November 26, 2010
In the past few years there has been an unprecedented inflow of foreign investment in Israel, as companies that formerly shunned the Israeli market now see its potential contribution to their global strategies. In 2006, foreign investment in Israel totaled $13 billion, according to the Manufacturers Association of Israel. The Financial Times said that 'bombs drop, yet Israel's economy grows'. Moreover, while Israel's total gross external debt is US$84 billion, or approximately 44% of GDP, since 2001 it has become a net lender nation in terms of net external debt (the total value of assets vs. liabilities in debt instruments owed abroad), which as of June 2009 stood at a significant surplus of US$54 billion.
The Israeli economy withstood the late-2000s recession, registering positive GDP growth in 2009 and ending the decade with an unemployment rate lower than that of many western countries. There are several reasons behind this economic resilience, for example, the fact, as stated above, that the country is a net lender rather than a borrower nation and the government and the Bank of Israel's generally conservative macro-economic policies. Two policies in particular can be cited, one is the refusal of the government to succumb to pressure by the banks to appropriate large sums of public money to aid them early in the crisis, thus limiting their risky behavior. The second is the implementation of the recommendations of the Bach'ar commission in the early to mid-2000s which recommended decoupling the banks' depository and investment banking activities, contrary to the then-opposite trend, particularly in the United States, of easing such restrictions which had the effect of encouraging more risk-taking in the financial systems of those countries.
Zair, Tspam, Yehuda, yankeeuxb: don't cry! Reality is much better than your delusions anyway.