ISRAEL - Coronavirus Economic Damage 4 Times That of 2008

Arno Froese

The damage from the coronavirus pandemic on the economy to date is about 5% of GDP, four times the damage from the sub-prime crisis of 2008, and similar to the fallout following the dot-com crash of 2001-2003, the Bank of Israel said in its annual report.

The main challenges facing Israel’s economy now are taming the fiscal deficit and restoring unemployment to normal levels, Bank of Israel governor Prof. Amir Yaron said. GDP in 2020 fell by 2.5%, led by a 9.5% in private consumption. Unemployment averaged 15.7% over the course of the year.

“Relative to other economies our situation is quite good, but we have to take control over the large debt, and return unemployment to reasonable proportions,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said upon receiving the report. “This is definitely encouraging, with many challenges and problems, but relative to other Western economies, our situation is quite good, but it must be made excellent.”

Meanwhile, the coronavirus crisis has caused a significant decline in the employment rate and participation of Arab men in the labor market, with a 21% decline in employment and 15% drop in labor participation among Arab men as of January 2021, according to a separate report published by the Finance Ministry. This follows a 5% decline in employment from the beginning of 2018 to about 53.9% at the beginning of 2020. Much of this was due to the decline of about 25,000 Arabs working in the sector’s two main employment industries, industry and construction, the report said., 6 April 2021

Arno's Commentary

Again, we see Israel well-prepared. The nation is the most vaccinated (against Covid-19) globally, followed by the UK, Chile, USA, Bahrain, and Hungary.

Coronavirus-related deaths per 1 million population:

UK 1,895
USA 1,696
Sweden 1,320
Israel 692

Tourism is one of Israel’s major foreign currency earners, at 2.6% of GDP (2017). Although important, it’s relatively small when compared with other countries. The United States has the largest income from tourism, yet it represents only 1.1% of GDP. Israel’s neighbors depend heavily on tourism. 

Egypt 3.3%
Lebanon 14.7%
Syria 15.3%

Covid-19 is a hurdle Israel has overcome successfully. Doubtless, the next pandemic—which may happen quicker than we think—will be equally taken care of. 

Our greatest concern as Christians is the deadly virus spelled S-I-N; that is the real battle. For those who are born-again, it’s not just an issue of eternal life, but eternal reward: “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire” (1 Corinthians 3:13-15).

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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