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October 15, 2014 11:38 am

Is Israel Ostracized?

avatar by Yoram Ettinger

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A Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) protest against Israel in Melbourne, Australia, on June 5, 2010. Photo: Mohamed Ouda via Wikimedia Commons.

The elitist media outlets in Israel, Western Europe and the U.S. are wrong! Israel is increasingly appreciated and embraced — not ostracized — by the global community.

In defiance of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement in Britain, and despite the recent Gaza war, Israel’s exports to Britain and the Israel-Britain trade balance, surged by 38 percent and 28 percent respectively between January and August 2014 (as compared to the same period in 2013), expanding employment in both countries. In addition, there were 37 Israeli-British mergers, acquisitions and British stock market initial public offerings during the same period.

The swelling Israel-Britain trade balance highlights Israel’s special capabilities in the global market, generating cutting-edge technological and scientific developments which have given rise to unique medical, health care, agricultural, software and defense technologies and products. Moreover, most of Israel’s export is business-to-business based, supplying leading international businesses with critical components and technologies, which enhance the quality and reduces the cost of their own products, revolutionizing quality of life, in general, and commercial/defense performance, in particular. Israeli exports provide American, European, Russian, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, South Korean and additional global giants with a competitive edge in the global market.

Israel’s unique achievements in the area of health care were underscored in the Forbes June 2014 list of 10 health tech companies changing the world. Five of them were Israeli. “It’s amazing that Israel — a country of only 8 million people — produces so many leading health technology companies,” David E. Williams, president of the U.S.-based Health Business Group, told the Grapevine. According to Williams, “Israel’s highly educated technical and medical workers are reared in a society that prizes problem-solving and innovation, placing tremendous value on curing illness and saving lives.”

Israel bureau chief for the U.S. magazine Defense NewsBarbara Opall-Rome, sheds light on the global added-value of Israel’s defense industries and Israel’s rising weapon exports, which have grown in recent years. The latest conflict in Gaza revealed Israel’s unique advantage, being the world’s largest and most advanced battle testing laboratory, especially in the area of shielding civilians from short-range missiles and defending tank crews against guided missiles.

According to Opall, “over the past five years, Israel has had military sales of around $7 billion annually, and it puts Israel in the top five of the world’s arms-exporting nations. … India is one of Israel’s biggest customers, buying everything from ship and air defense systems to anti-tank missiles and drones.”

After the latest Gaza operation, Bloomberg reported that Shiite Azerbaijan is the leading supplier of oil to Israel and a major buyer of advanced Israeli military systems, despite criticism from its neighbors, Iran and Turkey.

The California-based Entrepreneur magazine suggests that “one country that stands out from the rest when it comes to research and development is Israel. In fact, it ranks second only to Silicon Valley for startups. … The pool of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) talent in Israel is huge. There are 140 scientists, technicians and engineers for every 10,000 Israeli employees, compared to 85 per 10,000 in the USA. … Israel is flush with entrepreneurs, second in numbers only to Silicon Valley. The country is filled with people with courage, drive, creativity, boldness and tenacity, who will move mountains to achieve their goals and dreams.”

Israel’s educational standing in the world was noted by the recent OECD 2014 Education at a Glance study, published by Yahoo Finance in September: Israel ranks fourth in the world as far as post-high school educated population (46.4 percent of the population), trailing Japan (46.6 percent), Canada (52.6 percent) and Russia (53.5 percent), but ahead of the U.S., Korea, Australia, Britain, New Zealand and Ireland.

The respectable, growing slate of more than 250 high-tech global giants with R&D centers in Israel proves how integrated Israel is in the global economy. These companies include Intel, Microsoft, IBM, Apple, Motorola, Computer Associates, Qualcomm, HP, EMC, GE, AT&T, Xerox, Dell, AMD, Marvell, Cisco, GM, Google, Oracle, Paypal, McAfee, Polycom, Telefonica, Ebay, AOL, Yahoo, SanDisk, SAP, Siemens, Philips, Deutsche Telekom, Samsung, etc. A recent arrival in Israel is Russian Internet Security giant Kaspersky Labs, which will inaugurate its first Israeli R&D center in Jerusalem.

2014 is shaping up to be an Israeli record year for raising capital, with Israeli IPOs on Wall Street surpassing $3.5 billion. Two of the top 10 Wall Street IPOs were Israeli companies — Mobileye ($890 million) and Israel Chemicals ($507 million). Intercontinental Exchange, the global network of exchanges and clearing houses, acquired Israel’s SuperDerivatives for $350 million, as its R&D center. Pulse Secure acquired Israel’s cyber company, Mobile Spaces, for $100 million.

On September 22, despite the war in Gaza and because of Israel’s brain power and cutting edge and game-changing technologies, Intel announced an additional $6 billion investment in its existing Israeli arsenal (four R&D centers and two manufacturing plants), which will develop the next generation of Intel’s chips.

Intel’s substantial investment constitutes a resounding vote of confidence in the long-term, geo-strategic and economic viability of Israel, as confirmed by Moody’s credit rating, sustaining Israel’s investment grade at A1 — a low credit risk.

And where does that leave the anti-Israel BDS movement, the Gaza conflict and other conventional and terrorist threats? Based on Israel’s track record, they are bumps in the road of unprecedented growth and acceptance.

This article was originally published by Israel Hayom.

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