Economic developments in the year just past signaled the possibility of recovery from the lengthy recession. We say this in a somewhat reserved tone because growth slowed again during the last few months of the year. Nevertheless, 2004 seems to have marked a turn for the better relative to previous years.
These changes were definitely abetted by changing economic conditions and other complementary circumstances, including the declining intensity of terror attacks in Israel proper. Thus, one cannot determine whether 2004 marked the beginning of recovery or a temporary pause. Be this as it may, the sense of economic relief was not felt at the social level. In fact, the plight of various social groups worsened and the 2005 budget seems to promise more of the same.