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May 4, 2018  RSS feed
World News

Text: T T T

Israel’s economy exceeds expectations

By YORAM ETTINGER Jewish News Syndicate

In 1948, conventional wisdom considered the newly re-established Jewish state insolvent economically, indefensible militarily, a basket case, totally dependent upon handouts.

In 2018, Forbes Magazine quoted Warren Buffett : “I’m not Jewish, but Israel reminds me of the USA after its birth. The determination, motivation, intelligence and initiative of its people are remarkable and extraordinary. I’m a big believer in Israel’s economy.”

According to Forbes, “Buffett just purchased a $358 million stake in Teva Pharmaceutical, 1.8 percent of Teva’s outstanding shares. … In 2006, Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway purchased an 80 percent stake in Israel’s Iscar for $4 billion, its first international acquisition. … In 2013, Berkshire bought out the remaining 20 percent for $2 billion. … Other Israeli companies purchased by Berkshire include eVolution Networks, creators of wireless network energy savings software, Ray-Q Interconnect, a distributor of electronic components and AgroLogic, a designer of electronic control units for agriculture.”

The new book, Israel – Island of Success by Adam Reuter and Noga Kainan, provides more critical data on Israel’s surging economy between 1987 and 2017:

• Israel’s population increased from 4.4 million to 8.75 million

• GDP went from $35 billion to $358 billion; GDP per capita, from $8,000 to $41,000; national debt to GDP ratio, from 155 percent to 59 percent

• Tax burden went from 45 percent to 30 percent;

• Defense expenditures, from 17 percent to 4.5 percent of GDP; U.S. foreign aid from 7 percent to 1 percent of GDP;

• Exports, from $10 billion to $102 billion;

• Independent energy resources, from 4 percent to 65 percent (66 percent of electricity consumption); desalinated water, from 3 percent to 50 percent;

• Annual inflation, from 16 percent (450 percent in 1985) to 0.30 percent;

• Life expectancy, from 75 to 82 years; women’s participation in the job market, from 36 percent to 58 percent.

Since the year 2000, Israel’s economy has grown 65 percent, the second best among the 34 OECD (Organization for Economic and Development) countries.

Israel’s unemployment is 4 percent, the lowest in 40 years.

Brain drain? During 1980-2010, 30,000 Israelis with academic degrees left Israel for a year or more, while 265,000 olim (new Jewish immigrants) with academic degrees settled in Israel, representing a net gain of 235,000.

In 2018, Silicon Valley giant, KLA Tencor, acquired Israel’s Orbotech for $3.4 billion. Other recent top sales of Israel companies include: Intel acquired Mobileye ($5 billion), Lucent acquired Chromatis ($4.75 billion), HP acquired Mercury ($4.5 billion), Sundisk acquired M-Systems ($1.6 billion), Mitsubishi acquired Neurodrum ($1.1 billion) and Google acquired Waze ($1 billion).

This article was originally published at

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