Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the virtual U.S. State Department Summit for Democracy 2023, which was initiated by US President Joe Biden.
Netanyahu participated in the first session, hosted by the Republic of Korea President Yoon Suk Yeol, on the subject of “Democracy Delivering Economic Growth and Shared Prosperity,” according to a news release from the prime minister’s office.
“I want to thank the world leaders and President Biden, who’s been a friend of 40 years, for convening this important conference. You know, Israel and the United States have had their occasional differences, but I want to assure you that the alliance between the world’s greatest democracy and a strong, proud and independent democracy – Israel – in the heart of the Middle East is unshakable. Nothing can change that,” Netanyahu stated.
“We have worked together, Israel and the United States, to achieve the historic Abraham Accords that made peace between Israel and four Arab states. We are now working together to expand these peace accords further, and they obviously bring increased prosperity to our peoples,” he added.
In addressing democracy, Netanyahu emphasized both freedom and prosperity.
“The topic of this forum is ‘Democracy and Shared Prosperity.’ Now, in my long tenure as prime minister, I’ve had the opportunity – and as foreign minister – I’ve had the opportunity to address both issues,” he said in his remarks.
“Twenty years ago, I led a free market revolution in Israel. Israel was a semi-socialist economy – highly regulated, highly controlled, highly taxed – with very low participation in the workforce, with monopolies, including government monopolies abounding throughout our economy. I proposed changes – radical changes to correct this,” the prime minister continued.
“After these reforms, Israel grew at four to five percent annual growth rate of GDP for two decades. We went from $17,000 GDP per capita to $54,000 GDP per capita according to the IMF. Unemployment went down. Participation in the workforce went up in all sectors dramatically. The Israeli economy has become a player on the global scene, allowing for innovation, enterprise and, of course, participation with many, many other economies and many, many other companies in many countries,” he added.