Jordan occupies a unique position in Biblical prophecy. In Daniel 11:41 Russia, as the king of the north, will sweep through the Middle East and many countries will be overthrown. One country, however, that will escape this invasion will be Jordan—a country described as “Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon.” In addition to this the Jews who will flee from Russia’s invasion will flee to Jordan (Isa 16:3-5).

This implies that relations between Israel and Jordan will be friendly enough for Jews to believe that they will find a level of safety there, and that there is a military presence in that country which will be strong enough to dissuade Russia from invading and pursuing those fleeing Jews.

Developments are afoot which will bring the two countries closer together economically, as indicated by extracts from this article which was written by Ahron Shapiro on 16 April 2018 and appeared in the Australia/Israel Review magazine.

Cash-strapped Jordan may yet fully embrace Israel peace dividend

Nearly a quarter-century since signing a peace agreement with Israel, there are increasing signs that Jordan is ready to fully embrace the economic dividend the peace agreement promised but has, until now, failed to fully deliver to its economy.

An unfulfilled promise of the agreement – a free-trade park along the border – is quietly nearing completion in the Beit Shean region, south of the Sea of Galilee, while both Jordan and Israel have built freight rail networks that are naturally symbiotic and attuned for linking Arab markets with Europe through the Israeli port of Haifa.

All that’s missing is a golden spike.

The projects

In January 2017, unnoticed by the foreign press, there was a feature-length article that appeared in the Israeli business daily Globes about the construction of “Jordan Gate”, a revolutionary free trade zone located halfway between Haifa and Amman.

The trade zone would include factories on both sides of the Jordan River that could build products that could move – duty free – in either direction, while workers from either country operating in the zone would not need to use their passports to work in factories anywhere in the zone.

The park’s central edifice – a massive bridge, built to hold heavy freight and withstand severe earthquakes (quite possible in the Syria-African Rift seam region where the Jordan Valley sits), is scheduled to be completed next month.

Meanwhile, on the planning boards since last year is what Israeli Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz called the “Regional Peace Railway” plan, which would benefit Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority.

According to Katz:

“At the heart of the initiative, two main elements are proposed: Israel as a land bridge from Europe and the Mediterranean to Jordan and the countries to the east; and Jordan as a continental railway transport conduit,” through which goods will travel to Iraq and the Persian Gulf…

Katz noted that his rail plan would only capitalise upon an existing phenomenon that had arisen since the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War. Israel, he explained, has been serving as a conduit for thousands of trucks of goods to and from the Gulf States and other trading partners, primarily Turkey.

Finally, much has been written about the long-planned water pipeline that would bring the briney byproduct of desalination from a planned Jordanian plant on the Red Sea and use it to replenish the rapidly shrinking Dead Sea.

Jordan’s benefit analysis

According to an analysis by Ha’aretz‘s Economics Editor David Rosenberg on April 11, Jordan, under stress from an influx of refugees from wars in Syria and Iraq, is under the pump economically, its debt load raising red flags for global financial analysts.

Jordanian public debt has swelled to 95% of gross domestic product, from 71%, in eight years…

To its credit, Jordan is trying to grapple with its debt problem. In February, it unveiled an austerity budget in line with IMF recommendations that raises taxes and cuts subsidies, boosting the price of bread, tobacco and public transportation. Actually, the kingdom had no choice because the Gulf powers have not renewed their aid program. The U.S. has stepped in with some extra money, but not enough to make up the difference…

Israel’s benefit analysis

Yizhak Gal, a financial and business advisor specializing in the Arab markets writes:

…From the Israeli perspective, the importance of bilateral economic relations with the relatively small Jordanian economy is secondary. However, Jordan is very important as a bridge to Israeli trade with the big markets of the Gulf states and other Arab markets. According to a series of comprehensive work done in recent years, the opening of the Arab markets to Israel (as part of the process of [improved] political arrangements with the Arab world) will create a new and powerful growth engine for the Israeli economy.

This growth engine will enable an increase of one-quarter to one-third of GDP per capita in Israel, compared with the projected growth path today. The addition of this growth will bring Israel within a decade to the group of 15 richest countries in the world, and will create an increase of nearly 75 percent in the number of jobs compared with the number of jobs that the Israeli economy produces every year. The Arab [market] will become Israel’s most important, alongside the European market.