Whether you see Israel as a friend, enemy, or frenemy, it’s hard not to accept the reality that what the country has done in 65 years, particularly given their internal and external challenges, is nothing short of extraordinary. Put aside for a nanosecond if you can Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians — and I know it’s impossible for some to get beyond the occupation — and just focus on Israel proper. For a tiny state, in a tough neighborhood, the accomplishments in the fields of science, technology, agriculture, economic development, art, literature, and music have been remarkable.
Consider these impressive accomplishments:
1. Israeli GDP per capita is $32,800, 44th in the world, and 29th overall if you exclude countries with populations below 100,000 (and count the European Union as separate states). Israel ranks just ahead of Saudi Arabia and New Zealand and behind South Korea and France.
2. Israel is the world leader in startups per capita (1 per 1,800 Israelis).
3. It’s No. 3 in companies traded on NASDAQ after the United States and Canada (65 companies).
4. It’s 17th in total number of Nobel laureates (with the 96th largest population)
5. Israel holds more patents per capita than any other country in the world.