Middle East


Book: Start-up nation: The story of Israel’s economics miracle, Dan Senor and Saul Singer, 2009.

I have been waiting to read this book for a long time. Today, I checked it out from our public library. Here is what this book is about:

START-UP NATION addresses the trillion dollar question: How is it that Israel– a country of 7.1 million, only 60 years old, surrounded by enemies, in a constant state of war since its founding, with no natural resources– produces more start-up companies than large, peaceful, and stable nations like Japan, China, India, Korea, Canada and the UK?

… At the geopolitical level, Senor and Singer dig in deeper to show why Israel’s policies on immigration, R&D, and military service have been key factors in the country’s rise– providing insight into why Israel has more companies on NASDAQ than those from all of Europe, Korea, Japan, Singapore, China, and India combined.

Background: Unfortunately, not many people know what does it mean that Israel is 60 years old. They think that it means Jews used to live in that land but then suddenly they decided to call that land Israel. For these people I have to say this is not true. After WWII, Jews in Europe were promised a new land (known as Palestine) by the British. To accommodate as many Jews as possible in this new land Palestinians were displaced to neighboring countries. 60% of Jordan’s citizens (pop. 6 million.) are from Palestinian origin and there are millions of Palestinians all over the world as well.

Now, back to the book. I am very excited to read the book because I know that Israel is very good in R&D in Computer Science. I read many good research papers that were written by researchers at Israeli’s universities. Fifteen years ago I remember watching  on Israel TV a computer keyboard working underwater built by Israeli scientists. But this is nothing compared to saving Intel by designing the Core microarchitecture.

Couple of years ago, there was an email that went viral about Starbucks’ CEO funding settlers in Israel. Of course the email is just a hoax but many Arabs still prefer to boycott Starbucks. And there is no way to convince them other way. Couple of weeks ago, I was at Starbucks when an Arab friend called me wanted to see me. I told him to come over. So he came to Starbucks. I wanted to treat him for a cup of coffee but he said “No. I don’t buy anything from Starbucks.” I have no problem with people who have a different opinion than mine so I didn’t discuss the conspiracy theory. He has the right to have his own opinion. During our chat we talked about families back home and how nice it is possible these days to make international calls for free using “Viber.” I couldn’t stay quite so I had to ask “Do you know who built Viber?” His answer was “I don’t have a problem with Jews I have problem with Israel.”* I corrected him that it is actually built in Israel.

Many Arabs like to boycott. It happened couple of years ago when Arabs wanted to boycott everything that comes from Denmark after the Danish cartoon controversy. Of course economic boycott is a very effective and a peaceful way to show opposition. Indians did it and succeeded in ending the British Colony. But before Ghandi started his boycott he made sure there was an Indian alternative.

It is easy to boycott an American coffee or a Danish cheese but if Arabs really want their voice to be heard they need to provide the world with something other than just oil. We need to start building technologies instead of giving our money to foreigners to build us high towers. As far as I know we don’t have any technology or industry to export that we made or built.


* Unlike what many non-Arabs believe Arabs don’t hate Jews. Arabs problem is with the State of Israel. There are many Jews who live outside Israel and who are against Israel’s policy against Palestinians.


7 thoughts on “START-UP NATION

  1. I really enjoyed this post! Last Wednesday many Christians went to Chick-fil-A to support this company because it was being boycott so it was interesting reading the bit about boycotting. I hear now they may have a Starbucks Appreciation Day because Starbucks supports gay and lesbian causes. I’ve not heard of any Christian group opposing Starbucks for their pro- gay stance, but there probably are some. Many Christians like to boycott, too. 🙂

    Oh, thanks for sharing these thoughts about Israel. Let us know what you think of the book.


    1. The other day, I was telling a friend that Chick-fil-A will see an increase in its revenue. Some people from other religions will support Chick-fil-A not just Christians.
      Yes, I will share some interesting facts from the book. Unfortunately, I am a kind of person who does not read one book at a time. I buy or checkout five books and start my reading journey. So it takes me time to finish reading a book 🙂


  2. I’d never heard of Viber so I had to look it up and it seems similar to Skype. My friend who lives in Egypt and I use Skype all the time, but it can act up at times (dropped calls, volume dropping, etc.) How do you like using Viber? Do you find that it doesn’t have that many glitches?


    1. Hi Tina,
      Viber is excellent. It is an app that can be downloaded on iPhones and Andriod phones. Since it uses voice only its quality is much better than skype.


  3. Really liked this entry.
    Thx Jaraad.

    Hopefully I`ll read the book, plz update us of yr thoughts bwt it whenever u can.


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