Read about why Israel, the "apple of God's eye", has become a nation of great accomplishments, via the Washington Times:
Getting it started
How one small endangered nation prospered
By Clifford D. May
"People forget how small Israel is. Its entire population is a little over 7 million - smaller than Lima, Peru. Its land area is about 8,000 square miles, smaller than New Jersey. By comparison, Jordan, its neighbor to the east, occupies 35,000 square miles; Egypt, to the west, covers 386,000 square miles.
There are more than 20 Arab states with a combined population of 325 million and more than 50 majority-Muslim states with a combined population of well over a billion. By contrast, Israel is the world's only Jewish-majority state - and 20 percent of its population is Arab, most of them Muslim.
So why is so much attention - and firepower - focused on this tiny nation? Israel's critics say it is because the Jewish state has deprived Palestinians of a homeland. But Jordan, situated on the three-quarters of historic Palestine lying east of the River Jordan, from which the country took its name when it was created in the 1920s, is populated, not surprisingly, mostly by Palestinians.
Palestinians also inhabit Gaza, from which Israel withdrew every settler four years ago. And, under various peace proposals, Israel has offered to remove its citizens from more than 90 percent of the West Bank, a territory occupied in 1967 at the end of a war with Egypt, from which it took Gaza, Jordan, from which it took the West Bank, and other Arab neighbors whose stated goal was Israel's eradication.
Defenders of Israel argue that it is despised for different reasons, not least because it is an outpost of Western values in a region, the broader Middle East, engaged in a long-term project of religious and ethnic cleansing. One country after another has become inhospitable toward its minorities. As a result, Jews, Christians, Baha'i's and Zoroastrians are among the minority groups that have been eliminated, decimated or compelled to flee to more tolerant corners of the world.
There also is the fact that, economically, Israel punches way above its weight. As Dan Senor and Saul Singer describe and document in 'Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle,' the 'greatest concentration of innovation and entrepreneurship in the world today' is found in the Jewish state: a higher percentage of GDP devoted to research and development than anywhere else in the world; more high-tech start-ups per capita than any other country; 80 times as much venture capital investment per capita as in China; more companies on NASDAQ than all of Europe combined.
What's more, Mr. Senor and Mr. Singer believe the conventional and sometimes stereotypical explanations for this success - e.g., Jews work hard, Jews are smart - are either wrong or insufficient.
A key factor, they theorize, is that virtually all Israelis serve in the military where a specific set of skills and values are pounded into them. They learn, for example, 'that you must complete your mission, but that the only way to do that is as a team. The battle cry is 'After me': there is no leadership without personal example and without inspiring your team to charge together and with you.' The Israeli military encourages a kind of entrepreneurship: the assumption of both responsibility and risk at a young age, coupled with on-the-job experience making life-and-death decisions.
In recent years, American military men and women have been facing and overcoming daunting challenges. Mr. Senor and Mr. Singer suggest that upon return to civilian life they should not 'deemphasize their military experience when applying for jobs' and that employers should recognize the skills and habits that young Americans are now acquiring while fighting for their country.
That is not an argument in favor of war. But war has been both declared against us and thrust upon us. Those who believe otherwise indulge a dangerous delusion. What's more, the inconvenient truth is that war, not peace, has been the norm throughout history. And reports of history's death have been exaggerated.
Israel may be a 'start-up nation,' but it also is an upstart nation. It defies the 'international community' by daring to defend itself, and it prospers even while under attack. For much of the world, such behavior is unforgivable."