Downgrade to Israel’s credit is politically motivated: Finance Minister

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich say that lowered credit rating does not reflect the reality of Israel’s “strong” wartime economy.

By World Israel News Staff

A decision to downgrade Israel’s credit rating, which could impact the country’s economy and investors’ willingness to fund Israeli companies and projects, was described as “politicized” by Israel’s top finance official.

On Friday, U.S. credit agency Moody’s lowered Israel’s rating from A1 to A2.

The “ongoing military conflict with Hamas, its aftermath and wider consequences materially raise political risk for Israel, as well as weaken its executive and legislative institutions and its fiscal strength, for the foreseeable future,” Moody’s wrote in an explanation for the move.

Moody’s also changed Israel’s overall economic outlook from “stable” to “negative,” due to the risk of a conflict in the near future with Lebanese terror group Hezbollah.

But Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich challenged that explanation. He wrote on X that Moody’s decision was motivated by politics, rather than a downturn in Israel’s wartime economy.

“The Israeli economy is strong by all measures. It is capable of sustaining all war efforts, on the front line and home front, until, with God’s help, victory is achieved,” Smotrich tweeted on Saturday evening.

“Moody’s announcement on the downgrade does not include serious economic arguments and is entirely a political manifesto based on a pessimistic and unfounded geopolitical worldview, which reflects a lack of confidence in Israel’s security and national resilience, as well as an apparent lack of confidence in the righteousness of its path in the face of enemies,” he added.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued an unusual public statement on Shabbat making similar remarks about the downgrade. Typically, the premier does not make statements on the Jewish day of rest, except for emergencies.

“The Israeli economy is strong. The rating downgrade is not connected to the economy, it is entirely due to the fact that we are at war,” Netanyahu said.

“The rating will go back up the moment we win the war. And we will win the war,” he added.