Netanyahu: Israel Has the Potential to Become a Global Economic Power

As a world leader in knowledge-based technologies, Israel has the ability to penetrate markets that would have been closed to it in a non-global world.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outlined a bold vision of a high-tech Israel playing a central role in the global economy during his speech to the seventh conference of the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv on Tuesday night.

Today’s global economy gives Israel opportunities that a small country simply never had in the past, Netanyahu said. As a world leader in knowledge-based technologies, Israel today has the ability to penetrate markets that would have been closed to it in a non-global world.

As an example of how globalized the world has become, he told how he had met last week with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, the foreign minister of China and Google CEO Eric Schmidt - all in a single week.

The world wants three things, the prime minister said, “Israel technology, Israel technology and Israel technology.”

He attributed Israel’s high-tech success to three factors - military-led technology development, the high level of Israel’s universities and Israel’s special culture, which he described as “always asking questions.”

But in order to seize its economic opportunities, Israel needs to develop its own economy and infrastructure, Netanyahu said. He painted a picture of a fully networked country. with highways, trains and high-speed networks running from Kiryat Semona to Eilat - and “getting rid of the periphery.”

The two main developments influencing the modern world, he said, are the rise of China and the Internet - both of which need stringent security. “We are making massive effort to provide that security.” To say that China is interested in Israeli technology “is to put it very mildly,” Netanyahu remarked.

It is possible for Israel to become a global economic power, Netanyahu said, but to do that it needs to make changes - particularly in education.