The Israeli Decade | The Middle East Magazine
In the 1970s the Arabs were the economic powerhouse of the earth. America was mired in a recession brought on by backbreaking inflation. The Arabs had nationalized their oil companies and were just beginning to reap the true benefits of their newfound wealth. The oil embargo brought the mighty Western economies to a standstill, while petrodollars built palaces the size of skyscrapers.
By the 1980s it was Japan who took center stage. If you were a college student, Japanese was the only second language to study. It was a decade of Sushi, Karaoke, and Japanese mega-companies buying up half of Manhattan.
The 90s was the American decade. It was a time of .coms, IPOs, Bill Gates, and balanced budgets. The moment the mighty American industry transformed its cold war swords into hi-tech plowshares, financial markets and the general economy rose to a prosperity never seen before in the annals of mankind.
The 2000s belonged to China. Despite deep recessions and a financial collapse throughout the world, the Chinese saw double digit growth. The Chinese started to project their monetary might by producing anything a man could possibly need. They own over $1 trillion in U.S. debt and have the ability to hold tremendous sway over international decision making without having to procure a single artillery shell.
The Arabs, Japanese, Americans, or Chinese didn t really enjoy their dominance right off the bat. In 1971 nobody thought about Saudi Arabia. In 1990 the United States was in a crippling recession that would eventually remove its sitting president from office. In 2000, it was all still made in Taiwan. Only by the latter years did these nations truly established themselves as the Decade s darlings.
This decade will be the Israeli decade. Here s why:
- Israel leads the world in stock market returns over the past ten years. With free trade agreements with both Europe and America, Israel can weather a recession in either region. If American business slows down, Israeli companies can see higher sales through their European orders. If things are bad in Europe, the Americans will be ordering more microchips and firewall security systems. This puts a big floor on just how bad the economy can get. The crisis of 2008 was a case in point. The central banks of the world dropped their interest rates to virtually zero. By 2009, the Bank of Israel was one of the first of only a handful of nations to resume raising rates.
- Debt agencies like Standard & Poor s and Moody s have taken notice. Where they are lowering debt ratings for the most powerful countries like America and France, Israel s debt rating has just upgraded to an A+ rating. Of 127 countries that S&P rates, only 34 perform this well.
- Over half a trillion dollars of oil and natural gas have been discovered here. We are rapidly developing the means to produce and export it all, with commercial use ready as early as 2013. We are still discovering more resources buried deep beneath the waters of the Haifa shoreline. This is a boon for industry, as well as a cash cow for future tax revenues. The tax burden for the average Israeli family will drop furthering powering national growth, while government subsidies for education, new businesses, research, and health care are bound to increase.
- The Arab Spring has presented Israel with tremendous opportunities. Tourists originally bound for the Egyptian pyramids are now walking through the Old City of Jerusalem. A massive freight line connecting the Red Sea port of Eliat to the Mediterranean port of Ashkelon is being constructed. China uses the Suez Canal to transport its manufactured goods to Europe. With the implosion of Egypt, they need safer ways to move their merchandise. Israel has been very quick to provide a secure alternative. The Chinese have made investments in these projects, which may transform Eliat and Ashkelon into the Israeli mega cities of the future.
- Israel is developing new trains to speed up the commute between its major cities and small towns all over the country. It will be easier than ever to commute to work from a small, and quiet town. Backwater regions in Israel will develop overnight into thriving suburbs as rising property values and increased local tax revenues enrich everyone. Wifi equipped trains will enable the commuter to work while on the train, making the commute itself a part of the workday.
- As economies in America and Europe fail to offer adequate financial opportunities, citizens may get impatient and look for better prospects elsewhere. Already Americans are leaving the country for tax purposes. As a result, many more American Jews will take advantage of these opportunities.
If you wanted to capitalize on opportunity in 1985 you learned Japanese. In 2005 you learned Mandarin. Despite what you learned there were always limits. You could never be Japanese. You could never acquire Chinese citizenship. You still had to pay taxes as a foreign business entity.
Israel is different.
If you are Jewish you can become a citizen overnight. The government will automatically provide you with money to get started, low interest business loans, educational grants, affordable housing until you get on your feet, a low cost mortgage when you need one, free training in Hebrew, job placement assistance, and all sorts of other social, logistical, and financial assistance in integrating here. There are even big tax breaks for the first 3-7 years someone lives here.
More citizens translates to more growth. The expansion will feed upon itself as educated Americans apply their skills. They won t be moving here to join a political party or settle a hilltop. They will come to enjoy a higher standard of living for themselves and their families. New business will sprout up, additional workers will be hired, and more customers will be available to every enterprise in Israel. In time, national and local governments will receive more in taxes.
For the world, the decade of the 2010s will be the one of International convalescence. America, Japan, and Europe will struggle to work off the excesses of the prior half century. Asia will see stagnant growth as they export less to these recovering economies. The Jewish Nation will celebrate the 2010s as the only man standing.
This was the exact situation during the times of Kings David and Solomon. The decline of the neighboring empires created the very political landscape which aided the rise of ancient Judea to immortal greatness.
Is the same happening today?
It all amounts to the Israeli Decade.
Dovber Halevi is the author of Sex, Religion, and the Middle East1.