Warnings about increasing the defense budget and the head of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange: We may turn into a poor country Warnings about increasing the defense budget and the head of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange: We may turn into a poor country

Warnings about increasing the defense budget and the head of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange: We may turn into a poor country

Warnings about increasing the defense budget and the head of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange: We may turn into a poor country

The CEO of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, Itai Ben-Zeev, accused the Israeli government of failing and encouraging citizens to invest abroad, warning of Israel turning into a “poor country.” Another official of the Federation of Trading Companies also warned of dire consequences for increasing the defense budget.

The CEO of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, Itai Ben Zeev, warned of Israel turning into a “poor country,” accusing the government of failing and encouraging citizens to invest abroad, at a time when the war on Gaza is approaching its sixth month.

Ben Zeev said during an annual conference of the Federation of Traded Companies, yesterday, Monday, that the government “unintentionally” encourages Israelis to send money outside the country instead of investing it at home, according to what was reported by the website of the Israeli business newspaper “Globes.”

He asked: “Will this be beneficial to the people here? Certainly not. Why don’t we embrace the businessmen and investors who live here and support the Israeli economy?”

He continued: "A few years ago, they said that the capital market is a place for the rich. If we wake up after 10 years to find that the money is not here, we will go from a rich country to a poor one," considering this to be a "slippery slope."

He expressed his hope that 2024 would be the year of reform. He said: "There is no shame in doing that and then saying that we failed, but it is important that we try."

In the same context, Ilan Flatow, CEO of the Federation of Companies Traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, warned of the danger of increasing the defense budget due to the war, warning of “serious consequences.”

Flatow recalled the decade following the October 1973 war, when Israel exhausted the budget and “the growth rate in the economy dropped by half or more.”

The $500 billion Israeli economy was damaged during the war on the Gaza Strip, which has been ongoing since October 7, 2023.

On February 19, a preliminary estimate by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics showed that Israel's economy contracted by 19.4 percent on an annual basis in the fourth quarter of last year, affected by the war.

On Monday, the Knesset approved additional taxes amounting to 2.5 billion shekels ($700 million) on Israeli banks over the next two years, as part of legislators’ efforts to find new ways to strengthen the public treasury depleted by war expenses.

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