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Monday, June 14, 2004

Blogging Lite


You probably think I haven't been blogging much because I've been washing dishes or doing laundry or taking the dog for a walk. But no, I've been engaged in e-conversation with a local who means very well, hates Bush, opposes the war in Iraq, but is sympathetic with concerns about antisemitism. He made the mistake of prefacing a remark by saying, "Israel isn't perfect, by any means, but. . ."

I guess that's how you begin when you seek to defend Israel at cocktail parties attended by liberals, but it set me off.
Israel not perfect? No, but it's a helluva lot better than most countries on this earth. Considering that it was largely founded by refugees from Russian pogroms, the Holocaust and from persecution in Arab countries, that most everyone arrived speaking a foreign language and with only the clothes on their backs, that it's been under constant attack from Arab terrorists since even before it became a country and hasn't had a moment's peace, I'd say they're doing extremely well. They've accomodated immigrants from 100 countries on five continents, over a million just since 1990, and 23,000 last year. And for crying out loud, in terms of democracy, they just appointed a Christian Arab woman to their supreme court! They house a mosque in the Knesset building for the Arab Muslims who are elected representatives.

Israel has more political parties, museums and newspapers per capita than any other country in the world, produces more scientific papers and files more patents (both per capita) than any country in the world, has The Highest Average Living Standard in the Middle East, and a per capita income which exceeds that of the UK. Their economy is larger than all of its immediate neighbors combined (perhaps because over 95% of the population is literate, 24% of the workforce has university degrees and 12% hold advanced degrees). Fully 80% of all the biotechnology in the world comes from Israel, which leads the world in numbers of scientists and technicians in the work force. Among women and people over 55, they have the highest rate of entrepreneurship in the world. And they're the only country to have come out of the 20th century with more trees than it began with.

All this from a nation of less Jews than there are Muslims in France, from a country that is little more than twice the size of Rhode Island and surrounded by enemies.

Maybe it's not perfect, but you have to admit, it's miraculous. If it survives, it's only going to get better.