Press Release

IDI Hurvitz Conference: More must be done to meet the moment, economically and militarily


The Israel Democracy Institute's (IDI) Eli Hurvitz Conference on Economy and Society opened with remarks by the President of the State of Israel Mr. Isaac Herzog, who set the stage for the day. The morning's panels then convened top economic and innovation experts from within government as well as academia and the private sector, including a panel on budgetary frameworks and priorities for the State of Israel and a panel on the capital market and a source of financing for rehabilitation and growth. We ask that you kindly note in your articles that these remarks were given at the IDI's Eli Hurvitz Conference.

The conference continues this afternoon with sessions on the ultra-Orthodox military service and the challenges of the civil service sector (in Hebrew). Click here to watch the livestream, and keep an eye on IDI's X (formerly Twitter) for real-time updates and quotes in English.


President of the State of Israel Mr. Isaac Herzog: “I want to discuss the effects [of the war] on the economy, because it’s about time we dealt with that too. Rehabilitating the communities in the North and in the South, the absence of reserves soldiers from the workforce, the skyrocketing and necessary security expenses in the present and in the future, the threats looming over investments in Israel and the changes in international commerce as a result of the war... and these present significant challenges before the  country, the government, and of course before the economy, the business sector, policymakers and every household in Israel.”

U.S. Ambassador to Israel Jack Lew, on the recent developments with the ICC: “As President Biden and Secretary Blinken made clear, the United States rejects the notion that we can compare the actions taken by the democratic government of Israel with the actions of a terrorist organization that is fighting in the way that created the conditions in Gaza. They have not only taken hostages, but they are still holding them…We are not saying that there are no concerns about the humanitarian situation—we are doing everything in our power to ensure humanitarian assistance is making it to Gaza. Since I've been here, I don't think a day has gone by that I haven't worked with either the Prime Minister or Defense Minister or their closest aides on how to get humanitarian assistance to starving people. More can be done to deal with this extraordinary problem, but it is important to remember where this crisis started, with Hamas.The idea that there is anything comparable about the actions taken by these two parties--we simply reject that. It is shameful, and it is a disgrace.”

Ambassador Lew also discussed shared values between the US and Israel: “US support for Israel is fundamentally rooted in a relationship of 75 years that remains ironclad. Beyond this, there are other reasons for us to feel strongly it is important for Israel to defeat Hamas. One of the reasons is to prove the way that Iran is attempting to project power in the region - with militant groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, the Houthis - is not acceptable in the region or anywhere in the world. The defeat of Hamas is very important. How you get there, how you declare you’ve achieved it, there can be different points of view on this, but there’s no doubt that it must be achieved.”

Prof. Karnit Flug, IDI VP of Research and former Bank of Israel Governor: “We are at a point in which the potential damage from a lack of an economic policy response [to the war] is enormous. The absence of decision-making, or the making of inappropriate decisions while putting off problems to the future, raises doubts as to the economy's ability to recover. To meet the challenges, what is required is a profound change in the priorities in the budget.” Click here to read an analysis published by IDI on new budgetary priorities.

Shlomi Heizler, Director General, Ministry of Finance: “The events of October left no room for doubt that the state of Israel needs a strong military. This means we need more combat soldiers to protect the country and its citizens. It goes without saying that if there is not an increase in the number of IDF soldiers, the economic burden on the State of Israel, and on reserve soldiers, in particular, will be huge. In our complex reality, there is no doubt that it is an economic necessity for the entire population--all sectors of society-- to bear this burden.”

Yogev Gardos, Budgets Director, Ministry of Finance: In addressing how to meet our economic and defense needs during the war, he noted: “The solution must come from that 50 percent of society--the populations who are currently minorities, but in a few years will become a majority. We need more people to bear the security and economic burdens an, and this is where Integration of Haredi and Arab society is of critical importance as we grapple with how to bear the economic and security burden facing society-- whether we will be successful in integrating Arabs into national service or solving the crime problem is yet to be seen. But, when it comes to the economy, as with war - together, when we are all united, we will win."




The annual Eli Hurvitz Conference on Economy and Society—formerly the Caesarea Economic Policy Planning Forum—is widely recognized as Israel's most influential economic conference. Inaugurated in 1993 as Israel’s first major policy forum, the conference was originally conceived by Finance Minister Avraham "Beiga" Shochat and IDI founder Dr. Arye Carmon as a forum for policymakers, business leaders and academic experts to debate national policy priorities ahead of the passage of Israel’s annual budget. Each year, the Conference examines Israel's macro-economic policy and focuses on other key issues, which have included environmental policy, inequality, the war on terror, globalization, education, transparency, and local government.