Why Israel’s Economy Is Booming

Feb. 22 2022

Despite mounting protests over the rising cost of living—much-publicized in the Israeli media—newly released data show that the Jewish state is experiencing unrivaled economic growth. Gad Lior explains:

An economy that records an 8.1-percent annual growth is definitely not in distress. The Germans, the British, the Spanish, and even the Americans are green with envy. Consumption was up 19.2 percent in the last quarter of 2021, and 11.7 percent in all of last year. This a shopping bonanza the like of which we haven’t seen in a long, long time. It seems that whatever the Israelis held back in the first year of the pandemic, they’re making up for now.

Even businesses that previously saw their footfall collapse entirely suddenly picked themselves up off the ground. Customers returned hungrier than ever, looking for any excuse to go out shopping, to eat out, to go to the movies, or to enjoy a concert. . . . Likewise, Israeli industry and importers also emerged from the pandemic with flying colors.

The fact that the state budget was approved for the first time in nearly four years also helped economic growth. . . . As for the future, the market is expected to continue recovering, save for a catastrophic event such as a war or a super-violent variant. However, these record-high numbers can’t last forever and would be almost impossible to top.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Coronavirus, Israeli economy

How Israel Can Break the Cycle of Wars in Gaza

Last month saw yet another round of fighting between the Jewish state and Gaza-based terrorist groups. This time, it was Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) that began the conflict; in other cases, it was Hamas, which rules the territory. Such outbreaks have been numerous in the years since 2009, and although the details have varied somewhat, Israel has not yet found a way to stop them, or to save the residents of the southwestern part of the country from the constant threat of rocket fire. Yossi Kuperwasser argues that a combination of military, economic, and diplomatic pressure might present an alternative solution:

In Gaza, Jerusalem plays a key role in developing the rules that determine what the parties can and cannot do. Such rules are designed to give the Israelis the ability to deter attacks, defend territory, maintain intelligence dominance, and win decisively. These rules assure Hamas that its rule over Gaza will not be challenged and that, in between the rounds of escalation, it will be allowed to continue its military buildup, as the Israelis seldom strike first, and the government’s responses to Hamas’s limited attacks are always measured and proportionate.

The flaws in such an approach are clear: it grants Hamas the ability to develop its offensive capabilities, increase its political power, and condemn Israelis—especially those living within range of the Gaza Strip—to persistent threats from Hamas terrorists.

A far more effective [goal] would be to rid Israel of Hamas’s threat by disarming it, prohibiting its rearmament, and demonstrating conclusively that threatening Israel is indisputably against its interests. Achieving this goal will not be easy, but with proper preparation, it may be feasible at the appropriate time.

Revisiting the rule according to which Jerusalem remains tacitly committed to not ending Hamas rule in Gaza is key for changing the dynamics of this conflict. So long as Hamas knows that the Israelis will not attempt to uproot it from Gaza, it can continue arming itself and conducting periodic attacks knowing the price it will pay may be heavy—especially if Jerusalem changes the other rules mentioned—but not existential.

Read more at Middle East Quarterly

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israeli Security, Palestinian Islamic Jihad