April 10, 2010
An excellent piece by the Jerusalem Post's editor, David Horovitz, highlights the folly of Israel squandering billions on colonies and other non-productive sectors. This is all based on the findings of Prof. Dan Ben-David, an independent economist.
Looking over my notes, I realized that he used phrases such as “We’re going to hell,” “We’re in real trouble here,” and “We’re finished if we don’t act now” seven or eight times in our conversation. He also said his personal conviction that “we’ve not passed the point of no return” is not shared by many of his expert academic colleagues – which means that this voice of near-doom is actually considered, by others who are familiar with his data, to be something of an optimist.
Looking over my notes, too, I found some of the statistics I had written to be so chilling, so seemingly implausible, that I had to contact Ben-David again to make sure I had got the numbers right. Unfortunately, I had.
Coincidentally, the Bank of Israel this week released figures proving Ben-David’s point. These showed dramatically rising poverty rates in households with at least one wage-earner; even a steady bread-winner, in many fields, can’t keep his or her family’s head above the financial waters.
In the future, Ben-David fears, an economically
failing Israel will both lose the capacity to attract immigrants from the West, and will lose its best and brightest youngsters. But if that sounded bad enough, he then showed me scarcely credible figures underlining the brain drain that’s already been occurring here.
For every 100 British academic scholars hard at work in Britain, the figures showed, 2.1 British scholars had moved to the US. For France, the number was 2.9. For Italy, 4.2. For Canada, where cross-border movement is a two-way street, the number is 12.2. And for Israel? For every 100 Israeli academic scholars hard at work in Israel, a staggering 24.9 have moved to the US.