Israel’s economy is doing well compared to other industrialized nations but there is still room for improvement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday in his remarks before the weekly cabinet meeting.
The economy is in a “pretty good situation,” the prime minister said, and noted that Israel’s “growth is among the highest among developed countries, unemployment is among the lowest in the world and Israel is implementing many good things according to other indices as well, including health in which we are ranked very high.”
Netanyahu noted that Angel Gurría, secretary-general of the OECD, is in the country and had met with the prime minister to discuss Israel’s high-tech economy.
“Gurría played a very important role in Israel’s entry into the OECD,” Netanyahu said, adding that Israel’s participation in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development “gives us objective criteria by which to compare the Israeli economy and Israeli society to other countries, and to find ways to improve what needs improving.”
Netanyahu said that the country still needs to work to close “income gaps,” which are wider than those of other developed nations, partially due to “non-participation of parts of our population — the ultra-Orthodox and the Arabs,” who “must be integrated into the Israeli labor force.”
Over the last decade, Israel’s economy “has greatly improved” and ”has overtaken” many other OECD countries. “We made greater progress than they did and we must ensure that this trend continues in the coming decade,” Netanyahu said.
Israel must create new avenues for “people to participate and benefit from growth,” he said. “Creating growth is the critical thing that we are committed to,” he continued, and called for continued reform in the education system so that Israeli students can be competitive in international tests and rankings.
An OECD report released last week showed that Israeli education has improved in recent years but still lags behind most developed countries.
Israel joined the OECD in 2010, becoming the 34th member of the organization.