Political Deadlock Hasn’t Stopped Israel’s Economy from Thriving

Oct. 14 2022

While Americans suffer from rising prices, and analysts are warning of an imminent recession, the Jewish state is managing to maintain growing prosperity. This despite the fact that it is heading toward the fifth election in four years and facing a surge of terrorism—not to mention the graver threats from a near-nuclear Iran. Matthew Winkler writes:

Israel’s perennial headlines obscure a greater reality, which is that the Mideast nation of nine million is an economic juggernaut. It has the fastest growth and one of the lowest rates of inflation and joblessness. On top of that, the shekel is the world’s best-performing currency among the 31 that trade actively and the only one that strengthened against the dollar the past decade.

Unlike any of the 34 developed economies, Israel is poised to achieve 5.2-percent gross domestic-product growth in 2022, 3.5-percent in 2023, and 3.5-percent in 2024, according to more than a dozen forecasts compiled by Bloomberg. With unemployment at 3.5 percent and inflation at 4.3 percent (around half the annualized rate for the U.S. and European Union) Israel is proving to be the benchmark not only for stability, but for innovation as well.

From auto parts to medical-equipment solutions to food, water, and climate change, technology made in Israel is transforming the world’s biggest industries. This hub of innovation includes Mobileye Global Inc., the creator of vision-based driver assistance systems for 50 car makers, or 70 percent of the global market. Mobileye recently filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering valuing the Intel Inc. unit at as much as $30 billion. Also, there’s Nanox Imaging Ltd., serving governments, hospitals, and clinics with cloud-based image analysis, online diagnosis, and billing services while developing a 3D medical-imaging device; [and] Innoviz Technologies Ltd., the maker of light-detection ranging (Lidar) sensors and perception software for autonomous driving.

Read more at Washington Post

More about: Israeli economy, Israeli politics, Israeli technology

The U.S. Is Trying to Seduce Israel into Accepting a Bad Deal with Iran. Israel Should Say No

Last week, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released its quarterly report on the Iranian nuclear program. According to an analysis by the Institute for Science and International Security, the Islamic Republic can now produce enough weapons-grade uranium to manufacture “five nuclear weapons in one month, seven in two months, and a total of eight in three months.” The IAEA also has reason to believe that Tehran has further nuclear capabilities that it has successfully hidden from inspectors. David M. Weinberg is concerned about Washington’s response:

Believe it or not, the Biden administration apparently is once again offering the mullahs of Tehran a sweetheart deal: the release of $10 billion or more in frozen Iranian assets and clemency for Iran’s near-breakout nuclear advances of recent years, in exchange for Iranian release of American hostages and warmed-over pious Iranian pledges to freeze the Shiite atomic-bomb program.

This month, intelligence photos showed Iran again digging tunnels at its Natanz nuclear site—supposedly deep enough to withstand an American or Israeli military strike. This tells us that Iran has something to hide, a clear sign that it has not given up on its quest for a nuclear bomb.

Meanwhile, Antony Blinken today completes a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia, where he is reportedly pressing the kingdom to enter the Abraham Accords. This is no coincidence, for reasons Weinberg explains:

Washington expects Israeli acquiescence in the emerging U.S. surrender to Iran in exchange for a series of other things important to Israel. These include U.S. backing for Israel against escalated Palestinian assaults expected this fall in UN forums, toning down U.S. criticism regarding settlement and security matters (at a time when the IDF is going to have to intensify its anti-terrorist operations in Judea and Samaria), an easing of U.S. pressures on Israel in connection with domestic matters (like judicial reform), a warm Washington visit for Prime Minister Netanyahu (which is not just a political concession but is rather critical to Israel’s overall deterrent posture), and most of all, significant American moves towards reconciliation with Saudi Arabia (which is critical to driving a breakthrough in Israeli-Saudi ties).

[But] even an expensive package of U.S. “concessions” to Saudi Arabia will not truly compensate for U.S. capitulation to Iran (something we know from experience will only embolden the hegemonic ambitions of the mullahs). And this capitulation will make it more difficult for the Saudis to embrace Israel publicly.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Antony Blinken, Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Israel relationship