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September 16, 2014 / 21 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘war’

Israel’s Economy: Stunned But Still Strong

Monday, September 1st, 2014

Despite the numerous setbacks suffered in Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s economy remains resilient. Amid news of massive budget cuts needed to pay for the latest war and losses to the tourism and retail industries, statistics from many sources project a rapid economic recovery and continued growth of one of the world’s most vibrant small economies.

The war in Gaza has taken a significant economic toll on Israel, felt most sharply by the tourism sector, which comprises some 7 percent of Israel’s economic activity. Israel’s Ministry of Tourism reported that tourism for July dropped by 26 percent from the same period last year, representing a loss of at least $566 million.

Hardest-hit from the ongoing war are the businesses in the south of the country, where the majority of the Hamas rockets hit. Stores and restaurants have suffered from a drop in sales, while manufacturing facilities close to the Gaza border have been impacted by slowdowns in manufacturing due to incessant rocket alerts.

Israel’s Manufacturers Association estimated the total economic impact on Israeli manufacturers for the first round of the conflict at about 1.2 billion shekels.

A number of economic studies indicate, however, that these setbacks are likely to be temporary, with the overall forecast for the country remaining positive. In a study published in early August, Dr. Adam Reuter, former senior officer at the Bank of Israel and the head of several investment firms, found that over the last 30 years Israel’s economy has enjoyed vigorous and sustained growth that continues to this day.

Between 1984 and 2014, Israel’s gross domestic product (GDP) increased tenfold from ‎‎$30 billion to $300 billion, while per-capita GDP rose from $7,000 to ‎‎$38,000. Negative indicators fell likewise: The public debt-to-GDP ratio shrank from 280 percent to 66 percent, the external ‎public debt-to-GDP ratio fell from 55 percent to 10 percent, and the budget deficit-to-‎GDP ratio declined from 17 percent to 3 percent.

Over the same time period the defense budget as a percentage of the GDP went down from ‎‎20 percent to 6 percent, and annual inflation plummeted from 450 percent to 1 percent.

Further numbers from this study reveal Israel’s impressive performance in the global market: Foreign ‎exchange reserves rose from $3 billion to $89 billion, and annual exports climbed from $10 billion to ‎‎$90 billion, of which hi-tech exports accounted for $28 billion in the last year compared to just $1 billion 30 years ago.

The recent war in Gaza is not expected to inflict any lasting damage on economic performance, noted Yoram Ettinger, a former ambassador for Israel and a longtime consultant to the Israeli government. In all three previous wars – the 2006 Lebanon War and the previous two operations in Gaza in 2009 and 2012 – the reaction of the economy has been one of brief downturn followed by rapid and complete recovery, “a ‘V’ and not ‎a ‘U’ shaped graph,” Ettinger wrote in a letter published last week.

The consultant noted that according to the Bank of Israel, “the 2006 war against ‎Hezbollah triggered an immediate drop of GDP from more than 6 percent to a ‎negative growth of 1.5 percent, followed by a swift recovery to almost 10 percent ‎growth in the following quarter.”

Operation Protective Edge is expected to lower Israel’s 2014 GDP by 0.5%, but will likely have “insignificant influence on foreign investors, most of whom seek Israeli high-tech companies, which are minimally vulnerable to rocket and missile fire,” he added. With the Israeli military’s emphasis on minimizing civilian casualties and its focus on defensive rather than offensive technologies, the economy may even receive an incidental benefit from the war: “The ‎expanded global interest in Israeli-developed and manufactured, battle-‎tested defense systems (e.g., Iron Dome, Trophy, etc.) – which ‎demonstrated their unique capabilities during the Gaza war – is expected to ‎bolster a quick recovery and the continued growth of Israel’s economy,” Ettinger explained.

Joan Rivers in Critical Condition

Friday, August 29th, 2014

Joan Rivers is in critical condition, reportedly after she suffered cardiac arrest during throat surgery at a clinic.

Multiple news outlets on Thursday quoted New York City police as saying that the comedienne and talk show host, 81, was in critical but stable condition at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.

Her daughter Melissa Rivers stated from Mount Sinai Hospital, “She is resting comfortably and is with our family. We ask that you continue to keep her in your thoughts and prayers.”

Rivers, a stand-up comic and a reality star with a career launched in the 1950s, in recent weeks drew attention for her vigorous defenses of Israel during its war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Rivers was interviewed on Israel’s Channel 10 during the war. We have posted it before, but it’s still good for laughs. With all due respect to Ron Prosor, shouldn’t she be Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations?

JTA contributed to this report.

Soldier Dies from Wounds in Rocket Attack

Friday, August 29th, 2014

An IDF soldier who was critically injured last week by a rocket that hit Ashdod died from his wounds today. He is Israel’s 71st casualty in the war.

Sergeant Natanel Maman, 21, from Gan Yavne, an Ordnance Corps soldier, was critically injured by a rocket that hit Ashdod last Friday.

He was promoted posthumously from the rank of Corporal to Sergeant and is being buried Friday afternoon in the military courtyard of the Gan Yavne cemetery.

 

 

 

 

Netanyahu Tries to Sell Bill of Goods that Israel Won Goals in the War

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu gave a miserable sales pitch to the Israeli people Wednesday night in a weak effort to turn around public opinion that is unhappy, if not disgusted, with his agreeing to the cease-fire announced by Hamas and its new war partner, Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas.

The Prime Minister, followed by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantzת repeated over and over Israel’s achievements in the war

Netanyahu claimed that Israel achieved the goals it set from the beginning, mainly to restore quiet to Israel and to destroy terror tunnels.

He also rewrote his promise earlier this month that there will no cease-fire without disarming Hamas. Magically, that now has become a “long-term” goal.

He buried that promise among the insistence that “Hamas did not get one demand” that it made before the cease-fire.

Netanyahu listed Hamas’ demands as a deep-sea port, an airport, freeing terrorists who were released in the delay of the return of Gilad Shalit and then were re-arrested for returning to terror, mediation of Turkey and Qatar in cease-fire talks.

And what happened to his position that Israel would not negotiate under fire?

Technically, Netanyahu kept its word. Israel negotiators were recalled from Cairo every time Hamas broke a cease-fire and resume rocket fire on Israel.

But negotiations do not require face-to face discussions. Does Netanyahu want everyone to believe that Israel was not updated on the Egyptian-brokered plan and Hamas’s reactions?

Does he really want everyone to believe that Hamas and the Palestinian Authority announced the cease-fire without knowing that Israel would accept it?

And if indeed that is what happened and the cease-fire simply fell on Israel out of the blue, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s acceptance only shows how destructively passive he was, failing to seize the last days of the war to make demands.

More likely, the United States was involved. U.S. State Dept. spokeswoman Jen Psaki said yesterday that Kerry and his point man in the Middle East, Frank Lowenstein, were in constant contact with Netanyahu.

She said the United States was not an active participant in the talks but was part of the action, in one way or the other.

Netanyahu hammered away at all of the achievements that are well-known – the destruction of terror tunnels, the relentless attacks on hundreds of Hamas command centers, rocket launchers and weapons factories and storerooms.

Approximately 1,000 terrorists were killed in the war.

Israel’s successes in the war cannot be pooh-poohed. Hamas indeed was dealt a crippling blow. Hamas knows very well that the days are over when it can lob mortar shells and launching rockets at the Gaza Belt without a fierce retaliation.

However, the Israeli public, including the influential center and center-left in Tel Aviv, no longer trusts agreements with Arabs and does not trust the Israeli government, no matter who is charge, to walk out of diplomatic negotiations without opened up the chicken barn for the foxes.

“Hamas is isolated politically, and we received legitimacy in the international community,” Netanyahu insisted. He said that Israel won solid backing in the international community, and that is true – today. And maybe tomorrow.

By next week, it will have evaporated into thin air, and once again there will be international demands that Israel make peace by diplomatic suicide.

One of the most disturbing statements at the press conference was made by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who boasted that it will take Hamas 10 years to re-build.

So what do we have? A 10-year respite before the next war?

Netanyahu noted that Israel has allegedly enjoyed peace and quiet in the north since the cease-fire that ended the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

Rocket Stats for Operation Protective Edge

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

During the 50 days of Operation Protective Edge, Hamas and other Gazan terrorists fired 4,594 rockets and mortars at Israel.

Of those, 3,641 landed in Israel, and 188 landed in Gaza.

735 rockets were intercepted by Iron Dome.

Update: Netanyahu Agrees to Cease-Fire without Dis-Arming Hamas

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

Mahmoud Abbas has announced that Hamas has begin a cease-fire at 7 p.m., and Prime Minister Netanyahu told a somewhat upset Cabinet that he has agreed.

Massive rocket fire continued up until the beginning of the open-ended truce and even fifteen minutes afterwards.

Both Abbas, chairman of of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, and Ismail Haniyeh, his unofficial but de facto partner in Gaza, said Tuesday afternoon that Hamas was about to announce a long-term truce, but Khaled Mashaal, Hamas’s supreme authority who rejected or quickly broke previous ceasefire, has been mum.

Israel’s defensive stance, or secret negotiations behind the human shield of southern Israelis, left it without much choice other than to agree to the cease-fire since Netanyahu, par for the course, did not stick to his word that there would be no cease-fire without disarming Hamas.

Hamas has claimed “victory,” and the massive rocket fire immediately before and after Abbas’ announcement was a Hamas ploy to show Arabs how it can pummel Israel at will and then force the Netanyahu government to accept a cease-fire.

The agreement does not mention anything about dis-arming Hamas except to leave it for “negotiations” in a month.

We’ve been in this movie before, and if this cease-fire ploy is a re-run of broken promises, it won’t last long.

If it does, time will tell if it is nonsense anyway.

History has proven that is the case, but if  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and of the other self-appointed saviors of the Middle East jump on the a truce as a catalyst for more peace talks, meaning surrender by Israel, the  cease-fire could hold long enough until Abbas and his true peace partner Hamas stop getting what he wants.

If it does,  it’s rocket time again.

 

IDF: ‘Dear Gazans, Beware’

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

The Israeli Air Force dropped tens of thousands of leaflets on Gaza Saturday, warning them that any house connected with terrorists is a fair target.

The IDF has provided a translation of the leaflets:

“To the residents of Gaza,

“The IDF intends to attack terrorists and terror infrastructure across the Gaza Strip.

“Hamas leadership, while remaining in underground hiding, disregarding the civilians’ needs and wishes for tranquility, will be pursued.

“Israel is currently attacking, and will continue to attack, every area from which terror activities against Israel originate. Every house from which militant activity is carried out, will be targeted.

“For your own safety, prevent terrorists from utilizing your property for terror agendas, and stay away from every site in which terrorist organizations are operating.

“The IDF calls you to distance yourselves from where fire was directed at Israel. The IDF’s campaign has not​ been ​concluded.

“Beware

“Israeli Defense Forces”

A recorded message to Gaza residents stated, “Hamas leadership has decided to drag you to another battle. Prevent terrorists from utilizing your property for terror agendas, and stay away from every site in which terrorist organizations are operating.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/idf-dear-gazans-beware/2014/08/24/

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