Israel might not have words to the effect of “In God We Trust” on its currency (though some want to change that), but the current national religious government is most definitely looking to the Almighty to safeguard the Jewish state’s economy.
And that little mix of faith with its economic policies, among other reasons, has the largely secular opposition declaring Israel’s doom.
Credit score downgrade
The world’s leading credit ratings agency Moody’s on Friday downgraded Israel’s economic outlook from “positive” to “stable.” Analysts there said the downgrade was due to a “deterioration in governance,” and referenced the internal strife gripping the nation over the government’s proposed judicial reform.
It’s important to note that Moody’s new economic outlook still gives Israel a relatively high “A1” rating, citing “strong economic growth and improving fiscal strength” and noting Israel’s “proven resilient to many economic and geopolitical shocks over the past decades.”
But that didn’t stop opposition parties from responding to the announcement by howling that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s policies were destroying the State of Israel from within.
This is an “economic earthquake,” insisted Yisrael Beiteinu party leader Avigdor Liberman. Israel’s credit rating was also lowered to A1 during the Corona crisis, and quickly rose following the pandemic.
Opposition leader Yair Lapid was more verbose:
“The announcement… is proof that the [Netanyahu] regime endangers the livelihood of every Israeli citizen. The lies and attempts to blame others will not help in this case. The facts are clear: The government I led handed them a strong and prosperous economy, and under the watch of [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and [Finance Minister Bezalel] Smotrich, everything is falling apart.”
Lapid was prime minister for less than six months.
In God we trust
The opposition was even more irked by Netanyahu’s response to the Moody’s decision, which appealed to heaven, and Israeli resilience, to protect the Jewish state from an economic downturn.
“Israel’s economy is stable and solid and with God’s help, it will remain so,” read a statement issued on Saturday. “As those who believe in the strength of Israeli society, its unity, and its ability to overcome disputes and crises, as we have done many times in the past, we are convinced that with God’s help, it will be so this time as well.”
Netanyahu and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich were incessantly mocked on social and mainstream media in Israel for mixing faith and politics. But their approach resonates with a growing number of Israeli Jews.
There is a widening rift between those who want Israel to first and foremost be a Jewish state dedicated to the biblical covenants, and those who demand Israel conform to the progressive, pluralistic trends of most other liberal nations in the West.
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