Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this morning received the 2011 Bank of Israel Annual Report from Bank of Israel Governor Prof. Stanley Fischer and made the following remarks:
"The Israel economy grew by 4.7% last year. This is impressive, especially in light of the fact that in 2011, the global economy was caught up in one of the worst crises it has known.
The Israeli economy grew more than most Western economies, almost 2.5 times the OECD average. Additionally, unemployment in Israel dropped to its lowest level since 1983. In contrast to the collapsing economies around us, Israel's credit rating was upgraded last year.
As I do every year, I promise to closely study this report. However, from a first glance, I agree with the assumption that the results of implementing the free education law will be felt and will improve the situation for families in which both parents work and especially those in which the mothers work. I am encouraged by the increase in the employment rate among ultra-orthodox men even if there is still a long way to go on this issue.
I was especially pleased by item in the report according to which the dimensions of inequality have not only stabilized in recent years but have registered a modest decline, in continuation of the downward trend regarding poverty. These are major challenges that my Government is faced with.
Regarding infrastructures, I think that this Government is doing considerable work. It has invested NIS 27.5 billion, of which NIS 10.7 billion was invested last year alone. From here I am going to lay the cornerstone of the new interchange at Golani junction. This is the kind of event that I enjoy most – seeing how we are bringing the Negev and the Galilee closer to the center of the country.
Finally, I would like to say that I am already looking toward next year's report. I can assume that in the report which you will present here next year, you will certainly be able to point to the economic contribution that will have been achieved thanks to the precedent-setting agreement on transparency in the security budget, the Government's handling of the contract workers issue, which you refer to in this report, the implementation of the free education law, etc."