Israel’s per capita gross national product (GNP) has reached $40,000, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said in a speech Tuesday morning – almost as high as Japan’s. “In two or three years we will pass Japan’s per capita GNP,” Netanyahu said.
The Prime Minister was speaking at a conference sponsored by the Makor Rishon newspaper in Tel Aviv, and in his remarks he emphasized Israel’s economic strength. “In recent years we have made enormous investments in our economy, and the results are there for all to be seen. It’s no accident that Israel’s economy is blooming, while those of the countries around us are falling apart.”
Keeping the economy strong means keeping it as bureaucracy-free as possible – quite the opposite of what his political rivals have in mind for the economy, Netanyahu said. Commenting on the approach of Zionist Camp MK Amir Peretz – one of the candidates in Tuesday’s Zionist Camp primaries – Netanyahu said that he had “heard that Peretz spoke to economists who said that if Israel does not raise taxes, the economy will go into a deficit. The people will make up what the government spends.”
That’s the wrong approach, said Netanyahu. “In order to maintain economic security you must have a policy that promotes economic growth. You need more free enterprise – not completely free, but more free than not. I would like to open up our economy even more to entrepreneurs. Encouraging entrepreneurship is the great challenge of the Israeli economy,” the Prime Minister added.