Steinitz: Long-term approach rescued us

"Our approach was based on the idea that in the economy, the future is more relevant to the present status of the economy than the present itself."

311_Yuval Steinitz (photo credit: Tamar Matsafi)
311_Yuval Steinitz
(photo credit: Tamar Matsafi)
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz on Monday attributed Israel’s strong economic growth to the government’s long-term approach to countering the global financial crisis.
“Our approach was based on the idea that in the economy, the future is more relevant to the present status of the economy than the present itself,” he said in the opening speech at the annual Landmark Ventures Israel Dealmakers Summit in Tel Aviv.
Gross domestic product expanded at an annualized rate of 7.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010, a figure that Steinitz admitted could be “too good to be true” for a developed economy like Israel’s.
However, he criticized the Keynesian approach of developed countries that introduced quick-fix stimulus packages in 2009 to counter the financial crisis, saying that his government was correct to implement such long-term measures as the two-year budget it passed for 2011 and 2012.
“I am personally convinced that this is mandatory for all states in all times... but particularly in times of crisis,” Steinitz said of the two-year budget, adding that it was especially important during economic recovery as it displayed confidence and flexibility.
Speaking before an audience made up largely of business and venture-capital leaders, he said the government placed great importance on preserving the advantages of the local hi-tech industry, pointing to the appointment last year of former NICE Systems CEO Haim Shani as director-general of the Finance Ministry.
Steinitz also said his ministry was in talks with a number of multinational corporations, which should lead to the opening of more research and development centers in Israel in the near future.