An Israeli cash register, Sept. 19, 2014. Photo: Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90. – Israel’s credit rating has been upgraded by Standard & Poor’s from A+ to -AA, the highest rating Israel has ever had.

There are only 17 countries in the world that enjoy an AA rating. Israel, China, Japan, Chile, the Czech Republic and Qatar hold -AA; seven countries, including Belgium, Britain and Kuwait hold an AA; and just four countries, including the United States, hold a AA+. Just 11 countries, including Australia, Norway and Switzerland, are ranked AAA.

The agency’s upgrade is considered a very significant achievement for Israel’s economy, which S&P estimates will grow by 3.3 percent by 2021.

The agency noted Israel’s fiscal discipline; its success in passing the 2017-18, and 2019 budgets despite coalition differences; and Israeli law that requires all government programs to show a budgeting source prior to launch.

“The decision by Standard & Poor’s to raise Israel’s credit rating joins a similar decision by Moody’s,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “These decisions reflect the strength of the Israeli economy, and the correct and responsible economic policy we are leading on behalf of Israel’s citizens.”

Last month, Moody’s upgraded Israel’s credit rating outlook to “positive”and reaffirmed it at A1.