In a speech at the JNF-USA Conference in Denver, Colarado last week, Erel Margalit, Founder and Chairman of JVP & Margalit Startup City, outlined a vision for Israel to transcend the challenges it faces in light of the October 7 Hamas attacks. Margalit’s speech resonated with a call for a paradigm shift in Israel’s stance, addressing security concerns, diplomatic strategies, and the imperative for economic development.
A former Knesset member and member of the Knesset Defence Committee, Margalit began his address by addressing the urgency of a shift in Israel’s security approach. “The paradigm in which you can live next to a terrorist organization, and make sure that they will be quiet by helping them make money, transfer money, and pray that they will not shoot rockets at you is gone,” he said, rejecting the notion of coexisting with such entities and emphasizing the need to cut off financial support to thwart their operations.
Highlighting the dangerous implications of funding terrorism, Margalit underscored, “The terror runs state is not only by having them get the ammunition. You need to understand that over the last few years, Hamas has transferred $2.5 billion a year in order to finance 500 kilometers of terror tunnels missiles, and the apparatus which probably only a few countries in Europe have the money to operate… Without money, terror cannot operate.”
Beyond security concerns, Margalit advocated for a diplomatic paradigm shift, invoking the wisdom of Henry Kissinger. He asserted that a smart country like Israel should use its intellect alongside military might. “Military force is important, but without a diplomatic hand, you are fighting with one hand only,” Margalit said.
Citing partnerships with the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and others, Margalit stressed the importance of reconstruction efforts in Gaza through alliances with regional partners and the United States.
In terms of economic development, Margalit drew parallels with Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, proposing a comprehensive post-war economic plan for the North and South regions of Israel, aimed at attracting and retaining young talent. This vision represents a commitment to fostering innovation and economic growth in the region.
Margalit concluded his speech with a sense of urgency and optimism, encompassing a comprehensive approach that addresses security concerns, engages in strategic diplomacy, and prioritizes economic development.
“This blueprint offers a roadmap for shaping Israel’s future, beyond immediate challenges, and focuses on long-term stability and prosperity,” he said.