The current conflict between Israel and Gaza, which has drawn international attention, has placed a substantial financial burden on Israel, with the Israel Central Bank revealing a staggering cost of 198 billion shekels (approximately $53 billion). This figure, encompassing more than half in defense spending, signifies the profound economic implications of the conflict on the nation.
The recent conflict between Israel and Hamas, sparked by a sudden and brutal attack by Hamas on October 7, has led to a challenging situation for Israel. During the ongoing war in Gaza, Israel's priority remains defeating the terrorist group and securing the return of its hostages. This situation, however, has significantly impacted the Israeli economy, particularly affecting employment and small businesses.
In October, amid the backdrop of the ongoing conflict, Israel experienced a significant decline in the number of vacant job positions within its economy. The data, as reported by the Central Bureau of Statistics, indicates that there was an 18% decrease in vacant jobs, dropping from 114.3 thousand in September to 93.4 thousand in October, when considering seasonally adjusted figures. Notably, this marked the lowest point in job vacancies since February 2021 when there were 85.8 thousand vacancies, coinciding with the end of the third COVID lockdown. This decline also put an end to nearly three years during which job vacancies remained notably higher than the pre-coronavirus crisis level of approximately one hundred thousand.
Despite the ongoing conflict in Israel, the shekel's recent strengthening trend against the dollar continues to unfold. Today, the dollar experienced a decline of 1.4% against the shekel, with its exchange rate dropping below 3.80 NIS. This marks a decrease from the pre-war period when the dollar was trading at 3.86 NIS. Similarly, the euro also witnessed a slight dip in value against the shekel, settling at 4.1260 shekels.
The value of the US dollar against the Israeli shekel has continued its downward trend, currently trading at approximately 3.88 NIS. This marks a decrease of over one percent since the previous Friday. Simultaneously, the Euro is trading at around 4.18 NIS, showing signs of slight weakening. This fluctuation in currency exchange rates has been a topic of keen interest since the begining of the war in Gaza over a month ago.