Israel should focus on closing socioeconomic gaps, says OECD chief

Speaking at a Cabinet meeting, Mathias Cormann praises Israel's economic growth during pandemic and management of fourth and fifth infection waves, adds further growth expected in 2022

Israel should focus on narrowing socioeconomic gaps, boosting competitiveness and increasing the productivity of its economy — the head of the OECD told Israeli lawmakers Sunday.
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  • Secretary-general of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Mathias Cormann — who is currently on his first-ever visit to Israel as head of the organization — spoke during Sunday’s Cabinet meeting, which focused on the economy, tax reforms and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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    ישיבת ממשלה
    ישיבת ממשלה
    OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett during Sunday's Cabinet meeting
    (Photo: Amit Shabi)
    Cormann praised Israel's economic growth over the past decades "as a result of structural reforms [and] effective macroeconomic management," its high-performing technology industry, as well as its skillful management of the last two waves of the pandemic — which enabled the economy to remain open and the country to avoid financially destructive closures and curbs.
    "Israel's successful management of COVID was one of the most advanced and flexible in the world, allowing the economy to remain fully open during the fourth and fifth waves; the country has been an inspiration to others," he said.
    The OECD reported that Israel's economy rebounded strongly in 2021, with an estimated 6.3% growth, driven by the technology sector, and expects further growth in 2022.
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    אנשים מחפשים אוכל בפחים בצל משבר הקורונה
    אנשים מחפשים אוכל בפחים בצל משבר הקורונה
    A woman scouring for food in Tel Aviv during the COVID pandemic
    (Photo: Nadav Eves)
    Cormann said the OECD expects “Israel’s robust economic recovery to continue for this year and next.”
    Israel last week unveiled a $1.3 billion plan to reduce the country's notoriously high cost of living, including tax cuts for working families, child-care subsidies and streamlined regulation to stimulate price-cutting competition for products.
    The plan, whose announcement by the government came amid a planned price hike by local food manufacturers, also includes a reduction in the cost of state-provided electricity and the elimination of customs fees on a range of food imports.
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