Feb 22, 2018
A Lebanese journalist has conceded that looking back at a century of history in the Middle East, the Arab world has failed where Israel has shined.
In a November 25, 2017 article marking the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration published in the London-based daily Al-Hayat, Lebanese journalist Karam Al-Hilu compared the meager accomplishments of the Arab world in the past century with those of the rest of the countries of the world, and particularly Israel.
The Balfour Declaration of November 2, 1917 was a letter from British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to Baron Rothschild stating that “His Majesty’s government views with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”
Al-Hilu noted that Israel’s supremacy in the areas of science, economy, society, and politics is the source of its strength, as well as the source of the Arabs’ failure in confronting it.
“A century after the Balfour Declaration the Arabs have not managed to build a [a single] state that possesses knowledge, justice, and the economic, social, and human capability for confronting Zionism,” al-Hilu wrote, according to a translation by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) recently published,
Arab Lack of Achievements
“One hundred years have been squandered [by the Arabs], in all aspects; during them, the Arabs have been confronting Israel while their cultural infrastructure was in crisis – in the areas of knowledge, politics, economy, society and thought,” he charged.
According to a 2014 Arab Knowledge Report published by the United Nations (UN), despite the existence of 500 Arab universities, with an enrollment of nine million students and faculties of 220,000 lecturers, scientific achievements are meager in the Arab world, which has failed to adapt to digital culture and other basic aspects of human progress.
Expenditure on scientific research for its part is negligible.
Scientists and research output are a rarity in the Arab world, and the research that is published there constitutes only 0.8 percent of the global average. The number of patents registered to the Arabs in the past 50 years does not exceed the number of those registered by Malaysia alone.
“Not a single Arab university ranks among the 500 best in the world, while Israel supersedes the Arabs at an astronomical rate, in inventions and in hi-tech export. Israel has completely wiped out illiteracy [among its citizens], while among the Arabs, 23 percent remain illiterate,” he further noted.
Arab Law and Justice
The Arabs have also not succeeded in building a single state of law and justice, he pointed out.
Transparency.org’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2016, published January 2017, shows that six of the 10 most corrupt countries in the world are Arab. Countries such as Egypt and Tunisia are ranked 108th in corruption, and Lebanon is 136th, while Israel takes 33rd place, which places it with the developed countries.
“[The Arabs] have not managed to establish a country [in which there is] economic justice; the class gaps [among the Arabs] are very great and unemployment, particularly among young people, tops out at 35.7 percent in Egypt, 32.1 percent in Iraq, and 45.3 percent in Mauritania,” he added.
For the Arabs to change the course of history and rectify this situation, as part of the “resistance to Israel,” they must start by “reading these numbers and these facts,” claimed al-Hilu.
While the Arab world has “spared no blood, martyrdom, or [self-]sacrifice” in its fight against Israel, “it has been negligent in the areas of science, economy, society, and politics that are the source of Israel’s strength – just as they are the source of our failure in confronting it,” he concluded.
Arab and Muslim journalists and commentators have previously expressed envy over Israel’s success in various realms, especially compared to the stagnation of the Arab and Muslim world.