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Intifada Success: More bad news for the Israeli economy

Al Wilayah
July 4, 2002


Isr**li officials continued to draw a bleak picture of the Isr**li economy despite constant efforts by the government to encourage growth and create jobs.

Former Isr**li Prime Minister Ehud Barak on Wednesday described the state of the Isr**li economy as "fragile."

Earlier, Isr**li Prime Minister Ariel Sharon admitted that "we are going through difficult times."

And earlier, Isr**li finance minister Silvan Shalom admitted, rather belatedly, that foreign investors had virtually lost confidence in the economy of the Zionist state.

Meanwhile, other economic indicators continued to illustrate the downturn course of the Isr**li economy.

This week, statistical figures released by the Isr**li government showed that only 33000 tourists visited the Zionist state in group tours in the first half of 2002, compared with 116,000 in the corresponding period in 2001, and 500,000 in the first half of 2000.

The figures also showed that group tourism is 70% below the level in the corresponding period last year and 94% less than in 2000.

The group tours arriving in Isr**l this year were so-called "solidarity tours" that stayed for brief periods.

Meanwhile, the Isr**li Hebrew newspaper, Ha'aretz, reported Thursday that European investments in Isr**l all but evaporated due to the "security situation."

The paper quoted Max Burger Calderon, chairman of the European Venture Capital Association, as saying that the Palestinian uprising dealt a sharp blow to Isr**l's technology sector.

"He said with rare frankness what Isr**lis refuse to hear: the Nasdaq didn't cause Europeans to avoid in investing in Isr**l. The Palestinian intifada and security situation did."

The paper said Burger-Calderon's comments caused a storm in Isr**l and that Isr**li technology sector managers have difficulty accepting them.