A senior scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEP) in Washington DC has said Israel’s generation of wealth is in fact not global but rather rooted in the country’s core values.
In a letter published on Tuesday, David Alpert, the author of The Global Generations, said that while Israel’s wealth is growing, its generation is not.
The senior scholar from the Carnegie Middle East Center said that Israel’s youth are far more likely to live in the cities, and this is reflected in its economic and social outcomes.
“Their wealth is tied to the city where they live, and it is linked to the institutions and activities that they support,” Alpert wrote in the letter, published by the CEP’s Jerusalem Institute for National Security Studies (JINSS).
“The more affluent they are, the more they’re willing to share their wealth and the more committed they are to the values that the city supports,” he added.
Alpert’s statement came amid a heated debate over whether Israel is a truly wealthy nation, or whether its rich are not as well-off as others.
“The idea that Israelis are so wealthy that they can afford to live on their own without taking care of the state’s needs is deeply problematic, particularly given the economic crisis that is gripping the country,” Albright told Al Jazeera.
“If the Israeli government really wants to help the country, it should be spending more to invest in infrastructure, schools, health care and infrastructure that is accessible to the many,” she added.
Israel’s wealth gapThe Israeli media often refers to Israel as a “rich country” and a “wealth nation”, as it ranks among the richest countries in the world.
But in the past few years, the number of Israelis in the Forbes 400 and the Forbes 500 has significantly increased, and Israel’s GDP per capita is now at the top of the global rankings.
Albright pointed to a recent study that showed the median net worth of Israelis is now just over $2.2 million, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, which measures wealth per capita.
The country has also been dubbed a “world financial power” for its size of the international economy, and its rapid expansion of infrastructure and other investments in recent years, according the Bloomberg report.
Alatt said the Israeli youth are a key part of Israel’s economic success.
“It’s not that Israelis don’t need to take care of their own,” he said.
“It’s that they need to do so as part of a growing economy that’s creating more jobs, and that’s why the wealth generation is so important to them.”
Alpert cited the example of the new Jewish community in Israel, which began with only 300 families in 1950, but has grown to nearly 10,000 families in recent decades.
“They are a powerful force in the economy, but the generation of the Jewish majority is much more likely than others to be the next generation to be part of the country as it grows,” he explained.
Israel has seen an increase in its share of global wealth in the last 20 years, and Alpert said the generation that is the most affluent is likely to become the majority.
He added that Israel is currently one of the fastest growing countries in terms of income per capita, with a median income of $40,800 in 2016, according in the International Monetary Fund’s Global Wealth Report 2016.
The Israeli economy is booming and the country is expected to grow by almost 10% in 2021.
The number of millionaires in Israel has grown from less than 1,500 in 2020 to nearly 1,900 in 2021, according Reuters data.
According to Alpert’s calculations, a single Israeli family is worth $10.6 billion, which means the country has a wealth gap of $10 trillion, according JINSS.
The number of billionaires is rising in the Middle East and is likely going to reach 10 times this number by 2025, Alpert told Aljazeera.