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Smotrich against Moody’s: Their announcement does not include serious arguments

Finance minister comes out against the downgrade of Israel’s credit rating and the negative forecast

 
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich speaks during a joint press conference with Yitzchak Goldknopf, Minister of Construction and Housing and Minister of Interior Moshe Arbel in Tel Aviv on February 4, 2024. (Photo: Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich spoke out on Saturday against the downgrading of Israel's credit rating by Moody's and claimed that the company's announcement "does not contain any serious economic arguments and is all a political manifesto."

Moody's announced a downgrade of the credit rating of the State of Israel to the level of A2 (from the level of A1) with a negative forecast, i.e. a forecast that estimates that the rating is likely to drop again soon.

In a statement issued by the Finance Minister's office, it was stated that "the Israeli economy is strong by all indicators. It is capable of supporting all the war efforts, on the battlefront and the home front, until the victory that will be achieved with the help of God and the bravery of the soldiers, and to return to an accelerated growth path."

Smotrich added: "Hamas-ISIS embarked on the terrible massacre on Simchat Torah to harm the State of Israel and the Jewish people in body and soul and bringing about their annihilation. Since then, they and the entire world have encountered a unified Israeli heroism with the ability to endure and the determination to destroy the evil and re-enlighten the good in Israel and the world. Hamas will not defeat us, neither security-wise nor financially."

The minister panned the company's decision.

According to Smotrich: "Moody's announcement on the downgrade does not include serious economic arguments and is a political manifesto entirely based on a pessimistic and unfounded geopolitical worldview, reflecting a lack of confidence in Israel's security and national resilience, and apparently also a lack of confidence in the righteousness of its path in the face of its enemies. Moody's is not even able to define Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist organizations in its announcement, implying that they would have avoided the downgrade if only Israel had accepted the suicide plan offered to it by elements in the international community to stop the war and establish an Arab terrorist state in Gaza and Judea and Samaria."

Smotrich concluded: "We do not derive our national, security, social and economic strength from how we are judged in the world but from a deep belief in the righteousness of the path, which is based on a glorious past of thousands of years and a commitment to an even more glorious future. Moody's announcement will not undermine this nor weaken us in the war for our independence and sovereignty in our homeland."

The company Moody's explained that the main reason for the downgrade was based on the assessment that the war with Hamas, both now and after its end, substantially increases the political risks in the State of Israel, weakens the legislative and executive authorities and harms the economic resilience of the country in the foreseeable future. The decision also stems from the fact that at the moment there are no concrete and executable plans for the day after the war.

Moody's positively noted the ruling that canceled the legislation to nullify the reasonableness clause, as well as the social solidarity that Israeli society has demonstrated since the start of the war.

Goldknopf against Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to Moody's announcement on Saturday evening: "Israel's economy is strong. The downgrade is not related to the economy, it is entirely due to the fact that we are at war. The rating will go back up as soon as we win the war – and we will win."

On Sunday, the United Torah Judaism party chairman criticized him for issuing the announcement on Shabbat.

Minister Goldknopf criticized Netanyahu: "The Prime Minister's announcement on Shabbat regarding the credit rating was out of place. This is not a matter of saving life, not an emergency issue, and not a response that could not be published after Shabbat."

Knesset Member Yisrael Eichler joined the criticism: "The Sabbath is the source of blessing. When we keep Shabbat, G-d we will keep us. To publish announcements on Shabbat on the credit rating of economic propaganda agents, and to desecrate the Shabbat that is trampled on every street, is a disgrace and humiliation of the state."

Written by KAN 11 correspondents Liel Kyzer and Dana Yarkechy.

Kan.org.il is the Hebrew news website of the The Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation

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