In his televised speeches and interviews, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spreads dire prophecies of doom. He recently spoke of a world crisis, the likes of which has not been seen since the Dark Ages.
At the same time though, Netanyahu expresses his absolute refusal to raise government spending during the coronavirus pandemic, claiming it could cause inflation. A lesson in economics the prime minister learned from the teachings of conservative economist Milton Friedman.
This contradiction should cause concern. Israel is either on the edge of the precipice, heading towards a disaster of biblical proportions, or it is bound by sound economic principles and must maintain a manageable deficit in preparation for better days ahead.
Netanyahu's stance is in contradiction to that of Governor of the Bank of Israel Amir Yaron as well as most of the country's leading experts, and is not just wrong. Under the circumstances, it is outright dangerous and could bring Israel's economy to its knees.
Germany has always been fiscally restrained. It recently announced a 600 billion euro bail out plan, constituting 15% of its GDP.
But it is not only the amount that is important. It is the intent of the government that counts.
A 2008 fund has been reopened for the purchase of stocks and bonds in order to provide credit lines for businesses and prevent mass lay-offs.
Germany's Economic Affairs Minister Peter Altmaier declared there are no lines his government would not cross in order to save the German workers - including buying out failing private companies.
The Trump administration is cooperating with Congress on a relief bill providing for companies and individuals, comprising 20% of the GDP, all to keep the economy on track and assist families and wage earners who are now out of work.
But in Israel, the Netanyahu government is fine with mass layoffs and lost paychecks, lost revenue from exports, loss of pensions and savings, the devastation of the high-tech industry and more – that all could have been averted had there been any aid announced.
Israel's economy is on life support due to the coronavirus and in urgent need of treatment. It must receive assistance and resuscitation relatively akin to the scope demonstrated by the U.S. and Germany, to the tune of NIS 150-200 billion.
Only Netanyahu shows no inclination to advance such a plan. His limit is 1.5% of GDP, just NIS 20 billion. This is one-tenth of what is needed, guided by an obsolete economic theory and the political bind in which he is entangled.
In his effort to cling onto power Netanyahu is committing an unforgivable crime that could kill the patient and for which we will all have to pay.