Modern Israel remains a work in progress with many unsolved challenges. However, the overall picture is a tremendous success story against all odds.
When the Modern State of Israel was established in May 1948, few could imagine that it would survive, let alone thrive. Yet, against all odds, the reborn Jewish nation arose from the ashes after the Holocaust and became a powerhouse in merely seven decades.
The driving engine behind Israel’s tremendous success is the Jewish state’s unique spirit of turning disadvantages into advantages.
Israel was reborn merely three years after the Holocaust, which consumed six million Jewish lives, one third of the Jewish people. In 1948, Israel was poor, outnumbered and outgunned. Few military experts believed that the Jewish nation would survive the pan-Arab assault.
Yet Israel did not merely survive. It dreamed defiantly towards a brighter future for the Jewish people. From its humble beginning, Israel was forced to embrace innovation and hard work in order to deal with numerous daunting challenges of absorbing numerous destitute Jewish immigrants while fighting for her existence.
Feeding a rapidly growing immigrant population became a top priority. A tiny, dry territory did not look promising for building a Jewish future. However, Israel transformed its water shortage disadvantage into an advantage. The Jewish state quickly became a world leader in water technologies and water conservation. Israel succeeded in building one of the world’s most modern and innovative agricultures. Soon, Israel was not merely able to feed its population but even managed to export quality products worldwide.
Being surrounded by numerically superior enemies, Israel had to overcome this disadvantage by embracing quality. Being surrounded by hostile neighbors and abandoned by its former military supplier, France, Israel was forced to develop an advanced indigenous military industry. The Israeli Defense Forces became a unique incubator for cutting-edge technologies that secured Israel’s military victories. Many of these technologies had dual usages and played an instrumental role in transforming Israel into today’s leading Start-Up Nation.
Israel, which initially had to rely on imported outdated surplus weapon systems, eventually started producing its own world-class weapon systems. From Merkava tanks and drones to cyber-technology and the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system, Israel is today a global technology leader in both military and civilian areas.
Being poor in resources, Israel decided from the beginning to invest heavily in education and knowledge. However, technological knowhow alone was not sufficient in order to build a modern and thriving society. In order to build a modern economy that could finance its development, Israel had to significantly reform its inefficient socialist state structures.
In 1948, Israel was a backward and poor country. In 2019, Israel is a thriving first world society with a GDP per capita comparable to those of Britain and Japan. In 2019, Israel became the fourth country in the world to send the Beresheet spacecraft to the moon. While the spacecraft eventually crashed, it is part of Israel’s trial and error approach that eventually succeeds.
In 1948, Israel was isolated and destitute. In 2019, nations are standing in line in order to acquire Israeli technologies and benefit from trade with Jerusalem.
In 1948, only five percent of the world’s Jews lived in Israel. In 2019, almost 50% of the world’s Jews live in Israel. For the first time in 2000 years, the Jewish state is projected to become home to a majority of the Jewish people.
However, one crucial thing still eludes the Jewish state: genuine peace. Israel’s achievements would be impressive for any country in the world. Even more remarkable is that it succeeded while constantly defending her existence against hostile regimes bent on its destruction.
Am Yisrael Chai!