CNBC Insight This ‘Big’ RI Figure Asks Everyone to Learn from Jewish Entrepreneurs – 20 hours ago

Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – In Indonesia, discussions about Israel can stir emotions. This could happen, of course, in connection with the country’s treatment of Palestine since 1948.

As the country with the largest Muslim population in the world, it is natural for society to react strongly to the escalation of conflict there. Even though there is this tendency, apparently not everyone behaves the same way. One of them is Abdurrahman Wahid or Gus Dur, the 4th President of the Republic of Indonesia and an Indonesian Islamic figure.


In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Gus Dur was indeed a figure anti-mainstream. So far, he is the only high-ranking state official in Indonesia who has encouraged the country to establish relations with Israel.

The reason is citing internal exposure Peace with Gus Dur (2010), so that Indonesia’s bargaining position in the Middle East can improve. If this happens, Gus Dur believes Indonesia can play a more active role in bringing peace to the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

Regarding Israel and Jews, Gus Dur also had a different and interesting experience. He gained this experience while studying in Baghdad, Iraq, in the late 1960s. At that time, Gus Dur had a Jewish friend named Ramin.

Ramin is a smart figure. According to Nur Kholik in Interconnection of Liberal Islam and Islamic Education Abdurrahman Wahid (2021), Ramin read a lot of books and became Gus Dur’s discussion partner. Moreover, Ramin also works as a journalist who has broader knowledge than Gus Dur.

During the discussion, apparently Gus Dur secretly studied Ramin’s thoughts regarding Jewish political, cultural and economic lines.

Gus Dur was also curious: why have Jews influenced the American elite to this day? Why are the Jews so militant and strong in solidarity that they dominate the world?

Based on this curiosity, Gus Dur saw Jews as a great power that was worth considering.

“We must learn from the spirit of the Jewish people,” said Gus Dur, as imitated by his friend Mahfudz Ridwan, quoted from One Hour Closer (2010).

Not only in the form of an appeal, Gus Dur also had the intention of sending Indonesian scholars to study in Israel. The aim is to be able to study Jewish governance, politics, economics and agriculture which is much more advanced than Indonesia.

Of course, Gus Dur expressed this appeal and intention consciously. He knew that all of this would be difficult to implement and would definitely result in protests. And we all know that this intention never came true, even though Gus Dur was once the number one person in Indonesia.

Gus DurPhoto: getty images
Gus Dur

Jewish Success

It should be noted that Gus Dur’s curiosity seems to be shared by many people. The reason is, Jews are known to have had many positive achievements throughout world history. During the 20th century, for example, Jews in the West succeeded in becoming intellectual figures and occupying the highest economic classes. Then quite a few of them succeeded in winning the highest award in science, namely the Nobel.

In the period 1901-1962 alone, 16% of Nobel science winners were Jewish or of Jewish descent. For example, the famous physicist of Jewish descent, Albert Einstein, who won the Nobel Prize in physics in 1921.

In fact, referring to the research “Jewish Educational and Economic Success in the United States” (2007), Paul Burstein specifically wrote that in the United States, Jews were recorded as more economically and educationally successful than other national and racial groups.

Regarding further discussion regarding the reasons and secrets of Jewish success, CNBC Indonesia have discussed this issue specifically here

[Gambas:Video CNBC]

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