From the time it was created by David Ben-Gurion in 1951, the Israel Bonds organization has provided Israel’s supporters with a rewarding opportunity to strengthen Israel and participate in Israel’s economic achievements. The success of Israel Bonds demonstrates the powerful connection of Jews all over the world to Israel.
This year our priority is the need to support Israel’s recovery from the impacts of the coronovirus pandemic. Every generation – our parents and our grandparent before them – had their opportunity to strengthen and support Israel during a time of need through investments in Israel bonds. This year it is our turn.
As we strive towards attaining our expanded 2020 U.S. goal of $1.5 billion, I want to share information on Israel’s economy. Although Israel, like every country, has faced enormous repercussions stemming from the pandemic, Israel’s economy was robust coming into the crisis. Pre-pandemic numbers tell a significant story: 3.4 percent GDP growth. The lowest unemployment rate in the nation’s history with a concurrent increase in wages. An innovative tech sector that continues to be the primary driver of the economy, accounting for more than half of all exports. Israel is globally recognized as “the innovation nation.”
At the onset of the pandemic, Israel’s government moved quickly to implement a four-point plan: Allocating resources for treatment and containment. Providing a social safety net. Supporting businesses via credits arranged through banks.
Infusing money into the marketplace to boost the economy. The total cost of the plan is projected to exceed NIS 100 billion [nearly $30 billion] about 8 percent of Israel’s GDP.
There are certainly reasons for optimism. First and foremost is the determined Israeli spirit. Throughout its history, Israel has endured adversity and triumphed in every instance. That will be the case this time as well. The pandemic’s impact on Israel will be lower than most OECD countries, with Israel expected to emerge in good shape relative to its peers. For example, in the aftermath of the Great Recession, only a handful of countries successfully reduced their debt to GDP ratio, and the country that reduced it the most was Israel. Even as the outbreak spread, Moody’s, Fitch and Standard & Poor’s all issued “stable” ratings, a huge sign of confidence in Israel’s economy. Israel recently raised capital via two government bond issuances, which included a first-ever 100-year bond. Again, it was an amazing demonstration of confidence in Israel’s economy, this time from investors throughout the world.
From its inception, Israel Bonds has been a dependable and strategic asset for Israel. As a proven safety net, we join as one in our commitment to meet our promise to Israel.
By working together with purpose and resolve, we will succeed. Wishing a safe, happy, prosperous, and most of all healthy 5781 for you, your families and for Israel.
*This is not an offering, which can be made only by prospectus. Read the prospectus carefully before investing to fully evaluate the risks associated with investing in Israel Bonds.
Bradley Young is executive director of Southeast regional office of Israel Bonds.