector—the young Arab men and women—into Israel’s economy.
“By and large, the trajectory is good. It’s taking time but it’s good. We’re seeing modernization, better education, but we have a long way to go. If I were an investor, I would definitely invest in Israel.
“But we also have a fair share of challenges. We’ve got to reform the stagnant parts of our economy and we need to increase competition. We don’t have enough domestic competition and that’s always tough because there is always a good reason why you need to slow down on that. And we need to have the courage to take these actions.
“This is a very unique government. It’s no secret that we’re a coalition of eight different parties. The most diverse coalition in Israel’s history and we’re darn proud of it. We’ve got religious and secular; we’ve got Jews and Arabs; we’ve got right and left. And in a very polarized world today, where you see other countries that are paralyzed because of this polarization, Israel is showing an example of how folks with very different ideas, here around this table, can get together to build a much better future for Israel while working through the disagreements.
“I’m looking very much forward to our discussions with your distinguished group and yourself and I’m sure it’s going to be a very successful visit.”
We enclosed some data about Israel from the OECD: