SOUTH KOREA - We Can Learn from Israelis

Arno Froese

“We’re blessed with a lack of natural resources.”

This is what I heard from a couple of Israeli people I met when I covered the diplomatic circuit in Seoul several years ago.

Their point had less to do with the so-called “curse of natural resources,” once a popular theory to explain the paradoxical circumstances of the countries endowed with rich natural resources. Economic growth rates in countries with abundant natural resources were lower than countries with no such benefits and the former in general was less democratic than the latter.

What the Israelis meant was more to do with their way of thinking, which they believed was a critical factor behind their rise from being a small Middle Eastern country to having a thriving economy.

Their creative optimism has propelled them to pull together the miracle of transforming the desert into fertile land for agriculture to feed their citizens. Israel is one of the most creative countries in the world and startup companies are the backbone of its economy.

Israeli people’s creative optimism has valuable implications for Korean society which is trapped in frustration and defeatism. In the face of high youth unemployment, some young people are convinced by the spoon theory, the modern-day version of the caste system. The theory categorizes people based on the amount of inherited wealth and presumes upward social mobility is almost impossible.

Israelis’ constructive pragmatism resonates with Koreans these days as some of us “abuse” the spoon theory to justify the reality we are facing. Challenges are portrayed as a barrier that cannot be overcome, rather than an opportunity to get over to move forward.

Instead of complaining about the tough reality they faced or playing the blame game, Israelis made their own way to survive. This is the lesson we can learn from them., 24 January 2018

Arno's commentary

The writer, Kang Hyun-kyung, reveals some fascinating truths by calling the lack of natural resources a blessing. That certainly is true for many European countries. For example, landlocked Switzerland; the world’s largest food distributor, Nestle, is headquartered there. Also quite interesting is the fact that Switzerland operates the world’s second-largest shipping company, S.A. (second only to the Maersk Group in Denmark).

This has spiritual application for believers. It matters not where you are, who you are, how rich or poor, how educated or simple: as a believer who desires to follow Jesus all the way, you are a light to this ever-darkening world.

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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