Speed Dial: Benjamin NetanyahuBy and
Israel's economy has performed impressively—4 percent growth....
Five percent, actually.
O.K. So what does Israel do to protect itself from economic turmoil elsewhere?
There is a tremendous opportunity to generate internal reform independent of what's happening in the global marketplace. Our 5 percent growth, for example, did not take place in real estate and construction. It's virtually impossible to build anything in Israel. Just by making the availability of land and the planning of construction easier, we can get an additional 1 to 2 percent growth a year for the next 10 years, independent of the U.S. and China.
You also have ambitious rail and road plans.
We've just decided on investing 27 billion shekels on fast roads and on expanding our rail system. We're cutting through a lot of red tape to do it. Slashing bureaucracy is one of the few pleasures I derive from public life.
There are estimates that a successful peace effort with the Palestinians could add to growth.
There is potential. Some of our peace partners have not fully appreciated the possibilities of economic growth for them. Economic peace benefits all parties. In the West Bank we've removed over 400 roadblocks to facilitate the movement of goods and people in the Palestinian Authority economy. That's been one of the factors behind their impressive growth. It's over 8 percent. That's made a world of difference.