Despite the fact that the U.S has more pilots and better airplanes than Israel, It’s been years since the best American fighting jet-pilots last beat Israeli pilots in their annual “dog fight” training sessions.
It’s all about education. Most Israeli pilots have been dreaming about their jobs since childhood. A lot of them are sons of pilots, and most of them come from well established neighborhoods and communities, which push them to be the best of the best.
The Israeli society holds fighting jet pilots in high esteem ( “The good ones to the air force” is a famous Israeli saying). The Israeli Air Force has an aura of success, and holds the authority to take the best high school students from the best schools and, with the experience gained over the years, put them through a grueling training regime to turn them into pilots.
In the United States, being a pilot and serving in the army are not the most desired jobs. The Air Force can’t hand-pick the cream of the crop to become the best pilots in the world.
That is why Israel (Population 7 million) has better pilots than U.S.A (Population 307 million).
You can call it the “Sparta Effect”.
It’s named after the ancient Greek society that was known for its courageous, unbeatable warriors.
It’s not by chance that the Spartans were such great warriors.
The Spartans were the first to have compulsory education law funded by the state.
That law allowed parents and teachers to teach their kids, from a very early age, how to become the best warriors they could be. They were the first professional warriors and that’s why they were able to control societies that were 25 times bigger than them.
The Spartans and Israelis show us something that the world of football can learn from:
The right education system + experience/tradition + a society which directs you to do something very specific = success.
It happens because football is a national sport there and it gets almost all of the government’s sports budget.
The best Uruguayan athletes are directed to play football and the smart kids are encouraged to become football coaches.
It happens to some extent in Holland and Spain as well, two nations that, according to Michel Platini, had invested most intelligently in
education and training.
Size does matter, and the larger countries do have an advantage.
However, with the right education, concentrated funding and the right state of mind, small countries can still leave their mark on