Netanyahu’s Fierce Capitalism: ‘If You’re Not Strong, You Disappear. You’re Devoured.’

Isrseli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu gives an announcement on September 10, 2019 in Ramat Gan, Israel.
Amir Levy/Getty Images

In an exclusive interview with Daily Wire Editor Emeritus Ben Shapiro, Benjamin Netanyahu, the longest-serving prime minister in the history of Israel and a fervent capitalist who tore his country away from its socialist moorings, explained the necessity of free markets in order for a nation to be strong.

“You know that innovation doesn’t do it by itself,” Netanyahu stated. “That is, science, technology, education, do not produce wealth by themselves. Because if that were the case, then the Soviet Union would have been, you know, the most wealthy country in the world because they had fantastic scientists, mathematicians, physicists, metallurgists. Didn’t help, okay?”

“To do that, you have to have free markets,” said the man who, as Israel’s Finance Minister, set the nation on the road to financial success. “Technology without free markets doesn’t take you anywhere. It just makes people migrate to countries with free markets. Free markets and technology can explode, which is what you’re seeing here.”

“My mission was to — if my father’s generation was to ensure the creation of the Jewish state — my generation’s responsibility I saw was to ensure its future. And the only way you can ensure its future would be to have it powerful.”

“What does powerful mean?” he asked rhetorically, then noted how the Jewish people had been left to their murderous enemies without an army for nearly 2,000 years. “The first thing you have to do is to have an army. The ability to defend yourself, which is what the Jewish people lacked, when they didn’t have a state and they were butchered on without end.”

“Well, what do you need for an army?” he pointed out. “You need tanks — that’s been replaced by drones. You need airplanes, F-35s, you need submarines, you need the military intelligence. It’s very expensive. All these things have one thing in common. They’re very expensive. So how are you going to pay for that?”

“Well, the regular thinking was, that’s easy,” he commented about his socialist predecessors. “You tax the people; you’ve got the money. Right?”

“I know,” he grinned. “That’s wrong. That’s why the only way you pay for that is with a robust economy. And the only economies that work are free market economies. That was my idea. And the idea was that with a free market economy, you can then build a very powerful military and military intelligence.”

“And now you create both civilian technology, military technology, and you become now something that people are interested in,” he said. “You don’t go and beg for countries to come and help you — they come to you, to help them. And that creates a third apex of the triangle, which is the diplomatic, flowering, flourishing Israel.”

“So my idea was, fix the economy, get a strong military, and get the stronger diplomatic position that will get you peace, strength — get you peace, not weakness,” he recalled. “Well, that’s easier said than done. First of all, it’s not so easy said,” he quipped. “For people didn’t believe it. You know, they basically believe, well, we’ll solve our problem if we make peace. And if we need to make peace, we have to make concessions; that will make us weak, is still worth it. In other words, they believe that peace produces strength.”

“I believe that strength produces peace, especially in our part of the world,” he said forcefully. “If you’re not strong, you disappear. You’re devoured. So I had to effect a free market revolution here. That’s really what I did, both as prime minister and as finance minister.”

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