Bank of Israel Report: Israeli Economy Healthy

Jerusalem, March 29 – The respected governor of Israel’s central bank delivered his annual report to the government saying Israel was doing well despite the economic challenges facing the world.

“The Israeli economy is in good – if not excellent – shape,”Stanley Fischer said. The economy grew at 4.7 percent in 2011 and the unemployment rate dropped to 5.6 percent - its lowest level in more than three decades.

"A person who wants to work can find work," said Fischer. "The economy is in good shape, but not great shape. Why isn't it great? Mainly because of the global economic situation, which began to deteriorate during 2011. We saw the effect of the crisis in Europe on the level of our exports," Fischer added.

At the short ceremony where he receives the annual report, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged his government is still faced with challenges of economic inequality, but is happy about the growth and unemployment figures.

“This is impressive, especially in light of the fact that in 2011, the global economy was caught up in one of the worst crises it has known,” Netanyahu said when given the report.

Fischer noted that the government had begun to tackle some of the issues that sparked public protests last year, but cautioned that as public debt continued to decline the government had to exercise caution and not overspend.

The Bank of Israel revised its GDP growth forecast for 2012 upwards to 3.1% from its previous forecast of 2.8%, the Globes newspaper reported. The Bank of Israel research department also said that it expects growth to climb to 3.5% in 2013.

The Yisrael Hayom newspaper commented in an editorial that Fischer “enjoys very strong public support as someone who watches over the Israeli economy with balanced and sober eyes, from which derives the faith and admiration toward him." The newspaper noted that Fischer is giving Israel, "a not unrealistic choice, but rather, paradoxically, a real and painful choice: More security and more taxes, or less security and avoiding raising taxes. This is a tough choice in an election year, but it is the one which confronts the thinking public."

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