Only few people know what a leap Israel made in its gross national product (GNP) per capita in the past decade and that it now tops the list of European countries.
While the GNP was $15,600 in 2003, according to figures presented by the economist, it jumped to $40,620 per capita by December 2014, while the overall product jumped from $104 billion to $300 billion during that period.
The numbers per capita could have been even higher, except Israel has the highest birthrate in the West – more than three children per mother, following the Jewish demographic leap in the past decade, which has led to the blessed population explosion in Israel's kindergartens.
And where do we stand compared to the world? In Britain, for example, the GNP per capita reached almost $50,000 in 2008, while in Israel it was about half that number. Today, the Brits are only slightly ahead of us with $44,330. France and Germany (yes, the country from the pudding protest) are slightly ahead of us as well with $43,500 and $47,350, respectively. Behind us are countries like Italy, and Spain and Greece of course. In addition, for the first time this year Israel's GNP passed Japan's, which stands at $39,140.
This leap completely disconnects Israel from our region, with GNP figures standing at $3,700 in Egypt, $4,870 in Jordan and $6,070 in Iran. The only country in the Middle East with better numbers is Saudi Arabia - $26,510. But the Saudi celebration has also come to an end with the collapsing oil prices. Lebanon, meanwhile, is failing to pass the $10,000 threshold.
Most of the Israeli leap is the fruit of the mind, as the world is in an information revolution era, and the United States and Israel are the capital cities of this era. In addition, the flow of gas from the Tamar field adds to our product, and if a government worker had not frozen our gas market, the growth would have likely jumped much further.
These figures carry many meanings. Jealousy, for example: Just like Jews have been envied throughout the generations for their economic success, rising Israel may be a source of envy too – by Europe, for example. Why are they so successful all of a sudden? After all, Europe was too late getting on the information revolution train.
This time, however, anti-Semites will not be able to claim that we robbed someone else's resources. This leap is the fruit of the Israeli mind, invention, startups and initiatives. It is the reason why countries in the East – like India, China, Japan and South Korea – are drawing closer to us, raising the Asian market segment here. Israel will always be willing to cooperate, and it also invests billions in companies around the world as part of a wise economic and diplomatic investment.
These strengths provide us with better security resources, state budgets which grow every year, and investment and development for the future generations.
One could argue that the budgets don’t reach the man on the street, but this claim is groundless when one realizes that the two last governments invested NIS 100 billion (about $25 billion) in a complete change which is taking place as we speak in the areas of transportation and infrastructure in the country, the results of which we will see in the near future: Trains, roads, intersections, two new ports, another international airport, etc. In addition, the budget allows us to absorb more immigrates, settle and build.
There is no reason why we can't reach a GNP of $50,000 within a few years, which will turn Israel into one of the leading countries in the world. This requires extra effort, extra thought, creative imagination and productive ideas from all of us.
The responsibility lies on the citizens' shoulders, and we should hope that the government workers, the multiplying regulators and bureaucrats, will not get too much in the way of our next national left.