“Our strength as a nation comes from our diversity, and our ability to channel that diversity towards a common goal.” – Yitzhak Rabin
As Sri Lanka and Israel both celebrate their 75th anniversaries this year, it is worth reflecting on the divergent paths these two nations have taken since gaining independence in 1948. While Israel has emerged as a thriving democracy with a strong economy and a vibrant culture, Sri Lanka has struggled with political instability, corruption, and economic stagnation. This essay will compare and contrast the experiences of these two countries and explore some of the key factors that have contributed to their divergent trajectories.
Israel, a small country in the Middle East, has made remarkable progress since its founding 75 years ago. Despite facing numerous security challenges, including wars and terrorism, Israel has built a robust democracy with a thriving economy and a vibrant culture. One of the key factors behind Israel’s success has been its commitment to innovation and technology. Israel has invested heavily in research and development, and its high-tech industry has produced many groundbreaking innovations, from drip irrigation to computer security software. In addition, Israel has a highly educated population, with a strong emphasis on STEM education, which has helped fuel its technological progress. As former Israeli leader Ehud Barak once says, “Nation building is not just about building infrastructure or institutions, but about building a sense of shared purpose and belonging among all citizens.”
In contrast, Sri Lanka has struggled with political instability, economic mismanagement, and corruption, which have hindered its economic development. Despite possessing abundant natural resources and a strategic location in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka has been plagued by political violence, ethnic tensions, and human rights abuses. Many experts blame these problems on a lack of good governance, with the country’s political leadership being accused of nepotism, cronyism, and other forms of corruption. In addition, Sri Lanka’s economy has suffered from a lack of competitiveness, with many industries being dominated by a small number of powerful oligarchs.
While Israel has pursued a policy of economic liberalization, opening itself up to trade and foreign investment, Sri Lanka has remained relatively closed off to the outside world. This has limited its ability to take advantage of global markets and has led to a lack of investment in key sectors such as infrastructure, education, and healthcare.
Another factor that has contributed to Israel’s success has been its ability to forge strong international alliances, particularly with the United States. Israel has been a major recipient of American aid and has enjoyed close diplomatic and military ties with the US. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, has struggled to build strong relationships with other countries, with many nations criticizing its human rights record and lack of progress on democratic reforms.
Israel has demonstrated its strength through unity over the past 75 years of its existence. By learning from history, Israel has been able to clear the paths for a better future. In contrast, Sri Lanka has shown weakness in division, and has failed to learn lessons from history, leaving empty heretic views. This has resulted in a failure to chart a path towards a better future. The importance of unity in a nation’s development cannot be overstated, as it is only through working together that progress can be made. Israel serves as a positive example of this principle, while Sri Lanka serves as a warning of the consequences of division and a failure to learn from history.
The bottom line is that the divergent paths taken by Israel and Sri Lanka over the past 75 years provide a fascinating case study in the role of good governance, innovation, and international relationships in shaping a country’s development. While Israel has emerged as a prosperous democracy with a thriving economy and a vibrant culture, Sri Lanka has struggled with political instability, corruption, and economic stagnation. While there is no simple formula for success, the experiences of these two nations suggest that strong leadership, a commitment to innovation, and a willingness to engage with the wider world are all essential ingredients for a country’s long-term prosperity. Building a nation, as former Israeli leader – Shimon Peres once noted, is a complex and ongoing process, requiring vision, hard work, and a willingness to adapt to changing circumstances.