UTJ Reps Criticize Netanyahu for Shabbos Response to Moody’s Downgrade

By Aryeh Stern

(Gitty Golds)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu faced criticism from MKs of the UTJ party on Motzoei Shabbos after he issued a statement about Moody’s downgrading Israel’s credit before the end of Shabbos.

It is relatively uncommon for officials to engage in non-emergency state matters during Shabbos.

Rabbi Yitzchak Goldknopf, housing minister and leader of the United Torah Judaism party, expressed dissatisfaction, stating that Netanyahu’s response on Shabbos was “inappropriate” and unnecessary, given that it wasn’t a lifesaving matter or an emergency situation.

MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni echoed the sentiment, questioning the need for Netanyahu’s Shabbos statement and deeming it entirely unnecessary. MK Rabbi Yisrael Eichler labeled it a “disgrace and humiliation for the country.”

Rabbi Gafni, who chairs the Knesset Finance Committee, acknowledged the Moody’s downgrade and expressed concern but maintained confidence in the strength of the Israeli economy, especially during the ongoing conflict with Hamas. He emphasized Israel’s ability to cope with the situation with Divine assistance.

Moody’s downgraded Israel’s credit on Friday due to the impact of the ongoing war against the Hamas in Gaza, lowering it from A1 to A2. The agency also cited the “risk of an escalation” with Hezbollah on Israel’s northern border, resulting in a “negative” outlook for Israel’s debt.

The decision, while expected, raised concerns about the government’s ability to sustain the economy amid increasing debt for the war effort. Criticism has been directed at the hardline coalition for not adjusting funding priorities for the war and maintaining discretionary funds for political allies.

In his statement, Netanyahu downplayed Moody’s decision, attributing the rating downgrade to the ongoing war rather than the state of the economy.

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, in his own statement on Motzoei Shabbos, denounced Moody’s rating as a “political manifesto” reflecting a pessimistic geopolitical worldview, lacking confidence in Israel’s security, national resilience, and the righteousness of its path against enemies.

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