What a great year for Israel! PM presents govt’s accomplishments for 2013
Israel’s growth in 2013 among highest in the West: 3.3% compared to OECD average of 1.2%. Unemployment among the lowest worldwide, at 6.2% compared to OECD average of 8%. National deficit shrunk from 3.9% to 3.2%. Growth in GDP per capita twice that of other developed countries.
By Shlomo Cesana
In the year since the new government was formed, Israel has invested in connecting its southern and northern regions with the population-dense center, put an end to illegal migration from the southern border and performed well economically, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the Negev Conference in Sderot on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Negev Conference in Sderot on Tuesday – Photo: Dudu Greenshpan
“In the past year, we have built up Israel’s security in the face of regional turmoil and the Israeli economy has continued to grow more than the economies of the world which are still dealing with an economic crisis,” Netanyahu said.
“There has been an impressive series of achievements here especially given the short time in which they have occurred,” he continued. “Some of them are due to the implementation of decisions taken by the previous government. In the coming year, we can expect to see further results of decisions taken by the new government.”
According to the data Netanyahu presented at the conference, the now complete border fence in the south has reduced to zero the number of illegal migrants entering Israel. There is also a steady rise in the number of illegal migrants voluntarily leaving Israel. In February, 1,705 migrants left as compared with 63 in November.
This past year marked the quietest one for the south of the country in the last decade, with only 74 rockets fired.
Netanyahu shared with the crowd that growth in Israel in 2013 was among the highest in the West, at 3.3 percent compared to an average of 1.2% among Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries; Israeli unemployment over the last year was among the lowest worldwide, at 6.2% compared to the OECD average of 8%; and the growth in Israel’s gross domestic product per capita is twice that of other developed countries, at 1.4% compared with the OECD average of 0.7%.
The Israeli national deficit shrunk from 3.9% to 3.2% over 2013, and unemployment among the young was at 12.1% as compared with 16.2% in the United States and 21% in Britain.
Netanyahu announced that Israel’s research and development investments are flourishing, with Tel Aviv ranked second on Startup Genome’s Startup Ecosystem index, right behind Silicon Valley.
In 2013, 12.8 billion shekels ($3.7 billion) were invested in transportation infrastructure throughout Israel to link the Negev and the Galilee with the center. The infrastructure projects include the Golani interchange, the Sderot railway station, widening the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway, the Krayot bypass road in Haifa’s northern suburbs and the Yagur interchange.
This past year also saw a record 3.54 million tourists visit Israel.
Finally, Netanyahu presented the encouraging results of programs created in his previous term in office, including free education for toddlers, which has seen the parents of about 290,000 children from ages three to four enjoy free education.
Another such project is free dental treatment for children under 12, with more than 3 million free dental treatments given.
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