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By Pat Boone
The above question, either in word or implication, is being voiced by way too many these days, as people and governments cast about desperately for lasting solutions in the Middle East. Many Western and European political leaders – having heard the deprecations and the determination to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, from the likes of Palestinian Yasser Arafat, Saudi Arabian Osama bin Laden, Iraq's Saddam Hussein, Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and so many other power brokers in the region – have come dangerously close to deciding that little Israel is the "thorn in the side" of world order.
The next logical thought is: "Who needs Israel? Let her be erased, her people dispersed (or whatever), and the Middle East can settle comfortably into a harmonious Islamic community of states. Problem solved!"
What folly. What suicidal blindness.
I just returned from a momentous event in our nation's capital. An organization called Christians United for Israel, or CUFI, convened 4,000 people from all 50 states in several days of briefings and strategy sessions, culminating in an exhilarating, rousing rally in the D.C. Convention Center featuring Jewish leaders and top Christian ministers celebrating the things we hold in common and the spiritual bonds that unite us. The next day, several thousand of the participants fanned out over Washington and Capitol Hill, lobbying virtually every representative and senator on behalf of Israel and its sovereignty.
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Why? Couldn't we all see this is an exercise in futility, an unnecessary bother … that we'd all be better off if Israel didn't exist?
No, we all see clearly that the world needs Israel. The whole world.
What do I mean? Consider:
Israel, the 100th smallest country, with less than 1/1000th of the world's population, can make claim to an astounding number of society's advances in almost every direction!
Intel's new multi-core processor was completely developed at facilities in Israel. And our ubiquitous cell phone was developed in Israel by Motorola, which has its largest development center in the little land.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology was pioneered in Israel.
AirTrain JFK – the 8.1-mile light rail labyrinth that connects JFK Airport to NYC's mass transit – is protected by the Israeli-developed Nextiva surveillance system.
Bill Gates calls Israel "a major player in the high-tech world"; most of Windows NT operating system was developed by Microsoft-Israel; the Pentium MMX Chip technology was designed in Israel at Intel; both Microsoft and Cisco built their only R&D facilities outside the U.S. in Israel; and, with more than 3,000 high-tech companies and start-ups, Israel has the highest concentration of high-tech companies in the world apart from the Silicon Valley.
Get this: Israel leads the world in the number of scientists and technicians in the workforce, with 145 per 10,000, as opposed to 85 in the U.S., over 70 in Japan, and less than 60 in Germany. With over 25 percent of its workforce employed in technical professions, Israel places first in this category as well!
It goes on and on.
The Weizmann Institute of Science has been voted "the best university in the world for life scientists to conduct research." Israeli researchers have:
- Discovered the molecular trigger that causes psoriasis.
- Developed the Ex-Press shunt to provide relief for glaucoma sufferers.
- Unveiled a blood test that diagnoses heart attacks ... by telephone!
- Found a combination of electrical stimulation and chemotherapy that makes cancerous metastases disappear – and developed the first fully computerized, no-radiation, diagnostic instrumentation for breast cancer!
- Designed the first flight system to protect passenger and freighter aircraft against missile attack.
- Developed the first ingestible video camera – so small it fits inside a pill – used to view the small intestine from the inside, enabling doctors to diagnose cancer and digestive disorders!
- Perfected a new device that directly helps the heart pump blood, an innovation with the potential to save lives among those with congestive heart failure, synchronizing the heart's mechanical operations through a sophisticated system of sensors.
WHO NEEDS ISRAEL? WHO DOESN'T ?
Israel produces more scientific papers per capita than any other nation by a large margin; it has the largest number of startup companies globally, second only to the U.S.; it is No. 2 in the world for venture capital funds, financing all these advances; its $100 billion economy is larger than all of its immediate neighbors combined; and Israel is the only liberal democracy in the Middle East.
And while it maintains, by far, the highest average living standards and per-capita income, exceeding even those of the UK, Israel is the largest immigrant-absorbing nation on earth, relative to its population. It is truly an unparalleled marvel of our time.
So what's the point of all this?
Simply that the very idea of eradicating or even displacing Israel from its historic home is suicidal to the rest of the world, not just her Arabic neighbors. Though there are ominous biblical consequences pronounced on those who "curse Israel," there are also wonderful blessings promised those who "bless" her – and we're seeing those real, practical, humanitarian blessings proliferate around the world, blessing all humanity.
Stop just for a second and imagine a world today that never knew Israel. And then go further: Given their living standards, ideologies and attitudes toward all who dare to disagree with them, imagine what our world would be like if Israel's enemies held sway. Would you rather live in an Iran, Iraq, Syria or Afghanistan? Or an Israel?
Who needs Israel? Let's be honest. We all do.