First, let me conclude that a long term financial investment in Israel, insofar as it is handled prudently and with sober caution, pays huge dividends to those who trust in Israel's future, abilities and talents -- global investors are indeed showing its confidence in the future of the country by investing in record numbers and in every field.
Second, I realize that 800,000 people are below Israel's own marker of what constitutes a poverty line. Much work has to be done. Concern and care for the poor will always be a top priority and they must not be left behind, but I also believe that it was largely Benjamin Netanyahu economic policies that succeeded in stopping a dangerous trend of moving from privatization to a EUro-like welfare state. The best way out of poverty (imho) is the freedom to work using your God given talents and grow your way out of poverty.
The Israeli economy is doing extremely well, and the strong macroeconomic conditions set forth by Netanyahu will make Israel's prospects for continued growth quite strong, "notwithstanding political uncertainties and the latest hostilities," declared the International Monetary Fund report that's follows.
And now on to the IMF Executive Board, which Concludes 2006 Article IV Consultation with the State of Israel.
From news article:
● Inflation stays within the 1-3 percent target range set by the Central Bank (Prof. Stanley Fischer,vice chairman of Citigroup was called by Netanyahu to become governor of the Bank of Israel, hails from New York)
● Unemployment will drop from 8.6 percent to 8.2 percent - much better than the EU as a whole
● The rate of growth in exports of goods and services is expected to increase to 5.2 percent in 2007 -- much better than the US
● Government debt, as a percentage of GDP, will continue to decline. Having dropped significantly between 2004 and 2006, from 100.9 percent to 88.0 percent, the decline is expected to be more moderate in 2007, to 86.5 percent.
I think tourism was a disapointment. 2006 started off well hopes were dashed by the war in Lebanon. The tourism industry in 2007 hopes to return to the record numbers of 2005.
Sure, the Israeli eletorate continues to debate income distribution and set forth policies that brings equity and justice to the less fortunate, but overall, I think we're looking at an Israeli economy that is blessed and should continue to do well for the long-term.