Forward Thinking

Israel and Our Economy

By Jane Eisner

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My latest editorial lamented how the debacle over the debt ceiling debate in Washington could be bad for the Jews. First, because we are Americans, and second, because a weakened America will lead to a weakened Israel.

The Israel connection was, in my mind, a geopolitical one — that is, Israel depends on American military aid and diplomatic muscle to remain a power in its rough neighborhood and to fend off challenges to its existence. I hardly thought a direct economic connection would emerge so quickly.

But then I saw the weekend’s news about the Israeli stock market.

The Tel Aviv stock exchange dropped just as precipitously as the New York stock exchange, losing 9% of its value in the last ten days; it’s now 16% below its peak last January. The Israeli index is sensitive to the dysfunction in America and the debt crisis sweeping through Europe, but that’s now compounded by the wave of popular protests that have thrown a sharp spotlight on the glaring inadequacies in Israel’s “start-up” economy.

So what happens here directly affects what happens there. This should make us think more broadly about what it means to be “pro-Israel,” shouldn’t it?


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