Last week, I attended a conference in South Hadley, MA. The conference was rather small since it was about a very specialized branch of physics. So, I was quite impressed by the high number of Israeli scientists. There were also several American Jews currently holding faculty positions at universities in Israel. Having seen this many scientists, I got the answer to a question I had been dealing with for a long time.
There are relatively many unbiased news agencies that keep telling people of the world about the brutality of Israel against the Palestinians. They do talk quite often about the plight of Palestinians especially the refugees. Considering that public opinion is not really unaware of how much Palestinians suffer why are they still in support of Israel and why Palestinians have never been able to use the public pressure to get a bit more of their rights?
One side of the answer to this question has to do with Palestinians themselves. Both the corrupt Palestinian Authority and Terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad are equally responsible. However, there is another side of the story which is usually forgotten, that is Israel.
Israel is the most (and maybe the only!) secular democracy in the middle east. Whenever there is a peace talk going on, it is between the prime minister of Israel and a king or a lifetime president of another country in the region. It was not until few months ago that Arafat finally accepted to hand in some of his powers to a new face. The type of the government aside, Israel's $100 billion economy is larger than all of its immediate neighbors combined. In proportion to its population, Israel has the largest number of startup companies in the world. In absolute terms, Israel has the largest number of startup companies than any other country in the world, except the US. Scientifically, Israel has the highest per capita ratio of scientific publications in the world by a large margin, as well as one of the highest per capita rates of patents filed.
There are some international values that all countries, including the US, respect. First how much democratic a country is and then how powerful its economy is. If Arab countries want Israel to admit the Palestinians' rights first they have to take care of these issues. There is also a lot for our country, Iran, to learn from Israel. Iranian diaspora should also take lessons from the Jewish lobby.
* The image on the right used to be a portion of the Israeli flag, that we had to remove in case it meant disrespect. -Editor