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Israel economy shrinks as Gaza war takes bite of GDP

Israel’s GDP shrunk by almost one-fifth in the final quarter of 2023, compared to the three months prior, according to official figures published on Monday.…

Israel’s GDP shrunk by almost one-fifth in the final quarter of 2023, compared to the three months prior, according to official figures published on Monday.

The 19.4-percent fall in the final quarter was attributed to the scale of the ongoing Gaza war’s effect on the high-tech nation’s economy.

Overall, Israel’s GDP grew by 2.0 per cent in 2023, short of the 2.3 per cent projection made by the Bank of Israel after the war’s outbreak in October, the Central Bureau of Statistics figures showed.

It was the single worst quarter for the Israeli economy in terms of GDP per capita since the opening quarter of the Covid pandemic in early 2020.

Exports fell by 18.3 per cent and imports by 42.4 per cent, fueled in part by airlines terminating flights and international shipping avoiding the Red Sea after Huthi rebels began attacking ships over Israel’s war against Hamas.

Hamas’s October 7 attack on southern Israel resulted in the deaths of about 1,160 people in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of Israeli official figures.

Israel’s assault on Gaza has killed over 29,000 people, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.

The country has seen massive labour shortages and the collapse of the tourism industry since the outbreak of war.

The Israeli military called up over 300,000 reservists in the days following October 7, and the government immediately barred the entry of at least 160,000 Palestinian labourers who made up a considerable portion of the construction and agriculture workforce.

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