August 07, 2009

The Other Israel

Think that Israel is a place filled with violence and strife. Read this and see that there is far more to Israel than war.

In the meantime look at this:

"Israel has a world class cultural scene. Want to see Franco Zeffirelli and Daniel Barenboim? No problem. The Alvin Ailey Dance Company visits. The opera plays to audiences at 97 percent capacity. Even at lower pay, (Israel) attracts the best talents from around the globe…

"Israel enjoys top universities, upscale restaurants, million-dollar homes, hoity-toity architecture, and the like. In the fourth quarter last year, when the global economy went all to hell, Israel's annual, quarter-over-quarter rate of GDP was only off 0.5 percent, the best figure in the industrialized world. (The United States was off 6.3 percent and Japan 12.1 percent.) 'Think about the resistance of our economy in recent times,' suggests Zvi Eckstein, deputy governor of the Bank of Israel. 'Our prime minister (has a stroke). The war in Gaza. The war in Lebanon. The government gets replaced. But we've maintained a stable macroeconomic structure and a strong high-tech sector…'

What's the secret? A very conservative banking system…No mortgage crisis…A current account surplus since 2003…Negligible inflation…Prudent governmental fiscal policy… Healthy integration into the world economy. Last year, 483 Israeli high-tech companies raised a whopping $2.08BN (only US companies raised more). All the major tech players – Google, Microsoft, IBM – have large research centers in Israel. They go where the talent is…'Israel is today the third-hottest spot (after Silicon Valley and Boston) for high-tech venture capital in the world…' Israel produces more science papers per capita than any other country. Israel lags behind only the United States in number of companies listed on NASDAQ. Twenty-four percent of Israel's workforce has a university degree; only the United States and Holland have a higher number. Israel leads the world in scientists and technicians per capita…

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