By Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger
Israel’s economic performance has defied conventional “wisdom,” political-correctness and steep geo-strategic, diplomatic and economic odds, transforming seemingly-insurmountable hurdles into boundless opportunities.
1. A January 11, 2017 European vote-of-confidence, in Israel’s economy, took place in the London Stock Exchange, when Israel sold to British, German and French financial institutions 2.25BN Euros in 10 and 20 year government bonds, while demand surged to 9.8BN Euros. It was Israel’s biggest Euro offering ever.
2. In 2016, Israel’s hightech sector raised an all-time high $4.8BN, compared to $4.3BN in 2015, $3.4BN in 2014, $2.4BN in 2013 and $1.9BN in 2012. 2017 has already ushered-in the $75MN invested, in Israel’s Kaminario, by the Honk Kong Waterwood Group, Silicon Valley Bank, Globespan Capital, Sequoia and Lazarus. Israel’s Health Watch raised $20MN from China’s Shijiazhuang Yiling Pharmaceuticals. Israel’s Corephotonics raised $15MN from the South Korean Samsung Ventures, Taiwan’s Foxconn and Taiwan’s MediaTek.
3. In 2016, Israel’s hightech sector featured $10BN in exits; the highest since 2012 ($11BN), including mergers & acquisitions, Initial Public Offerings (stock) and buyouts.
4. In January 2017, Israel’s foreign exchange reserves expanded to a record $98.4BN.
5. In 2016, Israel’s debt-to-GDP ratio declined to 60.4%, compared to 62.6% in 2015, 64.8% in 2014, 69.3% in 2010 and 105% in 2003. GDP grew by 3.8%.
6. In 2016, Israel’s exports grew by 2% to $86BN (excluding diamonds).
7. According to Dr. Adam Reuter, CEO of Israel’s Financial Immunities, Israel’s economic performance has featured a 31% growth since 2008, compared to the OECD average of 10% and the USA’s 12%; Israel’s GDP growth per capita surged from $27,000 to $38,000, compared to the OECD growth from $35,000 to $40,000 (Israel’s fertility rate – 3.13 births per woman – is much higher than the OECD’s rate of 1.6 births per woman, hence the large proportion of still non-employed Israeli youth, which lowers the GDP per capita).
8. The Jerusalem-based $9BN market-value car sensor manufacturer, Mobileye, collaborates with Germany’s giant car manufacturer, BMW, and with Intel in the development of an autonomous car. 40 trail autonomous cars are expected to be on the toads in the US and Europe by the second half of 2017. The Munich-based Roland Berger, an international consultancy firm, maintains that Israel has positioned itself at the forefront of the driverless/smart car revolution. Some 500 Israeli companies are devoted to various aspects of the smart car industry, and over $1.6BN was raised by them in recent years.
9. Israel’s Rivulis, headquartered in Kibbutz Gvat, merged with Greece’s Eurodrip, the world’s 4th largest irrigation company, establishing the world’s 2nd largest irrigation company. Rivulis operates manufacturing plants in Israel, South California, Georgia, France, Spain, Australia, India, Chile, Argentina and Brazil. Eurodrip’s plants are located in Central California, Turkey, Greece, Egypt, Chile and Peru.
10. 250,000 tourists visited Israel during December, 2016 – a new record – bringing the total of 2016 tourists to 2.9MN, a 3.6% increase over 2015.
Thus, Israel, a well-established military and intelligence powerhouse – a producer of national security for the US, pro-US Arab states and the Free World – is increasingly integrated into the global economy, emerging as an economic and technological powerhouse – a producer of cutting edge technologies for the US and other advanced global economies.