Netanyahu: 'Israel's What's Right in the Middle East'


JERUSALEM, Israel -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says a strong Israeli economy benefits both Israelis and Palestinians -- and the peace process itself.

Netanyahu made his remarks at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Thursday, not long after responding to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's earlier speech. He made no mention of Rouhani.

Instead he focused on Israeli ingenuity, innovation, research and development, and the nation's vibrant high-tech sector. Israel's small size and the Jewish propensity to question everything factored into its successes.

"Israel is often called the 'start-up nation,' but I call it the 'innovation nation," he said.

"The questioning mind is something in our culture and it adds very much to our capacities. We're very small, everything is close by, and everyone competes and collaborates with each other," he explained.

"Israel isn't what's wrong in the Middle East," he continued. "It's what's right in the Middle East." Israel, with its high level of entrepreneurship and well-managed economy, is simply a good place to do business, Netanyahu said.

The Israel Defense Forces also produces an ongoing stream of highly trained, motivated and adept young men and women to enter the workforce.

Netanyahu issued an open invitation: "This is an invitation to innovation nation. It's open for business. It's open for your business. Please, come join us."

On the peace process, Netanyahu said he's ready for a "genuine" peace.

"I'm ready for peace. I'm ready for a real, secure, genuine peace, and I hope President Abbas is ready too," he said.

Netanyahu also said middle Gulf Arab countries don't want to see a nuclear-armed Iran nor the spread of Islamist extremism.

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