Speaking at the Saban Forum in Washington recently, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett warned the world against imposing a boycott on Israel: "If today you stopped using Israeli products, you wouldn’t wake up in the morning because the chip in your cell phone doesn’t work, because it’s made in Israel.
"You wouldn’t get to work because you don’t have Waze. You might have a heart attack because the stent in your heart doesn’t work. The vegetables you eat would be lousy because you’re not getting Netafim (irrigation systems). Your bank account would be hacked."
I am the person who develops and creates in Jerusalem those stents you are threatening the world to deprive patients of. And just for your information, Mr. Bennett, in the entire world those stents will be successfully replaced with other companies' stents.
The right's wild policy has already tarnished our reputation abroad and caused us to fail in preventing patent violations in Europe because the legal systems there are biased against us as Israelis.
What was considered an advantage of Israeli inventiveness and determination a decade ago has turned into a disadvantage of Israeli aggression and recklessness. From a successful state and a role model in innovation, we have turned into an outcast country due to our nationalism and aggression.
The Israeli stents will be replaced with American stents, the Israeli chips will be replaced with Korean and Chinese chips, and the Waze map will be replaced with the Microsoft map.
The advantage of Israeli innovation is much more important to us Israelis as exporters than to the world as a consumer. This is the innovation which can lead to an increase in our export abilities by tens of billions of shekels a year and serve as a budget increment which will provide a solution for the cost of living, medicine and education problems. On the personal level of a family in the lowest echelon, the part dedicated to welfare will amount to thousands of shekels a year.
But there's a fly in the ointment (on in Bennett's case, shrapnel in the rear end): In order to realize this potential, we need a market which will want to buy our innovative merchandise. Such a market will not develop, and it is even shutting up, as the world's response to the ongoing occupation and conflict.
Bennett's threats are not making the world's nations lose sleep, but are deeply shocking me and other exporters.
Naturally, as offensive systems like missiles and defensive systems like the Iron Dome improve, the ratio between the cost of defense and the cost of offense increases. The cost of intercepting a missile in Operation Protective Edge was 20 times the cost of the missile itself. This ratio will not go down; it will only go up.
The cost of "managing the conflict," as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refers to it, cannot be covered for long. The Arab states, including the Palestinians, will defeat us through war economy, even if they will never catch up with the sophistication of the systems we develop.
In their vote, Israeli citizens must decide between two things: A continuation of the occupation alongside a continuation of the deterioration of national and personal economy, an intensifying international boycott and eventually an economic collapse or difficult concessions only after the boycott circle is closed; or ending the occupation while giving up territories which were not critical for us in 1948 and 1967 and are not critical today either, ending the international boycott and a real chance for cooperation which will turn Israel, together with the region's states, into a global economic force which will compete with the United States and the European Union.
There is no point in a voting about the cost of living and economy instead of voting for a government which will bring about an end to the occupation and peace agreements.
Bennett's way benefits some 300,000 settlers at our expense, and they will support him in the polls. The road of peace and ending the occupation will benefit some six million Jews and 1.7 million Arabs and others living within the 1967.
In our vote, we must support those who can take this road and advance it.