March 5th, 1953, marked the demise of the Soviet Union’s powerful dictator Joseph Stalin. While Stalin’s death impacted countries around the world, strangely, it had a particularly significant impact on the five-year-old state of Israel. Communities and families in Israel were divided and even split apart over Israel’s attitude toward the Soviet Union ad communism. Fortunately, David Ben Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel, chose to stand with the countries of the West, being faithful to Israel’s values of freedom and democracy.
During Israel’s first years of existence, social democracy and communism were deeply rooted among broad sectors of Israeli society. In fact, those who believed in a free market were sometimes forced out by coercion. However, at that time, the Soviet Union became one of Israel’s greatest enemies. Why? Because it sponsored brutal terrorist organizations who killed women and children without hesitation and supported governments both financially and politically who brutally supressed their people. In fact, the Soviet Union had become a leading power who threatened the free world. Additionally, there were disastrous economic policies stemming from the communist worldview that negatively impacted millions of people throughout the generations. On a more personal note for the Jews of the state of Israel, the Soviet Union denied the emigration of countless Jews who sought to return to their historical homeland in Israel.
Israelis have a long history of being damaged by communism. But, as in other cases throughout our history, we emerged victorious in the end.
Israelis have a long history of being damaged by communism. But, as in other cases throughout our history, we emerged victorious in the end. By 1977, the Liberal Right won the elections in Israel, as the Likud party became the ruling party in Israel. When Prime Minister Menachem Begin began serving, he immediately transformed Israel’s economy towards a free market. It was not an easy change and even today the process has yet to be completed, but it’s a goal we are constantly working hard to achieve.
With the fall of the Iron Curtain, we have completed what I like to call the “Triumph of Fate”. Almost a million Jews who were forced to hide their religious identity under Soviet rule have migrated to Israel. Since their arrival, they have participated in the free market economy which was an initiative by the Likud government adopted by the Labor Party. Most of these immigrants educated themselves and raise their children in the spirit of free enterprise. The State of Israel, which has become the Start-Up Nation under the direction of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, has now emerged as a world expert in the fields of cyber security, hi-tech, defence and agriculture. Our free market economy has allowed us to not only compete throughout the global market but also to help disadvantaged countries around the world who can benefit from our expertise. One of the major driving forces behind Israel’s economic success is the second generation of immigrants from the Soviet Union, who have joined Israelis in valuing and driving forward free enterprise.
One of the major driving forces behind Israel’s economic success is the second generation of immigrants from the Soviet Union, who have joined Israelis in valuing and driving forward free enterprise.
Right-wing Liberal Conservatives in Israel must continue to promote the value of the free market. This is especially important as this value is under attack by Left-wing Social Democrats in Israel, who continue to believe elements of communism. Most noteworthy was the recent unsuccessful attempt to close down a conservative newspaper, and the fact their thinking shows signs of an anachronistic Marxism.
We will continue to teach, promote, and convince others in the marketplace of ideas that the free market is the most rational way to organise our lives. We are hopeful and confident that we will succeed.