Changing the narrative

“With GDP growth averaging nearly four percent since 2003, Israel is consistently one of the strongest performers in the OECD.”

By
March 26, 2016 22:22
3 minute read.
money

Shekel money bills. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Investing in Israel bonds is an expression of confidence in Israel’s modern- day economy, which has proven, on a global scale, to be among the world’s most resilient. As other economies falter, Israel’s remains strong, and more and more investors – Jewish and non-Jewish, individual and institutional – have come to realize and appreciate the value of Israel bonds as important additions to financial portfolios.

The fact that annual US sales alone have exceeded $1 billion for each of the past three years underscores this point.

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Underpinning the sales is the fact that at Israel Bonds, we have changed the narrative from the geopolitical to the economic – a concept that has resonated with investors of all kinds who want to become stakeholders in Israel’s robust economy.

This past January, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Secretary General Angel Gurría paid an official visit to Israel. He declared, “With GDP growth averaging nearly four percent since 2003, Israel is consistently one of the strongest performers in the OECD.”

That same month, Israel announced its debt-to-GDP ratio – a key indicator of the health of a nation’s economy – had decreased for a sixth consecutive year, and now stands at 64.9%. This success, which has been achieved by only one other country over the same time span, earned Israel widespread praise from ratings agencies and financial analysts.

Moody’s, for example, hailed this achievement by stating that “Israel is one of the few advanced countries that has a lower debt-to-GDP ratio now than before the global financial crisis.”

TO SKEPTICS who point to the current instability in global financial markets and question Israel’s ability to sustain economic growth in such an environment, here is the answer, straight from a Standard and Poor’s report issued in February: “We expect the Israeli economy to weather potential volatility in the global economy and international financial market, thanks to its diversified economy, strong external position, and flexible monetary framework.”



As president & CEO of Development Corporation for Israel/Israel Bonds, I am proud that our organization is playing a substantive role in Israel’s ongoing economic success. Fitch highlighted the importance of the Bonds organization in October, noting Israel’s “financing flexibility is high, with deep and liquid local markets, access to international capital markets and an active diaspora bond program.”

Fitch’s singling out of the Israel Bonds program underscores the fact that the organization is widely recognized as a dependable, valued and strategic asset for Israel. Furthermore, the Bonds organization has taken on the additional strategic role of countering the tactics of the Boycott Divestment/Sanction (BDS) movement.

There are many ways of standing up to BDS. One of the easiest is to buy Israeli products. Every supporter of Israel should buy blue and white for themselves, and for others, whenever possible. Another is to support companies targeted by BDS activists. A third means is investing in Israel bonds, which strikes at the heart of BDS, because Israel bonds are a direct counterweight to the movement’s goal of crippling Israel’s economy.

Moreover, BDS tentacles have spread across college campuses, which have become a hotbed of anti-Israel activism.

This disturbing phenomenon can be countered by investing in Israel bonds and then donating the bonds to universities.

This would have the desired effect of frustrating BDS activists on two levels.

First, it repudiates efforts to achieve college boycotts of Israel by decisively connecting the institution with the Jewish state. Second, as previously stated, investing in Israel bonds disrupts the BDS movement’s foremost goal of harming Israel’s economy.

Finally, although the Israel Bonds organization is a brokerage firm, it is, first and foremost, a brokerage firm with a Jewish heart. It is my strong belief that a forward-looking Israel with a strong economy equates to a proud Jewish people with heads held high.

Our efforts on behalf of Israel’s economy are driven by a shared sense of pride and purpose. We are resolute in our determination to secure ever-greater numbers of stakeholders in Israel’s economy. It is readily apparent that the Israel bond supporters across the globe who have invested in Israel’s economy since the first bonds were issued in 1951 wholeheartedly agree.

The author is president & CEO of Development Corporation for Israel/Israel Bonds.

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