ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 142

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Finance Minister Smotrich says Moody’s downgrade of Israel’s rating unreasonable, politicized

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich speaking at the Israel Defense and Security Forum in Ashkelon on January 25, 2024. (Daniel Starbo/ Courtesy)
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich speaking at the Israel Defense and Security Forum in Ashkelon on January 25, 2024. (Daniel Starbo/ Courtesy)

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich brushes off Moody’s downgrading of Israel’s credit rating, saying the decision linked to the Gaza war was not based on sound economic reasoning and claiming that the agency’s report is a pessimistic “political manifesto.”

Speaking to Channel 12, he says “the Israeli economy is strong by all measures.”

“It is capable of sustaining all war efforts, on the frontline and home front, until, with God’s help, victory is achieved,” he says in a response to the decision published on Friday.

He urges Israelis to read the report and says Moody’s actually “praised the Israeli economy” and the recent economic steps it has taken on the budget.

He claims the “75-76 economists in New York are handing downgrades on whether we agree to a ceasefire or not, [and whether] we are willing to set up a Palestinian state or not, and decided to downgrade our rating because we have, so far, not done so.”

“Absolutely unreasonable,” he says.

“They downgraded [our rating] because they don’t believe in Israel’s direction in the war. They won’t even describe Hamas as a terror organization,” he says, adding that Moody’s refused Israel’s request to do so.

The downgrade, he charges, is “political, geopolitical.”

The Israeli economy is responding “outstandingly,” he says. The Finance Ministry has been “pleasantly surprised by the economic activity, the market… growth is rebounding.”

In a separate written statement, he called Moody’s decision a “political manifesto that is based on a geopolitical, pessimistic, and unreasonable worldview.”

He again charged that Moody’s refused to label Hamas and Iranian proxy Hezbollah as terror organizations and claimed that the agency “hinted that it would have avoided the downgrade if only Israel would accept the suicidal outline [for a ceasefire] offered by the international community.”

He said Israel does not draw its strength by how “how it is judged in the world, but through a deep belief in the righteousness of its path.”

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