The Prime Ministers Office of Binyamin Netanyahu is busier than Waterloo Tube Station. with an endless stream of Prime Ministers , Presidents , Heads of state and their Cabinet members from foreign lands visiting Zion. Delegations from Congress and the Parliaments of Commonwealth States are every fortnight occurrences. Netanyahu has Putin, Cameron European Heads of State and most of Obama's Cabinet Members and ranking members of both Houses of congress on Speed Dial, He regularly takes Sarah with him for inane shopping sprees while he chitchats and presses some flesh with European and Asian Heads of State. He is in very great demand at Davos , AIPAC and other American Cable TV .
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and other Western policymakers, joined by much of the "elite" Western media, have repeatedly argued that 68-year-old Israel is becoming increasingly isolated due to its defiance of global pressure to evacuate the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria, which tower over Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Ben-Gurion International Airport and 80% of Israel's population, transportation, technological and business infrastructure.Kerry and Obama live the fantasy that Zion is been isolated by the BDS campaign. They also live the fantasy that the two principal parties want a Two State Solution..... they definitely don't. K & O live the fantasy that settlements are an obstacle for peace..... that ship has sailed and sunk. There are 600 thousand Jews living in Judea and Samaria +350,000 living in greater Jerusalem in suburbs that long ago crossed the 1967 border with Jordan and the 950,000 in 2016 will be 6-10% more within a 12 to 18 month timeline. Building continues unabated in Shomron and Judea settlements who long ago were allocated land for residential and commercial purposes , No additional permissions are needed for building starts.
Since 1948, global pressure on Israel to commit itself to dramatic concessions has been a fixture of Israel's foreign policy and public diplomacy, accompanied by warnings that Israel was dooming itself to painful isolation. An examination of Israel's global position -- economically, militarily and diplomatically -- reveals that irrespective of Israel's uphill diplomatic challenges, reality routinely disproved these warnings as Israel demonstrated unprecedented integration into the global street.
Thus, alongside the rough diplomatic talk that has always pounded Israel, there has always been a mutually beneficial, geo-strategic walk. This is highlighted by Israel's unprecedented civilian and military cooperation with the international community, in response to growing international demand for Israel's military, economic, technological, scientific, medical, pharmaceutical and agricultural innovations.
Israel's increasing global integration is clearly reflected in a string of recent developments, which are consistent with Israel's well-documented 68-year track record:
Notwithstanding Europe's support of the Palestinian Authority and harsh criticism of Israel, NATO does not subscribe to the "isolate Israel" policy. The organization follows its own order of geo-strategic priorities and therefore refuses to cut off its nose to spite its face. Hence, on May 3, 2016, NATO significantly upgraded its ties with Israel, inviting Jerusalem to establish a permanent mission at their Brussels headquarters. This upgrade serves to expand the mutually beneficial Israel-NATO relationship in the areas of counter-terrorism, intelligence, battle tactics, non-conventional warfare, science, cyber and space technologies and defense industries, where Israel possesses a unique competitive edge.
While Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continuously blasts Israel in the diplomatic arena, Turkey did not block the recent agreement between NATO and Israel. Moreover, the balance of trade between Israel and Turkey has catapulted from $2.5 billion in 2009 to over $5 billion in 2015. Turkey also has not been able to ignore the unique niches of Israel's exports in the areas of defense, medicine, pharmaceuticals and agriculture.
India, the seventh largest, and one of the fastest rising economies in the world, has become one of Israel's closest partners -- second only to the U.S. Oblivious to the "isolate Israel" school of thought, India has become the largest consumer of Israel's defense systems, with Israel trailing only the U.S. and Russia in terms of military sales to India. On March 29, 2016, Israel's Rafael Advance Defense Systems concluded a long-term agreement with India's Reliance Defense Systems, which is expected to generate $10 billion in sales. A year and a half ago, Rafael won a $500 million contract to supply missiles to India's ground forces.
Seeking to leverage the momentum of the "integrate Israel" trend, China's Kuang-Chi technology conglomerate is launching an Israel-based international innovation fund to invest in early to mid-stage Israeli and global companies, reflecting the vigorous Chinese interest in mature and startup Israeli companies. Chinese investments in Israeli companies has expanded from $70 million in 2010 to $2.7 billion in 2015, while the China-Israel trade balance has surged from $30 million in 1992 to $11 billion in 2015. The trade balance could have been dramatically larger if it weren't for Israel's cautious attitude in light of China's close ties with Israel's enemies.
China has followed in the footsteps of Hong-Kong-based tycoon Li Ka-Shing, whose venture capital fund, Horizons Ventures, invested in 30 Israeli companies, accounting for almost half of its portfolio.
Reaffirming the "integrate Israel" reality, Fitch Ratings -- one of the three credit rating organizations designated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission -- recently upgraded Israel's credit rating outlook from "stable" to "positive," while maintaining its A rating. The upgrade generates a robust tailwind for foreign investments and foreign trade.
In April, while all advanced economies were struggling, Fitch Ratings lauded Israel's thriving economy in comparison to other OECD countries. Fitch commended Israel for its success in overcoming intense national security and homeland security challenges; reducing the ratio of government debt to GDP from 95.2% in 2000 to 64.9% in 2015; reducing the budget deficit to 2.1% -- the lowest figure since 2008; bolstering foreign exchange reserves to $90.6 billion and sustaining the strength of the shekel.
The fact that 350 global high-tech giants have established research and development centers in Israel exposes the lie behind the contention that Israel is risking growing isolation. For instance, on February 22, 2016, Oracle, which operates four centers in Israel, acquired Israel's five-year-old Ravello for $500 million -- the company's fifth Israeli acquisition. On March 3, 2016, Cisco Systems acquired its 12th Israeli company, Leaba Semiconductor, for $350 million. On March 10, 2016, Intel acquired its ninth Israeli company, Replay Technologies, for $175 million. In 2015, Intel, which is currently investing $130 million in a new center in Israel, exported $4.1 billion worth of products from its manufacturing plant in Israel. Intel Capital's portfolio includes some 60 Israeli startup companies. In 2015, global pharmaceutical giants such as Merck, Bayer, AstraZeneca, Novartis, Pfizer, AbbVie, Janssencilag, Roche, and Eli Lilly invested $150 million (compared to $130 million in 2014 and $100 million in 2012) in groundbreaking medical research, conducted in leading Israeli hospitals. Apple which has invest over $1,5 billion in Israel in the last 5 years recently announced that its three R & D centers will lead new technology development to make Apple less reliant of Samsung screen and battery technology. Apples entire Nanotechnology Research Division will also be moved to Israel within 2-3 years. Microsoft Israel and Google Israel.continues to add head count in its many R & D as fast as they can find them.Both are expected to start leading very large sections their companies R & D efforts by the end of 2016.
Leading investment funds are veteran supporters of the "integrate Israel" school of thought. For instance, the Silicon Valley-based Lightspeed raised $1.2 billion for its 11th fund dedicated to U.S. and Israeli startups. The Israeli investment funds, FIMI, Vertex Ventures and Israel Secondary Fund-2 raised $1.1 billion, $150 million and $100 million respectively, mostly from overseas investors.
At 68, Israel is highly integrated into the every single key global disciplines, in defiance of Kerry's warning that "if we do not resolve the issues between Palestinians and Israelis, there will be an increasing isolation of Israel." The secretary's warning is overwhelmingly squelched by global reality. In fact, 71% of the U.S. public considers Israel favorably, according to the February 2016 annual Gallup poll.