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September 22, 2014 / 27 Elul, 5774
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Israelis Have So Many Reasons to Be Happy, Mr. Kerry

Things have never been so good in the Jewish state.
Israel has a birthrate of 2.65, making it the only advanced country to exceed replacement.

Israel has a birthrate of 2.65, making it the only advanced country to exceed replacement.
Photo Credit: Edi Israel / FLASH90

In a typically maladroit statement, U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry recently complained that Israelis are too contented to end their conflict with the Palestinians: “People in Israel aren’t waking up every day and wondering if tomorrow there will be peace because there is a sense of security and a sense of accomplishment and of prosperity.”

While Mr. Kerry misunderstands Israelis (Palestinian rejectionism, not prosperity, caused them to give up on diplomacy), he is right that Israelis have a “sense of security and … of prosperity.” They are generally a happy lot. A recent poll found 93 percent of Jewish Israelis proud of be Israeli. Yes, Iranian nuclear weapons loom and confrontation with Moscow is possible, but things have never been so good. With thanks to Efraim Inbar of Bar-Ilan University for some of the following information, Let us count the ways.

– Women need to give birth to 2.1 children to sustain a country’s population; Israel has a birthrate of 2.65, making it the only advanced country to exceed replacement. (The next highest is France at 2.08; the lowest is Singapore at 0.79.) While Haredis and Arabs account for some of this robust rate, secular Jews are the key.

– Israel enjoyed a 14.5 percent growth of gross domestic product during the 2008-12 recession, giving it the highest economic growth rate of any OECD country. (In contrast, the advanced economies as a whole had a 2.3 percent growth rate, with the United States weighing in at 2.9 percent and the Euro zone at minus 0.4 percent.) Israel invests 4.5 percent of GDP in research & development, the highest percentage of any country.

– Due to major gas and oil finds, Walter Russell Mead observes, “the Promised Land, from a natural resource point of view, could be … inch for inch the most valuable and energy rich country anywhere in the world.” These resources enhance Israel’s position in the world.

– With Syria and Egypt consumed by internal problems, the existential threat they once posed to Israel has, for the moment, nearly disappeared. Thanks to innovative tactics, terror attacks have been nearly eliminated. The IDF has outstanding human resources and stands at the forefront of military technologies; and Israeli society has proven its readiness to fight a protracted conflict. Mr. Inbar, a strategist, concludes that “the power differential between Israel and its Arab neighbors is continuously growing.”

– The Palestinian diplomatic focus that dominated the country’s politics for decades after 1967 has receded, with only 10 percent of Jewish Israelis considering negotiations the top priority. Mr. Kerry may obsess over this issue but, in the acerbic words of one politico, “Debating the peace process to most Israelis is the equivalent of debating the color of the shirt you will wear when landing on Mars.”

– Even the Iranian nuclear issue may be less dire than it appears. Between the vastly greater destructive power of Israel’s nuclear arsenal and its growing missile defense system, military analyst Anthony Cordesman predicts that an exchange of nuclear weapons would leave Israel damaged badly but Iranian civilization destroyed. “Iranian recovery is not possible in the normal sense of the term.” Maniacal as the Iranian leadership is, will it really risk all?

– Successes of the “boycott, divestment, and sanctions” movement are pretty meager (Stephen Hawking snubbed the president’s invitation! A United Nations body passed another absurd condemnation). Israel has diplomatic relations with 156 out of the United Nations’ 193 members. Looking at multiple indices, Mr. Inbar finds that, globally, “Israel is rather well integrated.”

– In public opinion surveys in the United States, the world’s most important country and Israel’s main ally, Israel regularly beats the Palestinians by a 4-to-1 ratio. And while universities are indeed hostile, I ask handwringers this question: Where would you rather be strong, the U.S. Congress or the campuses? To ask that question is to answer it.

– Ashkenazi-Sephardi tensions have diminished over time due to a combination of intermarriage and cultural cross-pollination. The issue of Haredi nonparticipation is finally being addressed.

– Israelis have made impressive cultural contributions, especially to classical music, leading one critic, David Goldman, to call Israel a “pocket superpower in the arts.”

Listen up, anti-Zionists and antisemites, Palestinians and Islamists, extreme right- and left-wingers: You are fighting a losing battle; the Jewish state is prevailing. As Mr. Inbar rightly concludes, “Time seems to be on Israel’s side.” Give up and find some other country to torment.

Originally published at Daniel Pipes

About the Author: Daniel Pipes is a world-renowned Middle East and Islam expert. He is President of the Middle East Forum. His articles appear in many newspapers. He received his A.B. (1971) and Ph.D. (1978) from Harvard University and has taught at Harvard, Pepperdine, the U.S. Naval War College, and the University of Chicago. He is a board member of the U.S. Institute of Peace and other institutions. His website is DanielPipes.org.


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8 Responses to “Israelis Have So Many Reasons to Be Happy, Mr. Kerry”

  1. Anonymous says:

    And most importantly there is an amazing amount of people returning to a Torah based lifestyle and the number of people studying Torah keeps increasing by leaps and bounds- THIS my friends is the true indicator of success of Israel- and the real reason our enemies should be afraid of us. We are returning to our mission and we will see Hashem's hand against our enemies. Just open our eyes and see the wonderful salvations that are happening and will happen in the future. All our enemies are falling apart- thee are acts of G-d. He just hides his miracles well making it seem natural.

  2. Carol Hage says:

    65 years celebrations in London.

  3. Larry Snider says:

    There is little doubt that Israel has worked tirelessly to built the capacity to weather the political, military and social storms that continue to attack it. But I for one believe that Israel can do better through making peace with the Palestinians, the Arab League and the international community. It is through the enactment of a secure and lasting peace that Israel will become the light unto the nations that G-d and his prophets spoke of.

  4. Lee Smith says:

    God Bless the jewish people no one doubts your benevolence and sense of charity I feel bad that israel has to be surrounded by a bunch of countries full of ******s and Arabs you will overcome.

  5. It takes two sides to make peace – the Arabs aren't interested. Or haven't been listening?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Larry, I must say that I am surprised at your comment, should you have anything between your ears, you would know that the Palestinians hate the Jewish people, to go one further, all the Arab states hate Israel and want the Jew's pushed into the sea, they don't want peace, they want the Jewish people off the face of the earth, so no, Israel can not give land for peace, it's HaShems land, who has the right to give it away, the land stays in the hands of the Israelis, and before you says, " another Israeli Zionst!" no! I am not Israeli, but I am a Goyim who has a great love for the Jewish people and for the land of Israel, The G-d of Israel is also my G-d.

  7. Anonymous says:

    U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry is like a lost fart in the dark, just look at his face, he always seems to have that dumb look as if he finds great difficulty thinking…His just Obamas stooge, Obama say's jump, and Kerry ask's, "how high"…what a plonker…

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