Israel? Why would anybody be writing about Israel at this time?
I’ll tell you why.
First, because I just spent two weeks there.
Second, because we need to answer the question of why nobody is writing about Israel.
Let’s start with the second issue first. What’s going on in American foreign policy? China. Russia. Saudi Arabia. Venezuela. Colombia. None of these countries are hot because of their relationship with Israel.
Israel has virtually dropped out of the headlines. Is that a good thing?
So what was I doing in Israel? There’s a sporting event called the Maccabee games; a global, every four years, Olympic-style competition.
Ten thousand athletes from 58 countries compete for 500 medals.
And the weird part? They’re all Jewish.
And the best part? One of them was my younger granddaughter, a college varsity track competitor in the javelin and shotput events.
So, off we went to Israel.
My only other time in Israel was in 2000. I remember a country focused on its recent past, neverending wars and its triple scarcity: oil, water and friends.
Israel was the perpetual United Nations punching bag, living in a neighborhood of its blood enemies. Yasir Arafat. The PLO. Hezbollah. The West Bank. Gaza. Iran.
Would it ever end?
Fast forward 20 years. It only took me two days in the luxurious David Citadel Hotel in Jerusalem to recognize the sea change of those 20 years. I summed it up in one word: Permanence.
Permanence. Israel is here to stay.
In 3000-year-old Jerusalem, everything is new. The walk from my hotel to the Old City is through a brand spanking new outdoor mall.
Nike. Foot Locker. Dior. All open. All permanent.
It was clear that in the local battles between the historical preservationists and the pro-tourist business communities there was a clear winner.
Everything was tourist friendly, just as the travel industry would want it.
Masada? Stairs and bannisters were installed to keep the tourists upright on the mesa.
The Dead Sea? A new complex of large family-friendly swimming pools was erected so the crowds could avoid the too hot, too salty, too rocky Dead Sea.
And then we journeyed to Tel Aviv, a truly world class city.
The locals there "brag" that it’s the most expensive city in the world.
Its metropolitan area exceeds four million residents. Its skyline is a match for any American city other than New York. The building cranes that dot the sky seem endless, many more than in Miami. The traffic? Also, like Miami.
The urban crime? Not like Miami, or New York — or any major American city.
Remember the scarcity of oil, water and friends. No more.
Oil is imported from India, the United States, Singapore, Switzerland and Russia.
But its natural gas, its energy fuel of choice, comes right out of the Eastern Mediterranean, as do its beautiful beaches. (Remember the tourists). Israel has become a rich country and can pay its own way.
Water? Desalinization is the process.
It’s energy intensive (oil and natural gas) and no one reminds the tourists of Israel’s lack of rainfall. As for friends, Israel is loaded.
President Trump jump-started a healthy Mideast union of the modernizing: Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Jordan and Egypt, to name a few.
Trade between these countries is growing rapidly.
The glue? Israel’s ability to stand up to Iran. Indeed, as we speak the Iran/Palestine "war" effort is humiliating itself. No Israeli casualties.
More Palestinian casualties from misfires than from Israeli fire. Additionally, Saudi Arabia gave Israel permission to use its (the Saudi’s) airspace.
That was unthinkable 20 years ago.
The Mideast is a healthier neighborhood and Israel is its military and commercial anchor.
That Tel Aviv skyline? It sports names on buildings such as IBM and Toyota.
Everybody’s in. It's not hard to imagine Tel Aviv as a commercial center for the entire Mideast. When trade comes, hostilities recede. The world is a dangerous place.
But Europe and the China Sea are hot and Israel and the Mideast are not.
Sid Dinerstein is a former chairman of the Palm Beach County Republican Party. Read More — Here.
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