Shai Babad, director general of Israel’s Finance Ministry, addressed an international audience of Israel Bonds supporters on May 11. Speaking as part of the organization’s ongoing global events series, Babad updated listeners on the severe impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on Israel’s economy.
Having caused “the biggest economic crisis since Israel’s establishment,” Babad explained “the difference was this was not foreseen because there were no (economic) indicators.” He said Israel will ultimately commit NIS100 billion (approximately $28.4 billion) – “the largest economic plan in the history of the state” – for a three-part recovery initiative focused, in priority order, on the healthcare system; helping the unemployed meet basic necessities; and enabling business establishments “to keep their heads above water.”
In noting that “this will be the first time GDP growth will be negative,” Babad said Israel has had to “raise substantial amounts of money, and you, as our partners, are part of this.” He added, “
We always say the Bonds organization is a safety net in times of crisis. Now that the crisis is here, it shows how important Israel Bonds really is.”