Question: What is the state of Israel today?Ronen Bergman: I think that if a foreigner would come for the first the time to Israel, to Tel Aviv, he would find it very close to what he sees as American life. Tel Aviv is the most vibrant, lively, peaceful city in the Middle East and has nothing to be ashamed in comparison to London, Berlin or Barcelona. And nobody would sense that there’s an ongoing clash between the Israeli and Palestinians, just a hundred kilometers away down south or some huge tension 200 kilometers north.
Israeli society is now blooming with the high-tech industry that brings in vast quantities of money. People who young fresh veterans of Israeli intelligence technological divisions are picked up immediately by these high-tech start ups, earning huge salaries. Happy to live in Israel, happy to advance the Israeli high-tech industry to the place it takes today. Bringing foreign investments and basically life is very good
I would give one sad example, or I would take it from a sad incident, but it proves why life is very good, because the economy is very strong. When failing the Yom Kippur War of October of 1973, people went out to the streets to demonstrate for Prime Minister Golda Meir and Minister of Defense Moshe Dayan to resign. The economy was in a worse shape. People were demonstrating and they forced them to resign.
After Israel failed the 2006 war against Hezbollah, almost nobody went to the streets, not because it was a lesser horrendous failure, but because the economy was good. People are happy. They were not happy to not be able to disassemble Hezbollah, but life is good. And I think that was a disgrace.
I think that it was a major disgrace that Olmert stayed in power after failing this war. But yet it does prove how strong the society is and how strong the economy is.
The chief of staff, with no shame, in the first hours of the war in Lebanon of 2006, when it was not yet clear to the public that we are going to war, but he knew what’s going on, he ordered his broker to sell all of his stocks because he thought that the stock exchange was going to go down. But not only that, he did something completely immoral while facilitating the knowledge that he had, but he made a mistake because the stock exchange just kept on rising.
Recorded: Sep 19, 2008.