A pair of savvy policy wonks investigate how Israel has generated some notable economic wonders.
In the face of the pervasive, virulent hostility of surrounding regimes, the young nation of Israel produces, per capita, more scientific papers than any other country. Amid frequent acts of terrorism, the Jewish state leads the world in percentage of GDP invested in research and development. Israeli components, regular boycotts notwithstanding, are integral in our medicine cabinets, computers and supermarkets. There may be an important algorithm developed in Israel guiding your Google search or, perhaps, an Israeli camera in your intestines. How did all that happen? Senor and Jerusalem Post editorial page editor Singer (Confronting Jihad: Israel’s Struggle & The World After 9/11, 2003) demonstrate that the notable entrepreneurial achievements are due to a specific combination of some basic catalysts. First is the unique ethos of the military-reserve system, under which “taxi drivers can command millionaires and twenty-three-year-olds can train their uncles.” Camaraderie fostered in youthful service, together with ingrained audacity, transfers to civil life. In addition, a cosmopolitan mindset, learned from travel around and through enemy neighborhoods, produces secure international connections. To assure partners and customers worldwide, write the authors, a diligent work ethic continues production even under dire threat. No one can predict the future of Israeli entrepreneurship—perhaps asset management is the next big thing—but Senor and Singer highlight some important lessons and sound instruction for countries struggling to enter the 21st century.
An edifying, cogent report, as apolitical as reasonably possible, about homemade nation building.