Smotrich: Moody's downgrade political

Minister of Finance Bezalel Smotrich credit: Noam Moskovich Knesset Spokesperson
Minister of Finance Bezalel Smotrich credit: Noam Moskovich Knesset Spokesperson

Reacting to the cut in Israel's rating from A1 to A2, Minister of Finance Bezalel Smotrich said the agency's announcement contained no serious economic arguments.

Minister of Finance Bezalel Smotrich reacted this evening to the decision by international rating agency Moody’s to downgrade its sovereign rating for Israel from A1 to A2, with a negative outlook.

"Israel’s economy is strong by every measure. It can support the entire war effort, at the front and at home, until the victory that will be achieved with God’s help and with the heroism of the fighters, and return to a track of accelerated growth.

"Hamas-ISIS set out on the terrible massacre on Simhat Torah with the aim of harming the State of Israel and the Jewish people in soul and body and to wipe them out. Hamas will not beat us, neither militarily nor economically.

"The announcement by Moody’s of the rating downgrade contains no serious economic arguments, and is entirely a political manifesto based on a pessimistic and untenable geopolitical world outlook reflecting a lack of faith in the military and national strength of Israel, and apparently lack of faith in the righteousness of its cause against its enemies. Moody’s cannot even bring itself in its announcement to describe Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist organizations, and implies that it would have refrained from cutting the rating had Israel only accepted the suicidal plan proposed to it by some in the international community to stop the war and set up a terrorist Arab state in Judea and Samaria.

"We do not derive out national, military, social and economic strength from the way we are judged by the world, but from deep faith in the rightness of our cause, which rests on a glorious past of thousands of years and commitment to a yet more glorious future. Even the announcement by Moody’s will not undermine this and will not weaken us in our war for our independence and sovereignty in our homeland.

"I thank the accountant general, the governor of the Bank of Israel, and the other professionals in the Israeli economy for their efforts vis-à-vis the rating agency. Together, with God’s help, we will win, and we will continue to lead the Israeli economy responsibly and with judgment, and navigate it to a safe haven."

In a short statement issued on Friday evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "The Israeli economy is strong. The rating downgrade has nothing to do with the economy; it stems entirely from the fact that we are at war. The rating will rise as soon as we win the war - and we shall win."

Netanyahu came in for criticism from haredi members of his coalition for having issued his statement on the sabbath. United Torah Judaism chairperson and Minister of Construction and Housing Yitzhak Goldknopf said, "The prime minister’s announcement on the credit rating on the sabbath was out of place. This was not a matter of saving life, not an emergency, and not a response that could not have been published after the end of the Sabbath." Knesset finance committee chairperson Moshe Gafni called the timing of the prime minister’s statement "totally unnecessary."

In response to Smotrich’s remarks, the opposition leader on the Finance Committee Vladimir Beliak (Yesh Atid) said, "The minister of finance’s response to the rating downgrade is the response of a ridiculous, deluded, and frighteningly cynical politician, a politician who is causing huge damage to the citizens of the country, and is proud of it. 75 members of Knesset sit with him in the coalition this evening. Anyone who does not demand his removal from the Ministry of Finance this evening, anyone who stays silent and hides, is a full partner in the destruction of value in the Israeli economy."

Democratech, the protest movement among technology companies that sprung up in reaction to the government’s judicial overhaul program, stated, "Contrary to Netanyahu’s promise that at the end of the war the rating will rise, Moody’s explicitly warns in its report that only a responsible economic policy that creates growth engines will help in raising the rating.

"The rating downgrade is an expression of complete lack of confidence in the decision makers leading Israel, and what has led to it is an irresponsible budget, failure to support growth, and the government’s inability to make decisions that will move Israel forward. We call on the government and all its members to set an agreed date for elections so that the people of Israel can choose the leaders who in the coming years will take it to safety on both the security and economic levels."

Published by Globes, Israel business news - - on February 10, 2024.

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2024.

Minister of Finance Bezalel Smotrich credit: Noam Moskovich Knesset Spokesperson
Minister of Finance Bezalel Smotrich credit: Noam Moskovich Knesset Spokesperson
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