Israel’s DEBT has doubled to nearly $43 billion since declaring war on Gaza
04/18/2024 // Richard Brown // Views

Israel's finance ministry has revealed that the war on Gaza caused Tel Aviv's debt to skyrocket twofold, reaching 160 billion shekels ($42.59 billion).

Of this debt, 81 billion shekels ($21.56 billion) were incurred since the conflict began in October. The total debt in 2023 accounted for 62.1 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), up from 60.5 percent in 2022, mainly due to war-related expenditures and a contracting GDP.

Bank of Israel Gov. Amir Yaron expressed concerns about the negative global sentiment towards Israel's actions in Gaza, warning of potential economic repercussions.

"As the sentiment erodes, then this intangible capital may be damaged, and if it is damaged, it could potentially hurt how investors see us and our capabilities," Yaron said. "And the more there is such an erosion, the better we will have to be, and work harder to compensate for it."

The conflict led to a significant economic downturn, with Israel's GDP plunging by 19.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2023, the most substantial drop since the second quarter of 2020.

Preliminary estimates suggest that the war could cost Israel up to 200 billion shekels ($53.24 billion), with substantial expenses allocated for defense, revenue losses, business compensation, and rehabilitation efforts. (Related: Turkey announces ban on certain exports to Israel until a ceasefire is achieved in Gaza.)

Israeli debt to keep increasing the longer it wages war on Gaza

The ongoing conflict has tested Israel's resilience and economic stability, prompting significant adjustments in its financial strategies.

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Accountant General Yali Rothenberg reflected on the challenges of 2023, noting the necessity for substantial increases in financing amid the conflict. He emphasized the need for strategic adaptations in Israel's debt-raising plans to navigate the uncertainties posed by the prolonged conflict.

Despite these challenges, Rothenberg underscored Israel's remarkable ability to raise considerable debt in both local and global markets. This resilience demonstrates the strength of Israel's economy and its high accessibility to financial markets.

In a testament to Israel's economic resilience, the nation achieved a milestone by raising a record $8 billion in its first international bond sale following the onset of the conflict. This achievement is noteworthy, especially in light of Moody's decision to downgrade Israel's sovereign credit rating to A2 earlier in the year.

Moody's, a company that provides credit ratings, research and risk analysis, cited significant political and fiscal risks arising from the ongoing conflict with Hamas as the primary reason for the downgrade. Despite this setback, the overwhelming demand for Israel's bonds reflects investor confidence in the nation's economic fundamentals.

Israel's debt management strategy in 2023 saw the government raise approximately 116 billion shekels ($30.86 billion) domestically, constituting 72 percent of the total debt raised. A further 25 percent was borrowed overseas, with the remaining funds sourced from local non-tradable debt.

As a result of these efforts, Israel's public debt increased by 8.7 percent to 1.13 trillion shekels ($300.67 billion), partially driven by higher inflation and interest rates.

Furthermore, Israel's expenditure for the years 2023-2024 witnessed a significant increase of 100 billion shekels ($26.61 billion) due to the financial demands of the ongoing conflict.

Israeli lawmakers are also expected to continue spending beyond the government's means. The amended 2024 state budget allocates additional funds to address the escalating costs of the conflict, with the additional funding to be directed toward bolstering defense capabilities and providing compensation to households and businesses adversely affected by the hostilities.

Watch this clip discussing how one night of mass Iranian missile and drone strikes may have cost Israel an estimated $1 billion.

This video is from the 815o channel on

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