Switzerland as a model for Israel

The two countries have much more in common than appears at first.

by Norman A. Bailey  |  February 28, 2014  |  ARTICLES

Switzerland has about the same population as Israel, with four distinct ethnicities, and is in a similarly vulnerable geographic location. It has been independent since 1291, except for a brief period of French occupation during the Napoleonic wars. It has not been involved in an international conflict since 1815, and its independence and neutrality were respected throughout World War I and World War II, which convulsed Europe for ten of the thirty-one years between 1914 and 1945.

How was this possible? Well, among other things it is a rich and relatively self-sufficient country with a highly-educated population. It also has a sizeable and efficient defense industry. Perhaps most importantly it is armed to the teeth, with extensive fortifications and an entirely conscript army--there are no exemptions, except for medical reasons. It has joined no military alliances and is not even a member of the European Union.

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