Netanyahu: Military and economy are backbone of Israel’s success

The prime minister spoke of the interdependence of economics and security for Israel’s success at the Globes Business Conference on Wednesday.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told attendees at the Globes Business Conference Wednesday that economic, political and military power are all interdependent and crucial to the survival of the state — and to its success, which he intends to increase exponentially for the sake of its citizens, and to gain peace.

On the security front, he said, “Without military power, you will simply be slaughtered,” and that in this region “only the strong survive,” so the security of the state is paramount.

Saying he told the president of Moldova, whom he accompanied on his visit to Yad Vashem on Tuesday, “My paramount duty as prime minister is to ensure that there won’t be another Yad Vashem.”

He also said that “treaties are made with the strong, and peace is made with the strong. And if you are strong you can also preserve the peace, because peace is a fragile thing.”

Netanyahu said that Israel is trying to make peace with the Palestinians but that “they are always running away.” He noted that Israel is now in “a steadily expanding process of normalization” with the Arab world. Thus, “instead of the 1 percent of the Palestinians ‘wagging’ the 99 percent [of Arabs], we are changing the direction around.”

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Stopping Iran

Netanyahu said that Israel’s “primary need” is to prevent Iran’s nuclear armament. The Islamic Republic has built an “empire” consisting of itself, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, and yet Israel is “largely fighting alone to prevent this empire from taking hold,” he said. Netanyahu noted that “Iran simply wants to transfer a big portion of its army to Syria, and we are taking action against this.”

All of Israel’s military power costs money  – “a lot of money,” as he put it – and therefore Israel needs economic power as well. Noting that the $3.8 billion a year in American aid only covers 12 percent of the country’s defense budget, Netanyahu said that the remaining 88 percent must come from the free market.

“It’s the only way,” he said, because only a free, open economy can bring in enough investment, trade, and employment to fill the government coffers as well as achieve the standard of living Netanyahu envisions for Israelis in the future.

Israel a rising power

The prime minister gave an overview of how Israel’s current successes in such fields as high tech, big data, health, energy, and water have led world superpowers India and China (as well as certain Arab states) to cooperate and invest more and more with Israel.

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“I want to turn Israel into a rising world power,” he said, which necessitates raising the country’s GNP (gross national product). There are two ways to do this, he said: “Either you export new products or open new markets.” Netanyahu promised to help Israel do both.

The Globes Business Conference is taking place Wednesday and Thursday in Jerusalem. It is the largest and oldest of its kind in Israel, having been held annually for the last 20 years.

Over 150 speakers will address the conference over the two days, including Israel’s political and economic leaders. There will also be  special sessions focusing on topics like the biggest business exits of the year, the cost of living, future challenges of the labor market and  health system.