It is not often that R thinks about world affairs. He asked me the other day, how is Israel so rich when it all looks like desert? Off the top of my head, I replied, technology, arms and Jewish money coming from the US. These were only guesses on my part. It is a good question and a chance to learn.
Alas, it proved very difficult to research as there is so much biased reporting by those who either support Israel or hate Israel. What did seem reliable was quite technical and not suitable for a lightweight blog post. It does seem I wasn't far wrong with what I replied to R off the top of my head though.
What is undeniable is that Israel is, with only a couple of faltering steps, an amazing economic success story, coming in about sixth in world in income levels. There are many qualifications that can be put on this figure, including it being only second to the US with inequitable wealth distribution and having a large black market within its economy.
Not sure I will ever visit Israel and I would probably only go to Tel Aviv, a very western city on the Mediterranean coast.