Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Ambassador ret. Yoram Ettinger: Is Israel Ostracized?






The elitist media outlets of Israel, Western Europe and the USA are wrong! Israel is increasingly appreciated and embraced - not ostracized – by the global community.

In defiance of the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement in Britain, and despite the Gaza War, Israel's exports to Britain, and the Israel-Britain trade balance, surged by 38% and 28% respectively from January-August, 2014, compared to the same period in 2013, expanding employment in both countries.  In addition, 37 Israeli-British mergers & acquisitions and British stock market IPOs occurred 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, healthcare, 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.  The Israeli exports provide American, European, Russian, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, South Korean and additional global giants with a competitive edge in the global competition. 
Israel's unique niches in the area of healthcare were underlined in the June 2014 Forbes' list of ten health companies changing the world, five of them were Israeli. "It's amazing that Israel – a country of only eight million people – produces so many leading health technology companies," David E. Williams, president of the US-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."

Barbara Opall-Rome, the Israel Bureau Chief of Defense News, sheds light on the global added-value of Israel's defense industries and Israel's rising weapon exports, which have grown since the Gaza War. The war revealed the potency of Israel – the world's largest and most advanced battle tested laboratory - especially in the area of shielding civilians from the wrath of 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 $7bn 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."

Bloomberg News reported, following the Gaza War, that Shite Azerbaijan is the leading supplier of oil to Israel and a major buyer of advanced Israeli military systems, in spite of criticism from its neighbors, Iran and Turkey.

The California-based Entrepreneur suggests that "One country that stands out from the rest of the rest when it comes to research and development (R & D)  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's 2014 Education at a Glance study, published by Yahoo Finance on September 11, 2014: Israel ranks fourth in the world as far as post-high school educated population (46.4% of the population), trailing Japan (46.6%), Canada (52.6%) and Russia (53.5%), ahead of the USA, 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, clarifies how integrated Israel is in the global  economy: 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 the 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 $3.5bn. Two of the top ten Wall Street IPOs were Israeli companies, Mobileye ($890mn) and Israel Chemicals ($507mn). Intercontinental Exchange, the global network of exchanges and clearing houses, acquired Israel's SuperDerivatives for $350mn, as its R & D center.  Pulse Secure acquired Israel's cyber company, Mobile Spaces, for $100mn.

On September 22, despite the Gaza War and because of Israel's brain power and cutting edge and game-changing technologies, Intel announced an additional $6bn 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 DBS movement, the Gaza War and other conventional and terrorist threats? Based on Israel's track record, they are bumps on the road of unprecedented growth and acceptability.