Israel may be considered a light unto the nations, but it isn’t one of the world’s top 15 nations when it comes to cash and quality of life. Doesn’t have to stay that way, says Gidi Grinstein, founder and president of Reut, a Tel Aviv think-tank and a favorite commentator of New York Times op-ed writer Thomas Friedman. He believes that the next step for Israel in the 21st century is to leapfrog and become IL 15, one of the world’s leading nations.
Gidi talks about closing the social gaps in order to play catch-up with the other leading nations of the world. He wants the quality of life of all Israeli citizens to improve exponentially. And while he acknowledges that quality is “a very elusive issue,” one whose definition changes by geography, by values, by belief systems, he believes that there is room for improvement.
We wanted to know how Israel should go about becoming IL 15, so we asked Gidi for a how-to list, a kind of 12-step program that Israel needs to follow in order to leapfrog into that very elite league. Here’s what he told us:
- Create a national vision that offers a snapshot of the future.
- Ensure strong leadership that is committed to the long haul and the right national priorities.
- Instill values that focus on growing the national pie and making sure everyone gets a slice.
- Strengthen institutions with efficient methods for keeping pace with social and economic changes.
- Focus on a unique and global development policy and remove obstructions to investment, training and trade.
- Reinforce belief in the Israeli workplace.
- Review what’s causing the bottlenecks in the public sector.
- Help develop the regional economies, giving the local authorities more power to create and act.
- Generate a national project.
- Make sure leapfrogging remains relevant as a national subject.
- Spur growth by relating to the unique characteristics of each region.
- Form partnerships and cooperative efforts throughout the country’s public and private sectors.
Will Grinstein succeed in transmitting his vision to the rest of the Israeli nation? It remains to be seen, but the writings of this thinker, speaker and founder of the Reut Institute can be read at his blog, Link in the Chain.