Netanyahu: Entrance into OECD a Great Day for the Country

“This is a great day” for Israel, Prime Minister Netanyahu said after the OECD rejected PA objections and unanimously accepted Israel as a member.

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Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu, | updated: 17:54

OECD's Gurria
OECD's Gurria
Israel news photo: Flash 90

“This is a great day” for Israel and for the economy, Netanyahu said after the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) unanimously accepted the Jewish State as a member. The Palestinian Authority suffered a rare political loss in its unsuccessful bid to thwart Israel’s bid.

Israel had been concerned that Norway and Sweden, which strongly support Palestinian Authority demands for becoming a new Arab state within Israel’s borders, might try to block the Jewish State’s bid, but they sided with other member nations in favor of its entry. The OECD stated, “Israel’s scientific and technological policies have produced outstanding outcomes on a world scale.”

Israel’s acceptance is another feather in the Prime Minister’s “economic hat” that he has been wearing since being Finance Minister in the Sharon government. He won wide praise for bringing the country out of the economic doldrums and into a period of unprecedented growth and stability.

The OECD granted Israel “observer status” more than a decade ago, and its efforts to win the coveted position as a full-fledged member culminated Monday. Estonia and Slovenia also were accepted, bringing the total OECD membership to 34 countries.

The new additions “will contribute to a more plural and open OECD that is playing an increasingly important role in the global economic architecture,” OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said.

“This new chapter in the history of the Organization confirms our global vocation as the group of countries that search for answers to the global challenges, and establish standards in many policy fields such as environment, trade, innovation or social issues,” he added.

The new status formalizes Israel’s change from an “emerging” market to a developed market, which has significance in the financial world. “Over the years, the economies of all OECD countries have benefited in one way or another from the transformative effects of OECD membership,” the organization noted.

It said that “will shortly publish an Innovation Strategy to provide policy makers with a comprehensive and cross-cutting policy guidance package setting out the priorities for structural reforms that can accelerate innovation-led growth.”

Proposed reforms will be aimed at combating corruption as well will assuring high standards of corporate management and narrowing gaps in income among sectors.

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz commented, "The announcement of Israel's accession to the OECD is a mark of respect for the Israeli economy.” He said that the OECD “is the most respectable international club a small state like Israel can be accepted into. From what we know about other states, in the years following the acceptance there is a rise of billions of dollars in foreign investments in the state accepted."

A formal ceremony welcoming Israel, Estonia and Slovenia is scheduled at the annual meeting of the OECD Council at ministerial level on May 27 in Paris.  

The Palestinian Authority had told the OECD that granting Israel membership would mean “accepting its occupation of the Palestinian territories.”

Israel's OECD bid also faced resistance from within Israel. Member of Knesset Ahmed Tibi urged OECD members not to let Israel in, arguing that Israel discriminates against its Arab citizens.