Steinitz with OECD chief
Photo: Sharona Mazlian-Levy
The Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD) accepted Israel into its ranks Monday during a vote, as its 32nd member.
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, currently in China, received an unofficial message from the organization, and an official statement will be made in Paris in the afternoon.
The official invitation is to be handed to Steinitz at a convention of the OECD's finance ministers in Paris at the end of the month. Slovenia and Estonia were also accepted as members Monday.
"The significance of this is huge and that is why, as a matter of fact, I decided to treat it as a top priority 10 months ago and enter into a special program to introduce Israel into the organization at a peak time," Steinitz told Israel Radio.
"It is the most respectable international club a small state like Israel can be accepted into," he added. "From what we know about other states, in the years following the acceptance there is a rise of billions of dollars in foreign investments in the state accepted."
Steinitz said Israel was being accepted into the club responsible for dictating the world's financial guidelines. "There is also a political gain here. We are receiving a stamp of approval… that Israel belongs to the world's most advanced and developed countries, and not just financially – in civil rights, a clean and independent court system, regulations, equality, and steps to eliminate discrimination," he said.
Manufacturers Association President Shraga Brosh issued a pleased response saying that "Israel's membership with the organization constitutes a label of quality."
Treasury chief Haim Shani said, "The joining of Israel to the organization points to the trust companies have in Israel's economy and solidity. I believe the new membership will help Israel's society and economy progress, attract foreign investors, and develop the market."