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Olmert Quotes Economist: Israeli Economy Best in the World

Speaking to the Cabinet, and later to new immigrants, PM Olmert quoted The Economist as calling Israel's economy the most successful in the world.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 9/8/2008, 5:49 PM

Speaking to the Cabinet on Sunday morning, and to new immigrants arriving on Monday morning, Prime Minister Olmert quoted The Economist as calling Israel's economy the most successful in the world.

At the start of Sunday's Cabinet session, Olmert said that The Economist is "considered the most important economic weekly in the world," and proudly repeated its claim that Israel has the most successful economy in the world.

Olmert did not note the specific issue of The Economist to which he was referring.

"We know that our economy is successful," the Prime Minister added. "The international perspective, when a journal like The Economist presents the Israeli economy as the most successful in the world, is not insignificant."

Olmert praised Finance Minister Roni Bar-On, and "all those involved in guiding the economy" - presumably a reference to Olmert's political rival Binyamin Netanyahu, who was Finance Minister during the previous government when much of the economic growth was registered. 

"I think that this is an exceptional moment," Olmert added. "There have been many situations in the past 60 years in which the Israeli economy has been seen as improving... But never have the most senior, the most  authoritative and the most objective international elements, that have never been known for their over-fondness for the State of Israel, crowned the Israeli economy as the most successful in the world."

Olmert repeated the quote when greeting some 235 new immigrants from the United States at Ben Gurion International Airport on Monday morning. 

Israel's economy grew by more than 5% in 2007, which CNN notes is a higher rate than in the U.S., Europe, UK and Japan.  This year, the economy grew by a 5.6% rate in the first quarter, and 4.2% in the second quarter.

By comparison, the International Monetary Fund predicts that the world's developed economies will grow 1.7% this year.