Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Finally, some real commentary.

I guess we'll have to see how this goes.

With all of the unrest in the Middle East, the idea of even visiting Israel is scary for some. As I was speaking to a friend yesterday, he mentioned that during the Second Intifada in 2001, he felt places were empty. I know many post High School students stayed home and, as a result, many Yeshivos and Seminaries suffered greatly, even shut down.

And that was just because of the happenings in Israel. Imagine what people must think now. Syria, Yemen, Libya, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain and so on, are all fighting what are basically civil wars. What possible side effect would this have on the economy in Israel, not to mention everything else.

Time and time again, we see that the problems in a neighboring Muslim country often spill out into anti-Israel rhetoric. However, this time seems to be a bit different. This time, at least as we are seeing in the news, we are seeing a huge uprising against the despotic regimes that have been egregiously killing their own citizens, imposing 40 years worth of martial law and other ideals of complete totalitarianism. What concerns me about these civil uprisings, however, is the move to prominence of groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda and other radical groups that function well in the Muslim world. Civil strife is the breeding ground for extremism and as soon as that dictator is deposed, the possibility of an extremely radical ruler is very plausible.

Being that Israel is the kid that is bullied on the playground, the emergence of a newly crowned radical country, once tolerating of Israel, can flip around and turn on the existing treaties extremely fast, looking for anything to void the treaties to gain World Opinion.

What would this do to the economy and the overall well being of Israel? I am not talking about the diplomatic side of Israel. It seems to me that courting said world opinion is on the top of their lists. But what about the citizens, the tourists, the businesses, the business relationships with other countries, import and export? These are extremely scary times for the heartbeat of a democratic state.

The uncertainty war and terrorism is constantly hanging over the head of Israel. but when its already wild neighbors are throwing a party, the feelings are running hot. I remember seeing an article online about Syria. I don't recall if the article was an opinion piece or if it was actual journalism, but I remember reading that Syria was thinking about starting a war with Israel just to take the focus off of the impending civil war that was about to explode in the country. Opinion or Fact is moot. It is constantly on the minds of Israelis and Jews worldwide.

With this constant uncertainty, Israel is still surviving economically. It almost seems at times like it is a miracle of miracles. Maybe it is. Or maybe the actual support of Israel and its inhabitants isn't being reported fairly or even at all. Politically, Israel is a lightning rod for all sorts of problems. Economically, however, is a different story. As I have written about previously in other articles, massive multi-national companies are partnering with Israeli companies, such as the Proctor and Gamble / Teva Pharmaceutical partnership to develop over the counter drugs for every country other than America is amazing. Considering that in America it is a multi-billion dollar industry, imagine the gains it could have worldwide. This is only one example of the type of business rolling into Israel.

Real Estate in Israel is a booming industry as well. Many articles recently, before I started writing, spoke about the increase in interest and action in buying and developing real estate in Israel. That being said, Stanley Fischer, the current Govenor of Bank of Israel and a leading economist in Israel, did say he worried that the increased interest in buying and developing in Israel was a bubble, something that the United States knows about very well. Time will tell. But with the increased numbers of new Olim (immigrants) to Israel from all over the globe, it seems very hard to believe that it will actually be a bubble.

This part of a chart was taken from the Israel Agency.

These statistics come end in 2009. But, adding up from the year 2000, the overall amount of Olim equals 279,963 people. Being that in 2010, the estimated population is 7,653,600, that is a fairly large number. I don't think we need to worry too much about bubbles popping.

The chart does have a decrease in the number of immigrating people. There can be many factors to this. Besides for the negative news that is seen over the world over, people also worry about how they are going to live. How are they going to feed their families and keep a roof over their heads. This is the reason this website was started. We only see the negative reactions of Israel. The positives are merely a back seat to the latest bombing, the latest worry, the latest diplomatic attack from the UN. But, if we can bring out the positives of Israel, showing true professionals that not only is Israel a great place to live, but a great and lucrative place to do business, we can start seeing those numbers go back up. Job creation will breed Immigration.

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