Finance Minister thanks ICSEP for helping historic market reform
4 Aug ’05
MINISTER OF FINANCE
August 4, 2005
Israel Center for Social and Economic Progress
This week’s passage of an historic capital market reform bill and additional tax reform has set the stage for catapulting Israel’s economy into the 21st century. I want to take this opportunity to thank you and ICSEP for your truly invaluable assistance in helping bring about this important reform.
By shrinking the size of the public sector, cutting taxes, accelerating privatization, de-monopolizing industry, reforming the government pension system and transforming Israel’s capital market, our policies have already begun unleashing Israel’s enormous economic potential. An economy that only two years ago was on the verge of financial collapse, with negative growth and double-digit unemployment and interest rates has turned around. Our economy is now growing by over 4% annually, the unemployment rate has fallen dramatically, interest rates have been halved and the stock market has more than doubled.
ICSEP’s tireless work to formulate concrete and practical reform plans, and its efforts to mobilize public support for these reforms have played a major role in making this turnaround possible. The role you played is even more remarkable in view of the fact that most of the time you alone were actively supporting reform in the face of great opposition.
In particular, I want to commend you on your success at educating a new generation of Israeli students about the critical importance of free markets in building a strong and just society. I was pleased to discover during my lectures to hundreds of your students across the country that these future leaders of Israel have been considerably influenced by your efforts.
While much work remains to be done, I think it is important every once in a while to consider how far we have already come. Thanks in no small part to your work and support, we can look back at these last two years with a great deal of pride, and forward to a future where only the sky is the limit.
With deep appreciation,