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Netanyahu, Smotrich try and stem global economic jitters over judicial overhaul

Carrie Keller-Lynn is a political and legal correspondent for The Times of Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a press conference with Minister of Finance Bezalel Smotrich at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem, on January 25, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a press conference with Minister of Finance Bezalel Smotrich at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem, on January 25, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich hold a press conference to try and reassure global financial players concerned about the impact of a planned judicial overhaul.

“In recent days I have heard concerns about the effect of the legal reforms on our economic resilience, the truth is the opposite. Our steps to bolster democracy will not harm the economy, they will strengthen it,” Netanyahu says.

Netanyahu gives an example of the courts holding up the development of Israel’s gas fields, the Tel Aviv metro and the construction of the Route 6 highway, saying greater deregulation will boost the economy.

“Superfluous legal processes are like sand in the wheels of the Israeli economy,” he says.

The meeting comes as hundreds of Israeli economists published an “emergency letter” warning that the far-reaching judicial shakeup could have grave implications for the economy.

Their warning came the day after Bank of Israel Governor Amir Yaron reportedly outlined for Netanyahu the potential consequences and relayed warnings made by senior economic figures and officials from credit rating firms during his recent meetings at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

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