Iraq: Islamophobes hide bomb in Qur’an — no, wait…
Actually the perpetrators were Islamic jihadists who not only misunderstood the peaceful teachings of the Book of Peace, but actually cut them out to make room for their bomb.
Yet somehow I doubt that there will be even a single riot over this horrific desecration of the holiest of books. Now, why is that? Could it be that riots over Qur’an desecration are just a tool to intimidate the Infidels? Naaah, that couldn’t be it.
Mythic anti-Semitism and Islamic radicalization alongside democratic aspirations and hopeful opposition; a look into contemporary Malaysian culture, politics, society
MALAYSIA – “The world is in complete disarray. Evil spreads across Arab countries like dark clouds. A man who awakes a believer might lose his faith at nighttime. People trade their religion for a tiny portion of earthly goods. Whoever remains faithful will resemble a man holding blazing cinders. The temple will be the reason for the destruction of a country. The rebuilding of Temple will accompany the destruction of a country and a horrible battle.”
Numerous texts circulate in the Muslim world, prophesying the ominous emergence of Dajjal, a false prophet considered to be “the Jewish King,” whose coming will incite Armageddon. Dozens if not hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world are extremely concerned with the impending coming of said king.
The text continues: “The occupation of Constantinople will be accompanied by the appearance of the king of Jews – Dajjal. Yes, the Jews are waiting impatiently to the arrival of their beloved king. And he shall appear; he shall conquer the earth, from east to west. He shall command all creatures to worship him. He will emerge from the valley between Syria and Iraq, and spread disarray and mayhem all over. His desire is to lead humanity down the path of utter disbelief or the assuming of some false religion. Many will follow him, saying that he provides them with food. He will instill in them a false hope of his ability to restore the world’s balance.”
Dajjal signifies the ultimate evil under Islamic belief. The meaning of the name in Arabic is “deceiving” – a false messiah.Muslim traditions depict him in various manners: Some argue he would be emerge as a man blind in one eye; others see him as a monstrous creature, whose head is above the clouds and his feet are in the bottom of the ocean.
Regardless, the fate of the Jewish King is determined. He is to rule the earth a mere 40 days until Allah’s true messenger will defeat and destroy him and all his followers, leaving only Muslims to walk the earth.
I was not aware of the intensity of this apocalyptic prophecy until I stumbled upon the overwhelming abundance of Dajjal-related literature in book shops and booths across Malaysia. From the capital’s Islamic museum’s gift-shop to improvised paraphernalia market booths, books focusing on the false-prophesying Jewish King are sold alongside decorative Quran books, prayer mats and DVDs featuring local preachers.
Apocalyptic recounts of Dajjal (Photos: Eldad Beck)
Islamic apocalyptic literature thrives in Malaysia, as in the rest of the Muslim world. Clerics and self-ordained experts offer contemporary interpretation to the figure of Dajjal and his imminent emergence. Many argue that his coming is correlated with conflicts in the Middle East: Prediction of a nuclear war between Iran and Israel; Jewish domination of the Temple Mount and the expulsion of Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock; revolution in the Arab world; the suffering of Muslims by the hands of Christians and Jews. On top of everything, recent natural disasters – from massive earthquakes to floods in Southeast Asia – are perceived as omens for nearing fulfillment of the apocalyptic prophecy.
According to Islamic oral tradition, upon Dajjal’s arrival, an army of 70,000 Jews from Iran’s Ispahan will follow him. The uncompromising prophecy ignores the fact that Iran currently boasts only 20,000 Jews. Nevertheless, according to Muslim scholars, Dajjal is undoubtedly Jewish, or as they put it: “The son of a Jewish mother.” Some even argue that he was already born and is residing in the Jewish State.
Jews and other minorities
In Malaysia, one of the strongest economies in Southeast Asia, with a population of some 30 million people, there has never been a large Jewish community. Following the British Empire’s mid-19th century conquest of the emirates that would later create the Federation of Malaya, a few merchant families from Iraq, India, China and Europe have settled in the multicultural port-cities Melaka and George Town.
During WWII, most of Malaysia’s Jewish population fled to Singapore, in fear of the Japanese invasion. Nearly all Jews that returned after the war left the country again in the 1970s, due to a bloody civil war and ensuing islamization-related anti-Semitism.
The synagogue at the constituent island of Penang was officially closed in 1976, for lack of worshipers, and what was once known as the “street of the Jews” is now the residence of the ruling Islamic party’s offices.
Hardly any Jews left. The Penang Jewish cemetery
Though many in the world perceive Malaysia as a successful example of a country that manages to integrate Islamic law with democratic values, the country’s Muslim majority – though it comprises only a little over 50% of the population – seems to exercise hostility toward many of the country’s minorities, which could perhaps account for the fact that even though there are hardly any Jews in the country, it is infected with anti-Semitism.
“Wherever you look, you’ll see how the government… exercises a divide and conquer policy so as to stop the key minorities – Chinese, Indian, Christians, atheists, Buddhists and Pagans – from uniting,” said a Malaysian opposition activist, who spoke anonymously.
“A little over 40 years ago, the ‘democratic’ Malaysia declared a state of emergency, by which the government was empowered to detain any person indefinitely without trial,” he said.
“This country has no democracy. You can’t express your opinion freely. The government controls he media. You can’t believe a word of what is being printed in the papers. Instead of creating a shared national identity, they’re creating cultural ghettos for the minorities, and offer benefits to everyone willing to convert to Islam – from governmental assistance to jobs.
“This religious apartheid,” the activist continued,” is seen at its worst in east Malaysia… where a large population of pagans reside. We know of many cases in which medical students were sent to eastern regions to perform surgeries on non-Muslims… when in fact the students were conducting medical experiments on these people, experiments that would often result in death.”
The ubiquity of anti-Jewish perceptions in Islamic culture is therefore linked to a political atmosphere of general xenophobia and an absence of an actual Jewish community to humanize the demonic misconceptions. All that, coupled with a diplomatic instability when it comes to ties with the Jewish State, raises many questions in regards to the democratic future of Malaysia, in the face of potential radicalization, as well as to its cultural and political ties with Israel.
Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, 64, a former minister and deputy prime minister and said in January interview with the Wall Street Journal: “I support all efforts to protect the security of the state of Israel.”
As a result, Malaysian government officials accused Ibrahim for essentially acknowledging the State of Israel, in contradiction with the declared policy of his country. Protests were organized against him, claiming that he was “pro-Israeli.”
Ibrahim was forced to issue an official statement declaring that his words were taken out of context and that he in fact expressed his support of a two-state solution that would ensure both that the rights of Palestinians were defended and that Israel’s defense was secured.
In May 2010, however, Ibrahim spoke against Jews, up to a point that B’nai B’rith International, a prominent Jewish human rights organization condemned him, claiming that he was a “purveyor of anti-Jewish hatred.”
Ibrahim’s branding as a “political chameleon” by his own country is indicative to the country’s fluctuation.
Malaysians protest for fair elections (Photo: EPA)
Furthermore, though the Malaysian government vowed that it would not construct any diplomatic ties with Israel, Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has maintained amicable ties with Israeli prime ministers – in the 1990s as peace negotiations with Palestinians were at their peak, Mahathir was corresponding with Israeli prime ministers Benjamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak andYizthak Rabin, in a letter to whom he added in his own handwriting: “I wish for normal ties with Israel.”
Anti-Israel protest after 2010 Gaza flotilla (Photo: Reuters)
A US senior official who was involved with efforts to promote Israeli-Malaysian ties told Ynet that, the “Local regimes repeatedly reject our efforts to promote (diplomatic ties with Israel) and claim that they’re afraid of the reactions of fundamentalist Islamists.”
A Westerner familiar with Malaysian history argued that “part of the Malaysian Muslims’ sympathy with Palestinians stems from the fact that most Muslims in the country are the descendants of the region’s indigenous people. The rest of the ethnic minorities – Chinese, Indians and others – were brought in by the British colonization systems in order to develop Malaysia’s economy. The latter started to accumulate assets, funds and statuses that the Muslims feel were taken away from them.
“Ever since the independence, and especially under the rule of Mahathir, there was an effort to strengthen the economic, political and public status of Muslims. From the 1970s onwards, a clear process of Islamic radicalization has been consequently underway, and the Palestinian issue and subsequent anti-Semitic atmosphere have been a dominant part in that radicalization,” the source noted.
According to the estimates of the anonymous opposition activist, “If political upheaval indeed occurs, it will only be in the direction of further radicalization, seeing as radical Islamists are part of the opposition. The Islamists are perceived as ‘clean’ politicians in the face of a corrupt government. They will also get many votes of Chinese and Indian voters.
“So many people around me are willing to go the extra mile to finally bring down the ruling party, but they’re not really taking into account the meaning that their votes will have on their futures,” the activist concluded.
Women and girls continue to be the worst affected by Syria’s conflict, but their suffering rarely makes the headlines. Among the men who have died in the conflict, many will be honoured as martyrs. Those who have survived suffering at the hands of the regime will return to their homes as heroes. But women, including victims of sexual assault and refugees, will remain permanently stigmatised in conservative societies that simply do not see their suffering as equal.
It is common to see on Arabic online forums requests by men “seeking marriage from Syrian girls”. At a price ranging from 500 to 1,000 Saudi riyals (US$133 to US$266), girls are reportedly being taken from refugee camps in Jordan. Saudi Arabia is most often named as the destination, but a similar trend is reported in other countries including Iraq and Turkey. In a column in July, I wrote that Syria’s war, like every conflict, would have profound and long-lasting effects for women and girls, even for those who have escaped the battlefield. It is very clear that this is already happening. In recent weeks, Arabic media have reported that women in refugee camps, mostly minors, are being sexually exploited under the pretext of marriage.
The Saudi columnist Mohammed Al Osaimi, who first highlighted the online posts, wrote that parents feel compelled to marry their daughters off to strangers because they see that as a better option than staying in a refugee camp.
The trend was also triggered by clerics such as Sheikh Adnan Arour, a hardline Syrian cleric, who has issued fatwas to encourage men to marry victims of sexual assault and “cover their shame” through marriage. But the fatwas ironically have led to further sexual exploitation.
In these classified ads, men post brief requests on different websites, often leaving only their first names and email addresses. “I am looking for a Syrian wife,” a man identifying himself as Asa’ad wrote on a website. “I am a man of means and I fear God. My Syrian sisters are decent and honourable.”
Many other comments are far more demeaning. A man, who identified himself only as “Jordanian”, sardonically wrote “no woman deserves sympathy these days”, in reference to dishonesty. Another man who called himself Abdulsamad wrote a longer post explaining that his desire to marry a Syrian woman had preceded the conflict, apparently to present a better case.
Another man wrote: “This is not a question of exploitation. It is a question of supply and demand.” He suggested a reduction in dowries to 100 dinars [US$142] because of the increasing number of refugees.
Maher Abu Tair, a Jordanian columnist, wrote: “All we hear these days is talk about a Syrian wife who can be bought with 100 dinars. One could go to any of the areas of Al Mafraq, Amman, Ramtha, Irbid or Karak to pick for himself a Levantine houriya.” (A Levantine houriya, or virgin, is a reference to women from the Levant known in Arab cultures for their beauty). He added that people are encouraged by the speedy, cheap and conditions-free marriages.
Abdelbari Atwan, the editor-in-chief of the pan-Arab newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi, wrote that old men from different Arab countries have married girls from refugee camps who are below the age of 15. “Marriage of minors in refugee camps is a type of rape that must be stopped immediately,” he wrote. “Perpetrators must be brought to justice.”
Why doesn’t the Syrian opposition raise the issue to regional governments? Why doesn’t it have a team dedicated to the welfare of refugees? According to a western diplomat who works on Syrian issues, the opposition receives sufficient relief resources, but the funds are misspent. A credible Syrian opposition would raise the issue with authorities and international organisations.
While it is difficult to prevent families from marrying their daughters off, especially given the absence of laws banning child marriage, improving refugees’ quality of life could help to stamp out abuses.
Exploitive marriages in conflict are not new to the region. It has been common for clerics to call on worshippers to protect Muslim women by marrying them, including Bosnians, Chechens and Iraqis, and now Syrian women. But these calls consistently lead to further exploitation and, subsequently, further stigmatisation.
The comments on various websites - in the thousands - underscore the plight of women in the Arab world in general, and misogynist attitudes persist despite the supposedly enlightened popular revolts across the region. Arab women are fighting injustice on many fronts, from sexual harassment to child marriage to blackmail. Their suffering is perpetuated by institutional, religious and social attitudes that view women as subordinate to men.
In conflict-torn areas, their plight takes on another dimension. Regardless of the circumstances of their suffering, women somehow are held responsible for being exploited. The traditional view of a woman as a person who needs protection is applied only when she does not actually need protection; when women really need help, too many men forget their traditional role as protectors, blaming women for failing to protect themselves.
As it progresses, this war is turning men into monsters, not only because they are killing each other, but because so many are turning a blind eye to exploitation.
Why Israel need not bomb Iran?
Like most reasonable people I am no fan of wars. In fact as a businessman, I understand the power of money. Look, we have destroyed Cuba without a single weapon. If China was not supporting North Korea, they would have come into line a long time ago. Before warmonger Dick Cheney decided to invade Iraq, the country was a garbage dump, posing no meaningful threat to the rest of the world. Iran is also a pariah for the civilized world and with the sanctions we now have in place, the country is on the verge of imploding. As soon as their currency becomes worthless, I expect the Iranians to completely backoff. It will be a waste or American and Israeli resources to drop even one bomb on Iran; they are ending their death on their own.
Let’s assume your analysis about Iran is correct. We have to take into consideration that their imploding may not occur _before_ they get to nuclear weaponry. Once they are at that stage, they could get all the sanctions lifted by just threatening to use their newly acquired weapons. And, at that point in time, carrying out an attack would be too costly for Israel, The US, the Golf countries, Europe, and basically the whole world.
Also, didn’t the US prevent (and was willing to use force to prevent) Cuba from having nuclear weapons on its soil?
Iran calls for the destruction of Israel on a regular basis; relentlessly put down protests for democracy inside the country; is participating in the slaughter in Syria; has abetted killing in Iraq and now in Afghanistan; turned Lebanon and Gaza into terrorist strongholds; and has established terror networks in over 20 countries.
All this is without nuclear weapons. Imagine Iran with those weapons.
Environmentalists launch primitive diatribe against Israel that smacks of anti-Semitism
“The desert is groaning”, declares Cornerstone magazine, the Palestinian Sabeel Theology Center’s publication. “The Israeli army and settlers have polluted the Palestinian areas,” writes Reverend Naim Ateek, who heads the notorious anti-Jewish Christian center.
Despite the fact that Israel is the only country to enter the 21st century with a net gain in forest growth, Green activists today are among the most virulently anti-Jewish. The Green Party mayor of Aachen, Hilde Scheidt, has just waged a media campaign against Israel. Prominent German author Henryk Broder called her a “Green anti-Semite,” after she defended a cartoon depicting a man sporting a Star of David on his bib as he devours a young Palestinian boy with a fork draped in an American flag and a knife with the word “Gaza” written on it.
Back in 1991, German Green Party’s spokesman Hans Christian Stroebele defended Saddam Hussein’s rockets on Tel Aviv because “Iraq’s attacks are the logical, almost compelling, consequence of Israel’s politics vis-à-vis the Palestinians and the Arab states,”
The Green lies about “the ecology of occupation” are now spreading at the highest European levels. The French parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee recently published an unprecedented report accusing Israel of implementing “apartheid” in its allocation of water in Judea and Samaria.
Meanwhile, environmentalists accuse Israel’s army of being a major cause of cancer in Palestinian children. This blood libel began in 1999, when Suha Arafat declared that Israeli gas is poisoning Arab children: “Our people have been subjected to the daily and extensive use of poisonous gas by the Israeli forces, which has led to an increase in cancer cases among women and children.” She also said that Israel has “chemically contaminated about 80% of water sources used by Palestinians.”
The pollution myth spread through the literary milieu as well. British dramatist David Hare wrote that the Jews have “polluted” the Promised Land and “do not belong here.” According to this racist belief, “native species” originate in a certain place and that is where they “belong.” Hence, Israel’s “colonization” threatens the “original” Arab environment.
Green NGOs accuse Israel of “warfare ecology,” “deforestation,” “erosion of agricultural lands,” and “expropriation” of Arab land for Israel’s national park. European geographers denounce settler “cementification” and the “architecture of occupation” in a growing topography of hatred.
Elsewhere, Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine,” led by the British Richard Rogers, has called for a boycott of architects, planners and companies involved in building the security fence, which stopped the suicide bombers. Eyal Weizman, an Israeli architect living in London, calls it a “war crime.”
Elements within the Green movement have adopted Nazi-style rhetoric to blast Israeli businesses. Literature distributed by the boycotters outrageously describes Judea and Samaria citizens as “parasites.” Products from the Golan Heights, such as wines, mineral water and milk are targeted. Flowers are targeted by the BDS movement, because since Israel entered the flower export market in the 1970s this business has been blooming.
The Ahava cosmetics company is also targeted by Green activists. In the last three years, thousands of Western women in bikinis, belonging to the feminist association Code Pink, protested outside Ahava shops in the US and in European capitals. They are usually streaked with mud, some featuring the words “Ahava is a dirty business.” The slogan of the campaign is fashionable and catchy: “Stolen Beauty.”
Dutch government promoted an investigation to determine whether Ahava should enjoy tax privileges granted to foreign goods. Elsewhere, Sex and the City actress Kristin Davis was suspended by humanitarian group Oxfam International after joining an Ahava advertisement campaign.
In the final analysis, environmentalists have launched a primitive diatribe against Israel that smacks of classic, medieval-style anti-Semitic blood libels. It demonizes the Jews for “dispossessing” and “polluting” a fabricated, “archetypical Palestine.” Yet this campaign has proven, again, that anti-Semitism is the most dangerous pollutant.
Giulio Meotti, a journalist with Il Foglio, is the author of the book A New Shoah: The Untold Story of Israel’s Victims of Terrorism
Jerusalem—It probably felt a bit like this in the months before the Six-Day War of 1967, when Israel launched its hugely successful preemptive strike against Egypt and its allies. Forty-five years later, the little country that is the most easterly outpost of Western civilization has Iran in its sights.
There are five reasons (I am told) why Israel should not attack Iran:
1. The Iranians would retaliate with great fury, closing the Strait of Hormuz and unleashing the dogs of terror in Gaza, Lebanon, and Iraq.
2. The entire region would be set ablaze by irate Muslims; the Arab Spring would turn into a frigid Islamist winter.
3. The world economy would be dealt a death blow in the form of higher oil prices.
4. The Iranian regime would be strengthened, having been attacked by the Zionists its propaganda so regularly vilifies.
5. A nuclear-armed Iran is nothing to worry about. States actually become more risk-averse once they acquire nuclear weapons.
I am here to tell you that these arguments are wrong.
Let’s take them one by one.
Niall Ferguson: Why Israel has a strong case for striking Iran
The threat of Iranian retaliation. The Iranians will very likely be facing not one, not two, but three U.S. aircraft carriers. Two are already in the Persian Gulf: CVN 72 Abraham Lincoln and CVN 70 Carl Vinson. A third, CVN 77George H.W. Bush, is said to be on its way from Norfolk, Va.
Yes, I know President Obama is a noble and saintly man of peace who uses unmanned drones only to assassinate America’s foes in unprecedented numbers after wrestling with his conscience for anything up to … 10 seconds. But picture the scene once described to me by a four-star general. It is not the proverbial 3 a.m. but 11 p.m. in the White House (7 a.m. in Israel). The phone rings.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: Mr. President, we have reliable intelligence that the Israeli Air Force is in the air and within an hour of striking suspected nuclear facilities in Iran.
POTUS: Damn. What should I do?
CJCS: Mr. President, I want to recommend that you provide the Israelis with all necessary support to limit the effectiveness of Iranian retaliation.
POTUS: But those [expletives deleted] never ran this past me. They went behind my back, goddammit.
CJCS: Yes, sir.
POTUS: Why the hell should I lift a finger to help them?
CJCS: Because if the Iranians close the Strait of Hormuz, we will see oil above $200 a barrel.
POTUS [after a pause]: Just a moment. [Whispers] How am I doing in Florida?
David Axelrod [also whispering]: Your numbers suck.
POTUS: OK, General, line up those bunker busters.
Israeli soldiers conduct a drill in Tel Aviv., Ariel Schalit / AP
The eruption of the entire Muslim world. All the crocodiles of Africa could not equal the fake tears that will be shed by the Sunni powers of the region if Iran’s nuclear ambitions are checked.
The double-dip recession. Oil prices are on the way down thanks to concerted efforts of Europe’s leaders to reenact the Great Depression. An Israel-Iran war would push them up, but the Saudis stand ready to pump out additional supplies to limit the size of the spike.
The theocracy’s new legitimacy. Please send me a list of all the regimes of the past 60 years that have survived such military humiliation. Saddam Hussein’s survival of Gulf War I is the only case I can think of—and we got him the second time around.
The responsible nuclear Iran. Wait. We’re supposed to believe that a revolutionary Shiite theocracy is overnight going to become a sober, calculating disciple of the realist school of diplomacy … because it has finally acquired weapons of mass destruction? Presumably this would be in the same way that, if German scientists had developed an atomic bomb as quickly as the Manhattan Project, the Second World War would have ended with a negotiated settlement brokered by the League of Nations.
The single biggest danger in the Middle East today is not the risk of a six-day Israeli war against Iran. It is the risk that Western wishful nonthinking allows the mullahs of Tehran to get their hands on nuclear weapons. Because I am in no doubt that they would take full advantage of such a lethal lever. We would have acquiesced in the creation of an empire of extortion.
War is an evil. But sometimes a preventive war can be a lesser evil than a policy of appeasement. The people who don’t yet know that are the ones still in denial about what a nuclear-armed Iran would end up costing us all.
It feels like the eve of some creative destruction.
Gordon Duff, senior editor at Veterans Today, offers a sweeping view of America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the WikiLeaks saga, and the events of 9/11. Duff, a Marine veteran of Viet Nam, claims intelligence sources worldwide, especially in Pakistan. He asserts that most events called “terrorism” are false flag events, that Israel’s Mossad is in control of much of the disinformation in circulation today, that bin Laden has been dead for years, that all top officials of the Federal Reserve are dual citizens with “Israeli passports in their dresser drawers next to the marijuana”, that North Korea’s submarines and the nuke they tested came from Israel, and that the WikiLeaks leaks were orchestrated in Tel Aviv. He also has a very different view of Pakistan’s ISI and the insurgents lumped together as the “Taliban”. Duff is an amiable man whose rambling narrative is loaded with information that can’t be proved or disproved by those of us without security clearances, yet his worldview is fascinating and very different from corporate media reports and “conventional wisdom”. Your humble host encourages you to listen with an open mind and adequate skepticism, and decide for yourself.
There is no constant outcry—as there is for the birth of Arab state #22—for even basic human rights, let alone the birth of even one single political entity, for any of the region’s largely subjugated and oppressed non-Arab peoples. They are simply expected to accept their Arabized fate. Indeed, perhaps the most famous Copt of modern times, Dr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the late Egyptian President Sadat’s Foreign Minister and former Secretary General of the United Nations, told visiting Israeli author, Amos Elon (quoted in my own new book http://q4j-middle-east.com), that to “be accepted” in the region, Israel must consent to being Arabized.
Now, read those above quotes, yet again, from those Amazigh spokesmen and see how pathetically hypocritical the so-called voices of Liberal ethical enlightenment truly are.
Why is there no day-to-day demands from The New York Times—as is done on behalf of Arabs, who could have had their 22nd state (and second one in “Palestine”—Jordan created in 1922 from about 80% of the original 1920 Mandate) decades ago if they just didn’t really want that state to replace Israel instead of existing alongside it—for Arabs to allow tens of millions of North African Amazigh parents to practice their own culture, speak their own language, and such and likewise for millions of Kurds in Syria as well?
While the situation is reported to have recently improved in some parts of North Africa, it’s still too early to jump for joy. But again, why have these situations been virtually ignored over the decades by the mainstream media—and in other quarters as well (shame on too many of those supposedly objective academics)? If Israel is not the alleged culprit, no one gives a hoot…The same situation, until the relatively recent overthrow of Saddam in Iraq, could have been said about the plight of millions of Kurds there as well.
While periodic tragic events like Arab gassing of Kurds and Arab genocide against blacks in the Sudan have been reported, once again, the dots have not been connected.
Where are the editorials demanding a roadmap for Kurdistan?
|—||Christopher M. Davidson, Dubai: The Vulnerability of Success (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008), p. 166.|
Israel’s population doubled in the first two years of its existence. Over the next seven years, the country grew by another third. Two out of three Israelis were new arrivals. Right off the boat, many refugees were given a gun they had no idea how to use and sent to fight. Some of those who had survived Nazi concentration camps fell in battle even before their names could be recorded. Proportionately, more Israelis died in the war for Israel’s establishment than Americans in both world wars combined.
Those who survived had to struggle to thrive in a stagnant economy. “Everything was rationed,” complained one new arrival. “We had coupon books, one egg a week, long lines.” The average standard of living for Israelis was comparable to that of Americans in the 1800s. How, then, did this “start-up” state not only survive but morph from a besieged backwater to a high-tech powerhouse that has achieved fiftyfold economic growth in sixty years? How did a community of penniless refugees transform a land that Mark Twain described as a “desolate country … a silent, mournful expanse,” into one of the most dynamic entrepreneurial economies in the world?
|—||Senor, Dan, and Saul Singer. Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle. New York: Twelve, 2009. p. 36.|