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

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

An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy