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      OECD Sec'y-Gen Praises Israeli Economy With Lapid

      In joint press conference, Angel Gurria and Finance Min. Lapid discuss new OECD report on Israeli economy.
      By Yoni Kempinski, Ari Yashar
      First Publish: 12/9/2013, 9:26 AM

      Angel Gurria, Secretary General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) presented a bi-annual report Sunday on Israel's economy to Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid). The two held a press conference in Tel Aviv to discuss the findings.

      At the occasion Lapid remarked "Israel will continue to keep its high growth and fiscal stability." The meeting between the two can be seen here:

      The OECD report found that Israel's economic growth is strong, unemployment is low, the hi-tech industry is among the top in the world, and Israel's health system has given Israelis a high life expectancy.

      However, the report found the average standard of living is low compared to leading OECD countries, and there are on-going environmental challenges.

      The Israeli economy continues to show good performance compared to most OECD countries, even while competition in the market remains a central topic and legislation is being conducted to improve corporate governance.

      Lapid commented "membership in OECD is very important for Israel and helps deal with financial and social challenges." He added that Israel would work on "integration of Haredi-religious into the job market and advancement of national housing plans, in the framework of which 150,000 housing units will be built."

      Gurria said "I support the Israeli government's efforts to keep its deficit goals," adding that he also supports a uniform value added tax rate instead of a differential rate.

      "Israel has a strong economy that needs to be the glue that sticks all parts of Israeli society together. I would be happy if the OECD had additional countries that were managed similarly to Israel," remarked Gurria.

      Yael Andoren, CEO of the Ministry of Finance, said "collaboration with OECD yields positive results including this bi-annual report presenting the strength of the Israeli economy and the challenges it faces. The report shows that OECD supports Israel's growth encouraging financial policy that the Finance Ministry and policy makers have led in the recent months."

      The OECD report comes as the Bank of Israel recently released a report, which found Israelis pay low taxes in comparison with other OECD nations, but the government spends relatively little on public services.

      The Bank of Israel report found Israel is in 26th place out of 32 countries regarding government spending as a percent of national spending, and if compared based on government social spending alone, Israel is in second to last place.