Smotrich waves off Moody's decision to lower Israel's credit rating

Finance Minister calls the rating company's decision a 'complete political manifesto' and insists Israel's economy is strong enough to support the war and continue growing

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said Israel's economy was strong, as we dismissed the importance of credit rating agency Moody's decision to downgrade Israel’s credit rating for the first time on Saturday. "The Israeli economy is strong on all metrics. It has the ability to support all the war effort, on the front and in the home front until victory is achieved, and to return to a path of growth. Hamas won’t defeat us, neither militarily nor economically."
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But the Chairman of the Bank of Israel Professor Amir Yaron on Sunday said that the government and the Knesset should take the decision seriously and deal with the professional aspects included in it.
In his response, Smotrich rejected the economic assessments of one of the world's most important and influential rating agencies, claiming that Moody's decision is political and doesn’t include "serious economic arguments."
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בצלאל סמוטריץ' מליאת הכנסת היום ב-124 למלחמה
בצלאל סמוטריץ' מליאת הכנסת היום ב-124 למלחמה
Bezalel Smotrich
(Photo: Danny Shem-Tov, Noam Moskovitch, Knesset spokesperson)
"The announcement is a complete political manifesto based on a pessimistic and absurd geopolitical worldview, reflecting a lack of confidence in Israel's security and fortitude, and likely also a lack of trust in the righteousness of its path against its enemies," Smotrich said.
“Moody's isn’t even capable of defining Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist organizations in its statement, and hints that it would have refrained from downgrading the rating if only Israel had accepted the suicide plan proposed to it by the international community asking to stop the war and establish an Arab terrorist state in Gaza and Judea and Samaria," he wrote.
"We don’t derive our national, security, social, and economic strength from how we’re seen in the world, but from a deep belief in the righteousness of our path, which is based on a glorious past of thousands of years and a commitment to create an even more glorious future. Moody's announcement won’t shake this belief, nor weaken us in the battle for our independence and sovereignty in our homeland.
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ראש הממשלה, שר האוצר ומשרדי סוכנות הדירוג מודי'ס
ראש הממשלה, שר האוצר ומשרדי סוכנות הדירוג מודי'ס
Benjamin Netanyahu, Moody's, Bezalel Smotrich
(Photo: Marc Israel Sellem, Reuters, Noam Moskovitch, Knesset spokesperson)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also responded to the decision to lower Israel’s credit rating in a brief statement on Saturday. "The Israeli economy is resilient. The downgrade isn’t related to the economy; it stems entirely from the fact that we’re at war. The rating will go up again after we’ll win the war," he said.
Chairman of the Knesset Finance Committee Moshe Gafni said the decision was bad for Israel but the economy was strong. "I've said it before and I'm saying it today. Israel knows how to deal with the heavy economic burdens of war and will continue to do so, God willing."
Opposition leader Yair Lapid also addressed Moody’s decision: "The decision to downgrade Israel's credit rating is further proof that this government is dysfunctional and harming the public. For over a year, this government has neglected economic growth, passed a reckless and irresponsible budget, and even during a war, not one of the 38 ministers in the Knesset is working for the benefit of the Israeli economy.”
The Israel Business Forum, comprising hundreds of leaders of major companies in the market that employ most of the workforce in the private sector, commented on the decision to lower the rating: "The lowering of Israel’s credit rating and Moody’s negative outlook on the economy are worrisome and dangerous developments that haven’t occurred in 36 years, even during previous wars and challenges we faced. The downgrade could harm the fundamental component of Israel’s national resilience and the perception of global markets regarding the Israeli economy."
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