Afternoon Tea in Jerusalem Blog

In addition to my work as a business coach, one of my interests is blogging about life in Israel. This is a country full of contrasts – over eight million citizens living in an area the size of Wales. You can see snow and the lowest place on the globe in the same day. Although surrounded by geopolitical extremes, Israel has achieved a decade of high economic growth. My work brings me in contact with an array of new companies, exciting technologies and dynamic characters. Sitting back with a relaxing cup of strong tea (with milk), you realise just how much there is to appreciate in the Holyland. Large or small operations, private sector or non profit, my clients provide experiences from which others can learn and benefit.

It’s election time in Israel, always a dodgy period for any country’s economy. Financial markets look on anxiously. Bankers are concerned for long term growth traded off in return for short term political gains.

And yet this week, Israel was given a major vote of confidence from three separate and independent sources.

Let’s start with Ryanair, albeit not every travelers favourite low cost flier these days. However, it is still a key player in the travel market. It is been operating in Israel for just over three years, and CEO Michael O’Leary’ visit did not limit his praise for the results so far.

People are fed up with destinations like the Canary Islands and such places. Israel has wonderful beaches and very good food. If we can offer reasonable prices then Israel with its weather and beautiful beaches can become a preferred destination. We can bring millions more to Israel. We can grow as fast as the authorities allow us to.

In other words, if Ryanair is currently handling about 600,000 people a year in and out of the Holy Land, they are looking to  treble that number at the very least.

Moving over to high-tech, Bloomberg paid Israel a massive compliment. It placed the country 5th (up from 10th) in its 2019 Innovation Table. By way of comparison, it was only slightly off from South Korea, Germany, Finland and Switzerland, who came in ahead. Israel was also light years ahead of the next Middle East country.

Third, but of equal importance was the new trade deal that the UK has announced that it intends to sign with Israel.  As Westminster seeks to prepare for a post Brexit era, this news comes in addition to the new agreement between the two countries to reduce tax on investments.

UK-Israel bilateral trade reached a record $10 billion (£7 billion) in 2018. As one commentary noted:

A UK Government White Paper on trade in 2011 identified Israel as a trade priority for post-Brexit Britain because of the potential synergies between Israel’s high levels of innovation and British strengths in design, business growth and finance, as well as the UK’s own high-technology and scientific strengths.

Postscript:

Whilst I was writing this blog, I was told that the lower house of the Dail, the Parliament in Dublin, had passed a law boycotting Israeli products from the West Bank.

Does that mean they will boycott a plane, serviced by a person who lives in the West Bank? What about Intel products, worked on by people who live in that area? And as for all that potential trade that can create jobs…………..?

As Rachel Riley has argued, it is a pity for everyone, if not down right disgusting, that the majority Ireland’s elected politicians have chosen to be so selective (sic)!

 

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