If we put our minds to it, Israel could become one of the greatest exporters of quality educational programs instead of highly educated people.We face the greatest gap between our potential, based on exposure to technology and education, and our achievements. The quality of our life is at the bottom of the developed world, and we don’t have to be there. Israel is ranked 38th in the world according to the Economists’ Quality of Life Index; and 23rd according to the 2008 U.N. Human Development Index.

For some countries that might be enough; it’s not enough for us.

We face the greatest gap between our potential, based on exposure to technology and education, and our achievements. The quality of our life is at the bottom of the developed world, and we don’t have to be there.

The idea of leapfrogging Israel’s Quality of Life isn’t just a nice thing to do. It’s crucial for our survival – otherwise, we just won’t be competitive.

Competiveness is critical for a country like Israel because the world is going global. And in this world, there’s fierce competition over important resources – technology, people and investments.

These resources are mobile and they can easily move from place to place. So to succeed, a country has to be attractive, and attractiveness is measured competitively.

Since you have so many choices, you have to have a reason to want to live somewhere. There is nothing stopping someone from getting up, packing their bags and moving to Palo Alto.

In fact, right now Israel is one of the biggest exporters of highly educated people in the world.

I believe that in the future, we could become one of the greatest exporters of quality educational programs, if we put our mind to it.

Reut isn’t saying that Israel has to adopt a specific model; to become like Ireland or Singapore. However, in order to leapfrog into one of the leading 15 countries in the world, we need to initiate a bottom up process.

This includes mobilizing the key sectors of society including Arabs, Ultra Orthodox, people from the development towns and periphery, from the big cities, philanthropists, the Jewish world and government ministries to create a shared vision that can motivate us all to achieve this country’s potential.

This was one of the aims of the recent ISRAEL 15 Vision Conference organized by the Reut Institute and is the organizing logic that will guide our work in the future.

Gidi Grinstein is founder and president of the Reut Institute. The views expressed in this blog are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Reut Institute.

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ISRAEL 15 Vision Conference