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Israel, in new economic boost, joins Paris Club of rich countries that help poor ones

Israel has joined an influential group of rich nations that help poor indebted economies, in the latest boost for Israel's international economic image.

The Paris Club of creditor nations announced Israel's membership Tuesday. The club now includes 20 countries.

The club is an informal group of governments that collectively negotiate deals with poor countries struggling with huge debts. It was created in 1956, and has worked out loan deals for 90 countries.

In a statement, Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid lauded the decision, saying it "shows Israel's economic might and presents additional proof that Israel's place is alongside the strongest countries in the international arena."

Israel was accepted into the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a policy forum for the world's most developed economies, in 2010.