Israel was ranked the eighth most powerful country in the world, according to US News & World Report magazine’s 2018 best country rankings. With few natural resources and surrounded by sworn enemies, one entrepreneur is convinced that it is Israel’s destined role as a Light Unto the Nations that has fueled this rise to the top.
The ranking, measuring a country’s diplomatic, economic and military might, placed the tiny Jewish State ahead of most European countries, Australia, Canada, and all of the Arab countries. One of the major factors for placing Israel so high on the list was its role as a leader in global technology.
“For its relatively small size, the country has played a large role in global affairs,” the magazine said. “The country has a strong economy, landmarks of significance to several religions and strained relationships with many of its Arab neighbors… Israel has a technologically advanced market economy with cut diamonds, high-technology equipment and pharmaceuticals among its major exports. The country is very highly developed in terms of life expectancy, education, per capita income and other human development index indicators. But the country also has one of the most unequal economies in the Western world, with significant gaps between the rich and poor.”
Jonathan Caras is a serial entrepreneur with several successful high-tech startups to his name. Caras travels around the world, lecturing at technology conferences. A religious Jew, he came to Jerusalem for personal and professional reasons.Caras is sure that Israel’s prophesied role has fueled its hi-tech success.
“The Jewish nation has a mission of being a light unto the nations but that also grants us corresponding abilities to perform this mission,” Caras told Breaking Israel News, quoting the Prophet Isaiah.
For He has said: “It is too little that you should be My servant In that I raise up the tribes of Yaakov And restore the survivors of Yisrael: I will also make you a light of nations, That My salvation may reach the ends of the earth.” Isaiah 49:6
“Israel has a gift for technology since there is a similarity between technology and light,” Caras said. “Light can travel very far and impact very many people without diminishing from itself. That is very much the idea behind software.”
Caras cited another spiritual quality of light described by Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liady who founded the Chabad branch of Hasidut in the 18th Century. Rabbi Zalman was quoted as saying, “A little bit of light dispels a lot of darkness.”
“The same is true of technology,” Caras said. “I can build an app and that app can influence literally millions of people. There is no other industry in which you can do that.”
Caras sees this light as a way of making personal connections.
“In computer software, it is necessary to understand the recipients and with apps, you actually create a relationship with them. With Jews coming from all over the Diaspora, this creates a crazy collection of so many cultures, all within our tiny borders. This helps us in tech but it also helps us connect with the rest of the world in a very deep way.”
“Tech is just information and it is Israel’s prophesied role to spread information,” Caras said.
And the many peoples shall go and say: “Come, Let us go up to the Mount of Hashem, To the House of the God of Yaakov; That He may instruct us in His ways, And that we may walk in His paths.” For instruction shall come forth from Tzion, The word of Hashem from Yerushalayim. Isaiah 2:3
“All this work in technology is building the back alley channels that will eventually be used in the age of the Messiah, for Israel to connect with the rest of the world,” Caras said. “The only reason Facebook exists is so that when the Messiah comes there will be an easy way to get updates about it.”
Rabbi Shimon Apisdorf, a Jewish educator and best-selling author, said that Israel’s high placement in the list was a reflection of how there are “two basic dimensions to everything – such as the physical and the spiritual, the inside and the outside” – both on a personal basis and at country level.
“If Medinat Yisrael (the State of Israel) is manifesting itself as the eighth strongest country in the world that is a siman (a sign) of the corresponding incredible potential that we have in the world to be a force for spirituality – for goodness and kindness – the highest level we can offer to the world,” Rabbi Apisdorf told Breaking Israel News.
“Being the Startup Nation is just the tip of the iceberg,” he concluded.