On September 6, 2007, Israeli jets destroyed a nuclear reactor in the Syrian desert, provoking neither international condemnation nor significant retaliation. By coincidence, just after the tenth-year anniversary of this bombing, the IDF appears to have destroyed another Syrian installation producing dangerous weapons. Gabriel Scheinmann revisits the dramatic story of Israel’s bringing intelligence about the reactor to President George W. Bush, the Bush administration’s choice not to act, and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s decision to solve the problem without U.S. support—a story that has significant implications for today’s concerns about Iran and North Korea. (Interview by Jonathan Silver. Audio, 57 minutes.)
Ten Years Ago, Israel Stopped Bashar al-Assad’s Syria from Becoming Another North Korea
Israel’s Economy Thrives While the Middle East Disintegrates
Now that the data have come in from 2017, it is clear that the Israeli economy had another successful year, expanding at a rate higher than that of any other advanced country. Israel’s per-capita GDP also grew, placing it above those of France and Japan. Daniel Kryger notes some of the implications regarding the Jewish state’s place in the Middle East:
The contrast between first-world Israel and the surrounding third-world Arab states is larger today than ever before. Israel’s GDP per capita is almost twenty times the GDP per capita of impoverished Egypt and five times larger than semi-developed Lebanon.
Like any human project, Israel is a never-ending work in progress and much work remains to integrate ḥaredi Jews and Israeli Arabs into Israel’s knowledge economy. Properly addressing Israel’s high costs of living requires more economic and legislative reforms and breaking up inefficient oligopolies that keep the prices artificially high. However, by any standard, the reborn Jewish state is a remarkable success story. . . .
Much has changed since OPEC launched its oil embargo against the West after the failed Arab aggression against Israel in October 1973. Before the collapse of the pro-Arab Soviet empire, China and India had no official ties with Israel and many Western and Japanese companies avoided doing business with Israel. Collapsing oil prices have dramatically eroded the power of oil-producing countries. It has become obvious that the future belongs to those who innovate, not those who happen to sit on oil. Israel has today strong commercial ties with China and a thriving partnership with India. Business delegations from Jamaica to Japan are eager to do business with Israel and benefit from Israel’s expertise. . . .
[For its part], the boycott, divest, and sanction (BDS) movement may bully Jewish and pro-Israel students on Western campuses. However, in real life, BDS stands no chance of succeeding against Israel. The reason is simple: reborn Israel has . . . become too valuable a player in the global economy.