Time Is Running in Israel's Favor
by Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, The Ettinger Report, IsraelHayom.com, October 2, 2011
Time is running in Israel's favor, in contrast with conventional wisdom, as evidenced by the "global economic walk" and irrespective of the "global political talk."
At the outset of the Jewish New Year, 5772, Israel's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is $240BN – with 3% deficit, 5.7% unemployment, 3% interest rate and 3% inflation - compared with $38BN GDP in 1990 and 1BN in 1949. Israel's credit rating has been recently upgraded by Standard & Poor, ranking it among the top OECD economies.
In 1948 Israel had no significant export, compared with $6.7BN current account (mostly trade balance) surplus in 2010, featuring the US, Europe and India as the chief trading partners. Notwithstanding disturbing Turkish statements, Israel-Turkey trade volume has surged 140% since the Islamic party, AKP, assumed power in 2002: $3.45BN in 2010 compared with $1.4BN in 2002. Irrespective of political tension, the first quarter of 2011 features a 40% increase in the mutually-beneficial Israel-Turkey trade over the first quarter of 2010.
In 2011, Israel takes pride in robust exports despite the global economic meltdown, due to its highly specialized lines of exports, which correspond to vital global needs in the areas of pharmaceuticals, medical devices, biomed, agriculture, water technologies, energy alternatives, software, laptop computers, telecommunications and defense industries. The latter features Israel as the fifth largest global defense exporter. The NY-based "Trading Economics" reported a $1BN Israeli current account surplus in the first quarter of 2011.
Recently, the Houston-based Noble Energy discovered proven offshore natural gas reserves, which will transform Israel – by 2014 - from nearly total reliance on imported energy, to a major exporter of natural gas.
The Jewish New Year, 5772, highlights the Jewish State as "a shining high tech city upon a hill," attracting leading global companies, venture capitalists and investment banks, which seek unique manpower and cutting-edge innovative technologies. The European Community appoints Israelis to head its high-technology commissions. Microsoft's CEO, Steve Ballmer, calls Microsoft as much an Israeli company as an American company, because of the importance of its Israeli technologies, such as Kinect gaming motion-sensor interface, the fastest rising consumer electronic product in history. The same applies, increasingly, to Google, Cisco and eBay and Apple's memory systems for its iPhones, iPods and iPads. According to Intel's CEO, Intel would have been devastated by the competition, if not for its four research and development centers and two manufacturing plants in Israel, which developed its most advanced microprocessors, Pentium, Sandbridge, Atom and Centrino. Leading American venture capital funds, Sequoia, Greylock, Accel and Orbimed have become frequent investors in Israel, and some 400 global high tech companies have established research and manufacturing presence in Israel. IBM and Computers Associates (CA) just made their ninth and tenth acquisitions of Israeli companies respectively. Overseas investments in Israel's high-tech exceed any single European country and France and Germany combined.
The American defense industry has been a major beneficiary of Israel's unique technological and battle capabilities. Thus, the current generation of the F-16 features over 600 modifications, introduced by Israel, making it a global success and enhancing the American employment, research and development and export infrastructures. Northrop Grumman's robotics division cooperation with – and sales to – Israel have dramatically upgraded the quality of its products, as has been the case with hundreds of US defense systems employed by Israel.
In retrospect, Arab wars and terrorism, geo-political constraints and limited natural resources have been nothing but bumps on the path of an unprecedented Israeli economic, technological, educational and defense surge, which has benefitted humanity at-large.