Choosing between Assad, Obama or progress – Israel’s economy

Until recently, the centre of Jerusalem looked like the political map of the Middle East and North Africa. The roads had been ripped up and replaced by a light railway. It was a mess and few are certain that the new train system will improve transportation in the holy city. Confusion.

Meanwhile, shopkeepers have had a rough time. Walking along the pavements has been a nightmare. And yet, the centre of town is rocking along, somehow.

You could say much the same for the whole of the Israeli economy. Goldman Sachs has warned of the aftershocks from Assad’s clampdown. Growth, which has been sailing along at over 4%, may suffer. And there’s the Obama-Netanyahu spat, which could upset investors looking for stability.

Yet the economy continues to progress along towards its next station. Take these three pieces of current news items.

  • Reed Elsevier plc is in talks to buy Israel healthcare software company dbMotion for $250-300 million.
  • Applied Materials Israel Ltd. will hire 100 more employees for its R&D Center
  • The governor of the Bank of Israel, Stanley Fischer, is one of the main candidates to take over at the IMF.

It is now five years since Israel fought Hizbollah in Lebanon. Reservists were called up. The economy in the north of the country almost dryed up for 6 weeks. And yet, by the end of the same year, the country was on an economic high. Why?

Because, as people of Jerusalem have demonstrated, there is something intrinsic in Israel which ensures that hardships do not automatically get in the way of progress. The catch phrase of “thinking outside the box” becomes a subconscious day-to-day reality. I wonder if Moody’s have factored that intangible in to their analysis.

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One Comment on “Choosing between Assad, Obama or progress – Israel’s economy”


  1. […] Thus boasted the Finance Minister of Israel, Dr Yuval Steinitz. He has a point, and I have said as much in some of my previous blogs. […]


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