INTRODUCTION | CHALLENGES & ACHIEVEMENTS | MAJOR REFORMS | NATIONAL ECONOMY | ECONOMIC PICTURE | ECONOMIC SECTORS
The date of May 10, 2010, will remain a remarkable milestone in Israel’s economic history. After years of struggling against pressures and challenges of all kinds, Israel has finally joined the ranks of the world’s foremost economies, as it was granted membership in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the OECD.
The country’s accession to the OECD will have substantive effects, as Israel is committed to the organization’s regulations governing sectors ranging from the environment to the pension market. Indeed, the accession process pushed Israel to make fundamental changes befitting a modern economy, including reduction of Israel’s debt, maintaining fiscal and development policies, cutting taxes and making the capital market more sophisticated.
OECD membership will allow Israel greater access to certain types of managed investment funds, which are required to reserve a proportion of their holdings for developed countries.
But the true significance of Israel’s OECD membership is the recognition by the world economy of the tremendous progress that Israel has made during its 62 years of existence.
The shekel, Israel’s unit of currency (valued at $0.26 in July 2010), was known as early as the second millennium BCE as a unit of weight for means of payment in gold and silver. It is recorded in the Bible that Abraham negotiated the purchase of a field "and a cave that was therein," at Machpela (in Hebron) saying: "I will give thee money for the field; take it of me, and I will bury my dead there. Ephron, the land-owner, replied: the land is worth four hundred shekels of silver… and Abraham weighed to Ephron four hundred shekels of silver, current money with the merchant." (Genesis 23:13, 15-17)