130 top economists warn gov't policy endangers Israel's existence

Knesset plenum credit: Amos Ben-Gershom GPO
Knesset plenum credit: Amos Ben-Gershom GPO

In a harshly worded letter, the economists slam policies that impose a heavier economic and military burden on one part of the population as unsustainable.

130 of Israel's most senior economists today published a harsh letter firmly warning that government policy is leading the country towards an abyss and endangering its very existence. This, the economists say, is due to the combination of increasing the burden of the military reserves on the working population, continued budgeting of haredi education institutions that do not teach core studies, and continued exemption from conscription for a growing part of the population.

"Making the economic and security burden heavier for parts of the public in Israel, and the evasion of that burden by a growing proportion of the population, are not sustainable processes, especially in the difficult security reality that the State of Israel is facing," the economists write in their letter, adding, "Without a change in the existing course, these processes endanger the existence of the state."

According to the economists, if the current trend continues, many of those who bear the economic and security burden will prefer to emigrate from Israel, and precisely the most educated and skilled will be the first to leave. The population that will remain will be less productive, and the burden on those remaining will increase, which will lead to a vicious circle of migration and deterioration. This "spiral of collapse" process will specifically harm the haredi sector, which depends on public funding.

"The clear danger"

"Once the population bearing the burden concludes that the State of Israel has embarked on an irreversible course, the national collapse will come," the letter's signatories warn. They call on the state's leaders to urgently adopt a strategy that will return Israel to a sustainable path, which includes reforming the haredi education system and ending incentives for non-work, reducing disparities in the security burden, and constitutional changes that will anchor liberal rights.

"The danger is clear and basic risk management requires the immediate adoption of a strategy that will return Israel to a sustainable path," say the economists. "This is a genuine alarm. History will not forgive the country's captains - from all ends of the political spectrum - if they stand against it."

Among the letter's signatories are Prof. Eitan Sheshinski, Prof. Manuel Trajtenberg, Prof. Avi Ben-Bassat, Prof. Danny Ben David, Dr. Michael Sarel, Prof. Momi Dahan, Prof. Itai Ater, Prof. Omer Moav, Prof. Leo Leiderman, Prof. Amir Barnea, Prof. Yossi Spiegel, and former senior government officials like David Brodet, Keren Terner, Shaul Meridor, Prof. Udi Nisan, Prof. Michel Strawczynski, and Roni Hizkiyahu. They are unanimous that an urgent awakening is needed to save Israel's economy and society from future collapse.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on May 28, 2024.

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2024.

Knesset plenum credit: Amos Ben-Gershom GPO
Knesset plenum credit: Amos Ben-Gershom GPO
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