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The Israeli Economy from the Foundation of the State through the 21st Century
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This book analyzes the development of the Israeli economy in its historical context. It shows how the ideology of the dominant group in the Zionist movement led to the development of agriculture, thus meeting the preconditions for successful industrialization. Remarkable, if uneven, growth has taken place, with increasing allocations for defense. Regional isolation led to the emphasis on high-quality exports for developed markets that has stimulated the technological base. Israel has benefited from mass immigration and increased access to foreign capital, factors that have transformed the economy. The book includes chapters on the development of the Jewish community in Palestine during the British Mandate; macroeconomic developments and economic policy; globalization and high technology; defense; the economics of the Arab minority; Israeli settlements and relations with the Palestinians; and the role of religion. It concludes with an examination of the socioeconomic divisions that have widened as the economy has grown.


‘Paul Rivlin provides a rich and detailed long duree analysis of the Israeli economy that stretches beyond the economy into a sociological and political study of contemporary Israel. The work is detailed, comprehensive, and immensely useful for students of Israeli politics and society.’

Guy Ben-Porat - Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

‘Rivlin’s definitive, balanced work on the Israeli economy reveals its strengths while emphasizing the costs of growth and the obstacles facing its further acceleration. By subjecting the country’s key domestic and foreign policy issues to dispassionate economic analysis, he reveals their associated costs and benefits while providing implicit guidance for their resolution. As such, this study is relevant not just to the country’s economy, but to its society and polity as well. It is essential reading for anyone interested in contemporary Israel.’

Robert Springborg - Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California

‘Thorough and easily read, Rivlin’s fine work contextualizes and narrates Israel’s unique economic development. With the experience of an economist and the eye of an historian, he carefully assesses how its talented population, socialist roots, waves of immigration, religion, security needs, Arab minority, the conflict, and globalization all shaped its changing economic history. Having carefully woven a fine tapestry, Rivlin has set the scholarly standard for a central facet of modern Israeli history.’

Kenneth W. Stein - Emory University

‘A much-needed addition to Israeli studies, Rivlin’s comprehensive book on the Israeli economy excels in its scale and scope, offers a cogent case for the country’s past impressive economic achievements, and confronts its future challenges.’

Howard M. Wachtel - Founding Director, Center for Israeli Studies, American University

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