Fischer: Peace is vital for Israel's economic health

March 13, 2013 19:30

Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer on Wednesday said that peace was important to Israel’s long-run economic health.

“In the long-run this economy will have to make peace with its neighbors, when everyone is ready for that, which I hope will be sooner rather than later,” he said at the Hertzliya Conference.

“To say there’s no partner is incorrect; it takes two to tango,” he said later in Hebrew, prodding Israel's political leadership to start “tangoing.” Among the reasons peace is important: “I don’t think the defense budget can continue to grow at the rate it has in recent years. We’ll have to find a different way to deal with that problem.”

Peace was one item on a laundry list of long-term issues Israel would need to address. The country’s poverty problem, concentrated in the haredi and Arab sectors, is unsustainable, nor is the 4.2% growth rate among non-working populations, which will double their ranks in 17 years. Education, both high school and university-level, need attention, he said.

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