FRONT PAGE MAG
by Joseph Puder
October 8, 2014
A new year is generally a time to assess the past and consider the future. The year 5775 (in the Jewish calendar) is no different. A look back at this past year, with the grim reality of the Islamic State’s (IS) cruel terror, the general instability in the Middle East, and the recent 50-day war in Gaza between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist terror group Hamas, could easily lead one to despair. This mayhem and bloodshed has also obscured the dynamism and progress the marks Israel’s society.
A comparison between Israel, circa 1984, with Israel of 2014 reveals the country’s incredible growth and its maturity as a developed nation – a nation now commonly referred to as the “Start-Up Nation.” A few statistical facts convey the nation’s dramatic growth. Israel’s population in 1984 stood at 4.1 million, doubling in 30 years to 8.2 million. This means more security for the nation by virtue of a larger standing army and reserves, and less impact on the economy during military mobilization.
While Israel is faced with an existential threat from a nuclear Iran, terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, IS and al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front in Syria, and Hamas in Gaza, the disintegration of Iraq and Syria with their substantial armies and armament, have lessened the overall strategic threat facing the Jewish state. Egypt, under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the largest and most powerful Arab state, and Saudi Arabia, the primary Sunni Arab state, have found common cause with Israel. They share a concern over Iran’s quest for regional hegemony, and its drive for nuclear arms, as well as Israel’s opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood, and other radical Islamist movements…..