Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this morning (Sunday, 3 April 2016), made the following remarks at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting:
"A short while ago I received the annual report from the Governor of the Bank of Israel. The economy is at full employment; unemployment is at what they call 'an historic low.' This is good news. As a result of this, real wages have risen considerably and will rise in other sectors as well. Several days ago, the salaries of police officers rose by between 30-50% of the base salary, and wages have risen for Israeli citizens as a whole, and this is important. We also see a moderate decline in inequality. We still have much work to do here, but overall this is good news.
The key to the future depends on growth. It must be understood that everything that we want to achieve vis-à-vis budgets, services and improving infrastructures, everything that is important for a citizen, requires growth.
Last week we did something very big for growth. We began talks on a free trade agreement with China. This has been a goal for the State of Israel for many years. It has the potential for very significant growth in exports. At the same time, we are talking with Japan about a most favored nation trade agreement with the State of Israel. I and the entire government are working to open Asian markets for the Israeli economy. This is a significant – I would even say historic – change.
And indeed, while such growth will be by opening export markets, it also depends on extracting the gas from the sea. This will give us many years of growth and will bring many billions into the Israeli economy, for the welfare of Israel's citizens. We will not give up on the matter.
One of the reasons why the Israeli economy is not making full use of its potential is because there are excessive standards, bureaucracy and regulation. This excess is passed on to the consumer in the form of higher prices for services and, of course, we are dealing this today. We will make a series of decisions today that will greatly simplify the establishment of standards in the State of Israel and will also allow the elected government to govern. We were elected in order to bring results to the citizen. We need the best tools to do this. In the end, we are tested by results, not by bureaucracy."