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Who kidnapped Israeli society?

There's a lot going on in the Middle East, but the media seems to have missed one of the most important things -- the Israel story
Illustrative. This undated file image posted on a militant website on January 14, 2014, shows fighters from the al-Qaeda linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) marching in Syria. (AP)
Illustrative. This undated file image posted on a militant website on January 14, 2014, shows fighters from the al-Qaeda linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) marching in Syria. (AP)

Last week was a busy one, even by the bewildering standards of the Middle East. Sunni militants (ISIS) launched a violent offensive in Iraq against the government, slaughtering civilians who objected. America and the UK initiated a bizarre rapprochement with Iran. And on Thursday night, three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped, probably by Hamas supporters.

Measuring the posts of the international media, the Israeli story is the least important. In fact, SKY News believes that the key crisis in the Holy Land is not the immoral act of the kidnappers, but the inappropriate reaction of the Israeli authorities.

I believe that the reporters have missed a trick. If they were to focus on Israel, they will be able to appreciate with greater clarity what is happening around the oil wells in the sand dunes. Here’s what I mean.

1) Israel’s economy: Despite on-going geopolitical uncertainty, the economy grew by 2.7% in the first quarter of 2014.  And yes, that includes increasing trade between Israel and Palestinian firms.

2) Hightech: Israel’s start up economy has not stopped forging new links. Russian billionaire and owner of Chelsea FC Roman Abramovich has just invested $10 million in StoreDot, an Israeli startup developing electronics based on bio-organic materials. A Jerusalem-based company is (ironically?) developing an app to help prevent kidnapping. And CellBuddy is set to create a consumer revolution which should slash the prices of mobile phone calls.

3) Health care: The medical sector is short of cash, doctors, nurses and more. However, it must be doing something correct. Hundreds of Syrian civilians, wounded in the civil war, have been treated in Israeli hospitals. The granddaughter of the Hamas PM was operated on in a Tel Aviv hospital. Even the wife of Palestinian President is now recuperating in a private clinic near Tel Aviv.

4) Tourism: Only yesterday, Masada, a World Heritage Centre in the desert, rocked to the sounds of La Traviata. Hundreds of tourists flew in specifically for the event. Concurrently, the City of Jerusalem is running its annual Light Festival, which spectacularly winds its way around the different ethnic quarters of the Old City.

No country is perfect and that includes Israel. Yet, for all the threats surrounding it and for the morose horror of the kidnapping of the school children, Israel continues to thrive though a policy of inclusion and pluralism where possible. You have to ask: Why is this theme so hidden by the media giants?

The boys have disappeared, feared murdered, and their families are helpless. Unlike the poor girls in Nigeria, Michelle Obama has not published a post in support of the three missing religious Israeli teenagers. Catherine Ashton, EU foreign affair supremo, has yet to find time to comment on the matter.

And what else has been kidnapped? The openness and success of Israeli society, which should be promoted to serve as a light to the Iraqs and Irans of his world. Where has the world media hidden these triumphs and why?

About the Author
Michael Horesh is a recognised business coach and mentor, and has helped clients collectively to create millions in added value over the past decade. He has substantial understanding of the workings of the Israeli economy and the financial situation of the Palestinians, as well as an incisive way of looking at Middle East issues.
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