Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Fischer: Israel doing well, must focus on weak points

Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer speaks at Green Growth conference, says while Israel is doing well, public confidence in government is below average

"We're doing well but we can't just focus on the good side," said Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer on Tuesday at the first Green Growth conference held by Calcalist and the Ministry of Environmental Protection.


Fischer asserts that "environmental indices show that environmental protection is not on the decline in Israel as opposed to the impression we might have".


"Our acceptance into the OECD allows us to measure Israel's environmental protection against international standards, which helps us see ourselves the way the world sees us. Israel's condition is not as bad as people tend to believe and in certain areas – it's even better," he added.


Insofar as adopting the OECD's Better Life Index, Fischer commented: "We can ask people how they feel, whether they're happy. The OECD has an international survey of the world's happiest countries in which places such as Denmark and Canada are ranked high but Israel is in a good place as well.


"The health care system in Israel is excellent; the average life expectancy is among the highest in the world and is relatively high among the men.


"Our GDP is 65% of the US's which is considered higher than that of some poorer countries in Europe. We used to say that we're on a par with Greece. Today, were at the same level as Spain not because of what we have done, rather because what they have done, which is an achievement.


"Long-term unemployment in Israel is relatively low according to the OEDC index. Israel's state of the economy is not too bad."


On education Fischer remarked: "The number of people who have a higher education in Israel is very high. Part of this stems from the immigration from the Soviet bloc.


"People are always seeking more education and this is an impressive fact; however, this is threatened by less than adequate wages paid to elementary school teachers and it's known that our education system has its difficulties".


Another encouraging facts Fischer mentioned the level of happiness and personal security: "The number of reports on mugging or assault were low in the past year, and it's not a myth. I feel just as safe walking the streets in Israel as I do in New York and this is a tremendous achievement for Israel".


'The quality of the air is not so bad'

Fischer then spoke about the "less encouraging news" saying that "public confidence in the government is below average – less than we think. Hopefully in time, the public will come to trust the government more."


Fischer pointed out that the level of satisfaction with the quality of the air in Israel is not high, "which is not in line with the facts. The quality of the air here is not so bad".


Regarding the OECD's policy on environmental issues, Fischer said: "The organization sees the environment as a growth engine, and proposes a full integration of growth considerations and environmental matters in governmental economic growth strategies.


"We are among the countries with the highest taxation on energy use, mainly by vehicles, and still we are recommended to do more. The OECD also proposes a gradual tariff hike on water for agricultural and industrial uses".


In conclusion, Fischer said: "A small country like ours can produce and export a lot of cleantech – this could be a growth engine for the economy".


Click here to read this article in Hebrew



פרסום ראשון: 03.02.12, 14:24
 new comment
This will delete your current comment