Hank’s World: Why Israel fits better in the EU than in the East

DThe State of Israel should be offered EU membership. Micah Brumlik, a German-Jewish intellectual, suggested this several years ago. Germany could play a leading role in this. Brumlik argues that the state of Israel is culturally influenced by Europe even more than Turkey with its Ottoman roots.

At first glance, the idea sounds absurd. Especially in these times. But only at first glance.

Right now we don’t know whether Israel will be interested in EU membership at all. Or perhaps the 51st state of the United States of America would prefer it if there is an appropriate proposal from Washington. In addition, I do not know whether the requirements for EU membership include the country’s geographic location in Europe. There is no objective need for this: one could become a member of the Hanseatic League, the free trade union of the early modern period, even though the cities were located far apart between Western Europe and Russia and did not have a common border. One could also belong to the “Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation”, although neither Roman nor German. Instead, converging political and economic interests were a prerequisite for admission.

An Economic Miracle Deserving the Name

Moreover, economically and politically, Israel could meet the requirements of EU membership much more quickly than Ukraine, where accession negotiations are due to begin soon. In the Index of Economic Freedom, a recognized measure of economic success, open markets and the rule of law, Israel ranks 34th and Ukraine 130th. The State of Israel has also been a member of the OECD, the club of the world’s rich industrialized countries, since 2010. Prerequisites are a market economy and democratic structures, as well as respect for human rights; free competition and free trade must be recognized and widely implemented.

Israel boasts one of the most spectacular economic miracles of the last hundred years, far more impressive than the post-World War II miracle of the same name. While the country already had an industrial landscape after the war that could be quickly rebuilt, and a workforce with technical intelligence that could build on the pre-war period, Jewish immigrants in the early 20th century discovered that Palestine was a country in which people lived in relative poverty under Ottoman rule. The Holy Land was not economically blessed. Industrialization, which has brought great prosperity to the Western world since the 19th century, did not occur there.

According to Socialist-Zionist ideology, collective and cooperative enterprises (“kibbutzim”) played an important role in the early days of settlement. Until the mid-1930s, Jewish and Arab economic structures were linked. It was only the Arab uprising in 1936 to boycott the Jewish economy that forced the Yishuv, the Jewish community in Palestine, to create independent economic structures.

Source: Frantfurter Allgemeine

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