*Sigh* - another victim of those heady Israeli pheromones:
"It was not only the Israeli corporate bond market that bowled over former Australian Securities & Investments Commission deputy chairman Jeremy Cooper on a recent trade mission to the Jewish state." (Conscription: it makes a difference, Sydney Morning Herald, Scott Rochfort, 13/6/12)
Remember this one, led by Bill Shorten? (OK, see my 27/4/12 post Vibrancy, Innovation & Bill Shorten.)
"After already banging on about the Israeli 'X-factor' in a newspaper column last month, Cooper was still trying to articulate yesterday why Israel was such a success story. Was it largely the result of compulsory national service? 'Perhaps a big reason for this X-factor is how long Israel prepares its young people for the challenges of life,' Cooper told an Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce function yesterday. 'The answer is compulsory service for everybody over 18... it makes a big difference. By the age of 25, the average Israeli has worked in a close-knit team in very demanding environments, made decisions that have had real consequences and have been required to solve complicated problems in a short space of time,' Cooper said about the benefits of donning khaki and carrying an assault rifle for one's country. 'What this translates into is a propensity to carry out technical innovation.'" (ibid)
Of course, Cooper didn't arrive at this startling/alarming conclusion unaided. He's been slipped (or otherwise acquired) a little propaganda tome called Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracles (Dan Senor & Saul Singer), for introduction to which see my 23/4/10 post Creative Destruction.
"Thank heavens Cooper, who now has a job with Challenger, made his trip to Israel after completing his review of Australia's superannuation system in 2010. Compulsory super contributions could have been extended into more controversial areas." (ibid)
Amen to that, Scott.
To throw in my two bits' worth (although it's all there in Creative Destruction), those life-challenges, demanding environments, decisions with real consequences and problem-solving in a short space of time that seem to have gone to Cooper's head are really nothing more than euphemisms for maintaining a brutal, 45-year-old occupation of the Palestinian territories, with all that that entails by way of lording it over, humiliating, harrassing, arresting and shooting Palestinians, in addition to cosseting and guarding Israeli settlers. And so, if we're serious about replicating the Israeli conscription model in Australia, we'd better start choosing a nearby country to invade and occupy. New Zealand or Papua New Guinea maybe?
Alternatively (the cheaper option?), Australians could perhaps join the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) and learn the above skills from the experts. Nor should not being Jewish necessarily be an obstacle for those who wish to learn how to solve problems the Israeli way, namely, faster than Superman's proverbial speeding bullet, know what I mean?
And that's because we're currently blessed to be hosting a genuine dinky-di(e) Israeli general, Elazar Stern, who's reportedly out here to facilitate the conversion of those folk who maybe would like to join the Israeli army but alas "don't have paperwork to prove their family is Jewish." (Easing conversion in the Israeli army, The Australian Jewish News, 1/6/12)
As General Stern explained, "They ['Jews', usually Russian, unable to prove Jewish maternity but in the IDF nonetheless] declared their Judaism by their actions... When you ask someone to do a brit milah [ritual circumcision] you are asking them to sacrifice a very small part of their body, but soldiers give their entire bodies and there should be a friendly conversion process for them." (ibid)
Time to join the queue, folks! Now who'll be first? Well, I have an idea. As it happens, I found myself listening to Radio National's Late Night Live program on Tuesday night when its host, Phillip Adams (such a softie in these matters), gushed to his two Jewish guests: "Some people like Christopher Hitchens, and indeed myself, discover late in life that they may well in fact be Jewish." (Jewish peace activists)
So maybe Phillip could lead by example here. Just a quick snip (or not), and hey presto, you could not only be in the IDF like Flynn, but seriously kicking arse (if not worse) and getting ready to storm the corporate heights at the same time. Sounds like too good an offer to refuse, I reckon. How about it, Phillip?