Op-ed: Israel's UN envoy says Arab states vote against interests of their own people
The history of the Middle East is riddled with irrational decisions made by the leaders of Arab countries. Time and time again the Arab countries have acted in complete contrast to the interests of their people. Last week the world was reminded again of this Arab-style foolishness. The hope that the "Arab Spring" would lead to the rise of regimes that are attentive to the will of the people and sensitive to the welfare of the citizens has proven false.
This time the spectacle took place during a UN vote on a resolution initiated and submitted by the State of Israel, which headed a group of some 100 countries. In front of the bewildered representatives of the EU and of developing African nations, who backed Israel, the Arab states conducted an aggressive campaign aimed at torpedoing an Israeli resolution that is meant to help them.
The historic resolution submitted by Israel to the General Assembly recognizes - for the first time in the UN's history - the need to promote a "culture of entrepreneurship" among countries in the developing world as a means of advancing economic growth, eradicating poverty and encouraging human development. The resolution calls on developing nations to encourage talented people to put their ideas into action, open businesses and realize the creative and professional potential of every member of society.
It is no coincidence that the State of Israel is behind this new initiative, which the UN adopted in a lopsided 129-31 vote. The Israeli example inspires many around the world: As a country that was established under tough conditions, we succeeded in creating opportunities for talented people and became a global entrepreneurial superpower. With the power of entrepreneurship, a young country facing numerous challenges became a thriving and advanced democracy in just a few decades - a "Start-Up Nation," as Israel was described in a book about Israel's success story. Investment in human capital is the real message Israel brings to the developing world.
Not a Hanukkah miracle
Talent is everywhere, but the ability to locate it is sometimes obstructed by borders and policy. Bureaucratic obstacles, lack of funding and - most of all - the lack of a culture that encourages inventiveness and originality, stand in the way of creative forces and prevent them from following their talents and dreams.
In the UN arena it sometimes appears as though the entire world is against us, but under the radar Israel is admired for its ongoing contribution to the developing nations. Many appreciate the fact that Israel, dating back to Golda Meir's days, has been sending irrigation, agriculture and medical experts to different countries all over the world.
While most of the world's countries supported the Israeli resolution, the Arab states conducted an embarrassing, circus-like campaign of hatred against Israel, which illustrated once again why poverty and ignorance are spreading in the Arab world and why the road to advancement and prosperity is being blocked by the decision makers. By opposing the Israeli resolution, the Arab states only made the hole they have dug for themselves even deeper.
Last week's vote provided the international community with a useful lesson on the difference between the spirit of Israeli entrepreneurship and the short-sightedness of the Arab countries: While we look to the future and strive for a more prosperous and developed world and rise above conflicts and disputes, the Arab states refuse to let go of their hatred for Israel, even at the expense of their citizens' hope for a better future.
The success of the Israeli initiative was not a Hanukkah miracle. Following intense efforts by the Israeli mission to the UN and the Foreign Ministry, the world chose to temporarily put the differences aside and salute the Israeli entrepreneurial spirit.