Why Israel Continues to Attract Investors

While pessimists cite an array of reasons to argue that the Jewish state’s extraordinary economic growth over the past two decades might fizzle out, the Canadian businessman Lorne Abony has no such doubts. He explains why:

First, Israeli start-ups have the best track record of success. Israel now has 41 unicorns [private companies valued at over $1 billion], the most per capita in the world. . . . Foreign investment in Israel has skyrocketed over the past decade, from $9 billion to $27.76 billion. Matam Park, in Haifa, is an international tech R&D hub, playing host to Amazon, Intel, Microsoft, Apple, and Google, just to name a few. And speaking of Intel—it’s building another factory in the country that will cost $25 billion and open in 2027.

[Moreover], Israeli companies are uniquely positioned to pioneer the technologies of the future. In fields from artificial intelligence to blockchain to water and sustainable energy to cultured meat, Israelis bring together a density of expertise, bold attitudes that allows for risk-taking and experimentation, and a unique pipeline connecting world-renowned academic institutions with business. It is a potent mix, unlike anything I’ve seen elsewhere.

Take, for instance, Pluri, a biotech company that’s applying its twenty years of expertise in regenerative medicine to massive new opportunities for cell-based manufacturing—whether by growing cultivated meat in a lab, or developing the first effective treatment that could be deployed at scale for acute radiation syndrome (the disease you get from the fallout from a nuclear weapon or nuclear-plant meltdown).

Read more at Jewish Journal

More about: Israeli economy, Israeli technology

Recognizing a Palestinian State Won’t Help Palestinians, or Even Make Palestinian Statehood More Likely

While Shira Efron and Michael Koplow are more sanguine about the possibility of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and more critical of Israel’s policies in the West Bank, than I am, I found much worth considering in their recent article on the condition of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Particularly perceptive are their comments on the drive to grant diplomatic recognition to a fictive Palestinian state, a step taken by nine countries in the past few months, and almost as many in total as recognize Israel.

Efron and Koplow argue that this move isn’t a mere empty gesture, but one that would actually make things worse, while providing “no tangible benefits for Palestinians.”

In areas under its direct control—Areas A and B of the West Bank, comprising 40 percent of the territory—the PA struggles severely to provide services, livelihoods, and dignity to inhabitants. This is only partly due to its budgetary woes; it has also never established a properly functioning West Bank economy. President Mahmoud Abbas, who will turn ninety next year, administers the PA almost exclusively by executive decrees, with little transparency or oversight. Security is a particular problem, as militants from different factions now openly defy the underfunded and undermotivated PA security forces in cities such as Jenin, Nablus, and Tulkarm.

Turning the Palestinian Authority (PA) from a transitional authority into a permanent state with the stroke of a pen will not make [its] litany of problems go away. The risk that the state of Palestine would become a failed state is very real given the PA’s dysfunctional, insolvent status and its dearth of public legitimacy. Further declines in its ability to provide social services and maintain law and order could yield a situation in which warlords and gangs become de-facto rulers in some areas of the West Bank.

Otherwise, any steps toward realizing two states will be fanciful, built atop a crumbling foundation—and likely to help turn the West Bank into a third front in the current war.

Read more at Foreign Affairs

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian statehood