Exporters Decry Strong Shekel at Emergency Knesset Meeting

YERUSHALAYIM - As the shekel grows ever stronger, so do the warnings from exporters that it will ruin not only them but the whole economy.

In one of the most strongly-worded statements yet heard on the subject, Shraga Brosh, president of the Manufacturers Association, told the Knesset Finance Committee on Tuesday:

“Before manufacturers get used to the weak dollar, the state will have to get by without industry,” Brosh told the committee, according to Ynet.

“The weak dollar and euro present an imminent danger to thousands of factories and tens of thousands of workers who are employed in industry, as exchange rates are a crucial factor in the competitiveness of Israeli industry.”

Israel has lost $1.3 billion in exports since the beginning of 2016 because of the government’s failure to curb the shekel, Brosh claimed. At the start of last year, the shekel was 3.9 to the dollar; today it stands at 3.53.

Brosh praised the Bank of Israel for its foreign currency purchases aimed at stemming the surge in the shekel, but said it cannot do the job alone. “To the BOI’s credit, it is doing its best. Unfortunately, that is something that cannot be said for the government.”

BOI policy has come under fire, however, and not only because it’s been ineffective in recent months. The former director of the BOI’s foreign currency department, Barry Topf, criticized buying dollars as an unwise policy, which serves as a subsidy for inefficient exporters.