(JNS) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday praised credit ratings agency Standard & Poor for maintaining Israel’s AA- credit rating, calling the move a validation of his government’s economic policies.
“Israel’s positive rating has been left unchanged in a challenging period for the global economy,” said Netanyahu in a joint statement with Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich. “It is an expression of confidence in the correct economic policy that we are leading. We will soon pass the state budget in the Knesset in order to ensure our continued efforts to strengthen the economy and fight the cost of living for the benefit of the citizens of Israel.”
There were concerns that S&P might cut Israel’s rating due to the government’s judicial reform plan, after fellow ratings agency Moody’s last month changed Israel’s outlook rating from positive to stable.
The last time that Israel received a “stable” credit rating outlook was in April 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was upgraded to “positive” in April 2022.
Netanyahu and Smotrich called the concerns expressed by Moody’s “natural for those who do not know the strength of Israeli society,” while emphasizing the country’s resilience in overcoming national crises.
“The State of Israel is a strong democracy, and because of that, Israeli citizens hold lively discourse over issues that are the center of controversy in Israeli society, and those are signs of the strength of Israeli democracy,” the ministers said in a joint statement at the time.
Nevertheless, Moody’s also retained Israel’s A1 rating, reflecting the country’s “strong economic growth and improving fiscal strength which Moody’s expects to continue in its baseline scenario.”
Since the right-wing coalition led by Netanyahu came to power at the start of the year and began acting on its legislative agenda in the Knesset, the country has seen massive demonstrations against judicial reform and, more recently, counter-rallies in support of the program.
Following a nationwide general strike on March 27, Netanyahu suspended the proposed legislation in the hopes of reaching a compromise with the opposition during the parliamentary break.
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