Israel at 70 - AJC eBook - Page 14

the unfinished, if undeniably complex, task of integrating Israeli Arabs into the mainstream. But it also doesn’t mean allowing such issues to overshadow Israel’s remarkable achievements, accomplished, as I’ve said, under the most difficult of circumstances. “It is home to universities and research centers that have contributed to advancing the world’s frontiers of knowledge in countless ways, and won a slew of Nobel Prizes in the process.” In just 70 years, Israel has established a thriving democracy, unique in the region, including a Supreme Court prepared, when it deems appropriate, to overrule the prime minister or the military establishment (and even jail ex-presidents and prime ministers who have violated the law), a feisty parliament that includes every imaginable viewpoint along the political and social spectrums, a robust civil society, and a vigorous press. It has built an enviable economy increasingly based on mind-blowing innovation and cutting-edge technology, whose per capita GNP far exceeds the combined total of its four contiguous sovereign neighbors — Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. It has joined the OECD, became a global hub of research and development, and is a magnet for foreign direct investment. It is home to universities and research centers that have contributed to advancing the world’s frontiers of knowledge in countless ways, and won a slew of Nobel Prizes in the process. It has created one of the world’s most powerful militaries — always under civilian control, I might add — to ensure its survival in a rough-and-tumble neighborhood. It has shown the world how a tiny nation, no larger than New Jersey or Wales, 8