Richard Quest, senior international business correspondent at CNN, warned on Monday of the economic consequences of the judicial reform being promoted by the Israeli government.
Speaking to Channel 12 News, Quest said, “Let’s be quite clear about this: If these measures go forward as planned, there will be an effect. It will be felt. You cannot tinker around, undermine the foundations of a country’s unwritten constitution, based on practice and history, and not expect to have a result. It’s as simple as that.”
He said that the effect will not be immediate but rather take place over time. “Over the next few weeks, the next few months, few years – that investment didn’t come here, that company or that factory or that start-up moved, and bit by bit by bit people will just evaporate away.”
"I was talking with one of the largest venture capital funds in this country, and they say: 'We are already looking at whether we should invest elsewhere,' 'We are already considering this issue, we are not doing anything yet.' Lots of people are not doing anything yet because they think that this thing isn’t going to pass, but there are people who are prepared to move and to do things," said Quest.
"Many people say it's a matter of democracy. That is the core - but there is also the core of judicial certainty. You need to know that if you sign a contract, if you make an investment, if you commit yourself, that the law tomorrow will not have perversely changed from the law today. And these laws being put forward will change that," he claimed.
Asked about the argument that the economists who are warning about the reforms are causing the problem rather than the reform itself, Quest replied, "That’s just a circular argument that it was the economists who did it because the economists’ forecast is ‘The sky is falling! The sky is falling!’ and it wouldn’t have fallen if they hadn’t said it. Absolute [nonsense]. That is absolutely the definition of blaming the messenger for the message. This government clearly was elected and clearly can reform. The problem here is that there is a consensus of opponents, who all say this will be very damaging to the economy."
"The Israeli people have to basically say ‘Do we want to take that risk?’” Quest continued, adding, "Here’s a question for you: Why would you willingly shoot yourself in both feet? This is experts on global economics saying it.”