yaalon office 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Economic motives could provide Israel with its best chance for establishing
positive relations with Egypt once the latter elects its new government, Deputy
Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Tuesday.
“Egypt is struggling to feed
87 million people, and the economic challenge stands before whichever leader is
elected there,” he said. “Will this create an opportunity for the development of
economic relations with Israel? We need to find opportunities, because a change
in the situation can manufacture such opportunities that will influence our
security situation in the future.”
Ya’alon made his remarks during the
opening speech at a conference entitled “The Israeli economy in the shadow of
security threats,” which was hosted by Tel Aviv University’s Yuval Ne’eman
workshop for science, technology and security, headed by Prof. Yitzhak
Ya’alon also referred to the growing boycott, divestment and
sanctions efforts by Israel’s opponents, saying it was imperative that Israel
use all the tools at its disposal to fight the delegitimization campaign being
waged against it in international forums.
“I won’t delude myself that the
retraction [of claims that Israel targeted civilians during Operation Cast Lead
in 2009] by Judge [Richard] Goldstone will prevent those trying to harm us from
continuing to attack us through blood libels.” he said. “[Delegitimization] is a
sophisticated campaign based on lies, but to our misfortune it has been accepted
in the West.”
Kadima leader Tzipi Livni touched on the delegitimization
campaign when she made the closing speech at the conference, saying Israelis
could not afford to make themselves feel better by looking only at recent
positive data on economic growth and unemployment.
“We have to understand
the warning signs that are hanging on the wall, which tell us that the same
process of delegitimization, the same process of isolation, can turn very
quickly from economic isolation into security isolation,” she said.
of Israel Deputy Governor Zvi Eckstein, also speaking at the conference, said
economics textbooks show that a lack of certainty and the risk derived from
public feelings of personal insecurity can affect investment and therefore
damage long-term production.
The state has always faced a dilemma over
finding the right balance between the necessary defense expenditure and
maintaining economic growth, while simultaneously having to pay heed to public
sentiment about short- and long-term security, he said.
presented figures that indicated defense expenditure was relatively low in the
first two decades after Israel’s establishment, but it rose significantly after
the Six Day War in 1967, before peaking at about 35 percent of gross domestic
product just after the Yom Kippur War in 1973.
According to the data he
displayed, even after a gradual decrease in defense expenditure to its current
level of just under 7% of GDP, that expenditure still had a significant impact
on the level of public debt.
The conclusion to be drawn is that Israel’s
debt-insurance costs are very sensitive to changes in the geopolitical security
situation, Eckstein said.