Tag: Start-up Nation

ISRAELI TECHNOLOGY PROPELS DIPLOMACY AND BRINGS INNOVATION TO THE WORLD

Tapping into the Brilliance of Israel and the Zionist Dream: Asaf Romirowsky, JNS, May 13, 2018—As Israel celebrates its 70th birthday, the global Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment movement has been propagating the idea of ”anti-normalization,“ advocating for complete and total isolation of Israel…

Business Ties to Arab World Skyrocketing, Says Venture Capitalist Margalit: Max Schindler, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 22, 2018— As Israel marked Independence Day, the country was benefiting from ever-growing business ties with the Arab world, according to one Israeli executive who has helped paved the way for the budding rapprochement.

Israeli Startups Lead the Way in Car Tech Revolution: Shoshanna Solomon, Times of Israel, May 24, 2018— Throngs of investors and entrepreneurs hobnobbed at the EcoMotion conference in Tel Aviv this week at the nation’s largest smart-transportation event on Wednesday.

Kosher Travel and Israeli Technology: A Match Made in Heaven: Carl Hoffman, Jerusalem Post, May 17, 2018— Okay, now here’s something you don’t read about every day. Indeed, you have probably never read about anything quite like this before.

On Topic Links

Three Myths About Israeli Startups Busted – and One Confirmed: Ruti Levy, Ha’aretz, May 21, 2018

Vroom, Vroom: Israeli Tech Is At The Forefront Of The Newest Mobility Trends: Simona Shemer, NoCamels, May 24, 2018

The Future of Greek-Israeli Relations: Dr. George N. Tzogopoulos, BESA, April 8, 2018

Netanyahu Celebrates Growing Trilateral Ties With Cyprus and Greece: Breaking Israel News, May 8, 2018

 

TAPPING INTO THE BRILLIANCE OF ISRAEL AND THE ZIONIST DREAM

Asaf Romirowsky

JNS, May 13, 2018

As Israel celebrates its 70th birthday, the global Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment movement has been propagating the idea of “anti-normalization,” advocating for complete and total isolation of Israel, rejecting any interaction between Arabs and Jews, and underscoring that Jews cannot be or have a nation-state.

At every stage of normalizing Palestinian relations with Israel, especially during the Oslo years, extremist factions opposed the very idea of talking with Israelis. This is now the core mission of the BDS movement. Moreover, at every juncture where Israel tries to highlight its global contributions and humanism, it gets slapped for hiding its true “evil nature.” One example is highlighting Israel’s enlightened treatment of gays by declaring it “pink-washing.”

Overcoming the anti-normalization is not a simple task, but it begins with demanding normalization and acceptance. This necessity is illustrated in Avi Jorisch’s latest book, Thou Shalt Innovate: How Israeli Ingenuity Repairs the World. Jorisch selected 15 technological innovations and their entrepreneurs from such fields as pharmaceuticals, solar power, defense, agriculture and cyber-security. Through personal stories, Jorisch is able to share compelling individuals who are the ingenuity and tenacity of Israel and Israelis.

What makes this book unique is that it is a clear departure from the author’s previous work. Jorisch, a seasoned Middle East analyst with an expertise in Hezbollah and Iran, is no stranger to the Middle East or its threats. The book was born in the summer of 2014 during “Operation Protective Edge,” when Israel was fighting Hamas in Gaza. Jorisch had a firsthand experience with Israel’s Iron Dome missile-defense system, which intercepted the missiles while Jorisch was carrying his son to a shelter. This led him to tell the Iron Dome tale and the race to create other systems throughout the country.

He tell the story of Eli Beer from the United Hatzalah ambulance service, who created “ambucycles”—motorcycles equipped with first-responder apparatus enabling EMTs to evade traffic and arrive on the scene in the first critical moments—what Jorisch correctly calls “the Uber of Ambulances.” In another example, the author shares the Israeli-made Emergency Bandage that saved the life of Congressman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot back in 2011 in a parking a lot of supermarket in Tucson Arizona where she was to address a crowd. The uniqueness of the bandage, developed by Bernard Bar Natan, consists of a sterile pad that medics apply to the wound with a special built-in handlebar that can provide up to 30 pounds of pressure to firm the bleeding. The bandage has saved countless lives all over the world, and is a required instrument in the tool box of the Israel Defense Forces, the U.S. Armed Services and the British Army.

Israelis crave being seen as a normal people and country, and to share their experience with the world. At the same time, the reality of being a tiny country with few natural resources—though abundant human capital—has driven innovation. Highlighting normalization and innovation are functions of not wanting to be defined by the Arab-Israeli conflict, while at the same time demonstrating how they excel despite it. Israelis are burdened with the need to fight for survival as well as excellence. The Zionist dream did not end in 1948; its redefinition seven decades later depends on finding a happy medium between defeating its strategic threats and advocating its ability to be an active contributor to community of nations. Innovation is key to this process.

The book is a welcome addition to goals of appreciating the Zionist dream and the increasing the normalcy of Israel, while underscoring the abnormal conditions in which these inventions came about. It highlights Israel’s current reality. At the end of the day, Jorisch correctly states that “Israel does not have a monopoly on good ideas or proper execution. All countries would benefit from tapping into their own cultures in order to apply their own lessons to the industries and professions they have excelled in for centuries. With this said, the Jewish state’s achievements for the benefit of mankind should be celebrated and emulated by the global community.” Internalizing this message may help combat growing anti-normalization and overcome BDS. It will certainly bring important innovations to the rest of the world.

Asaf Romirowsky is a CIJR Academic Fellow

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BUSINESS TIES TO ARAB WORLD SKYROCKETING,

SAYS VENTURE CAPITALIST MARGALIT

Max Schindler

Jerusalem Post, Apr. 22, 2018

As Israel marked Independence Day, the country was benefiting from ever-growing business ties with the Arab world, according to one Israeli executive who has helped paved the way for the budding rapprochement. “It’s taken 70 years but we’re starting to see signs of normalization,” said former Labor MK and venture capitalist Erel Margalit, who travels often throughout the Middle East to meet with emirs, monarchs and Arab business leaders. “We saw it in the beginning of the ‘90s with Oslo, it [normalization] crashed and now it’s reemerging.”

Both Israel and Sunni Arab states are seeing a convergence of threats, mainly stemming from the shared menace both face from Shi’ite Iran and its proxies. Yet geopolitical interests may not fully explain burgeoning ties with the Arab world. “When I go to Europe, and I was just in Brussels, I meet with key Arab leaders, both in their countries and in other parts,” said Margalit. He chuckled that it is easier for him to meet in a business capacity than in his previous role as parliamentarian to discuss economic projects in water, food security and cybersecurity.

Globally, with the digital economy taking over brick-and-mortar shops, Israel’s stature as the “Start-Up Nation” could play a key role in disrupting key industries – healthcare, retail, automotive, food and agriculture. Other countries are clamoring for those technologies. “In the last 20 years, Israel has taken the technology developed in defense, in universities, and transitioned that into the hi-tech world,” said Margalit, who founded Jerusalem Venture Partners, which invests in many of these tech firms. “In the communications industry, Israel is the single-most influential country, to change telephony… to data, to video, to fiber-optics, wireless. The technologies that changed the battlefield are changing the world.”

Outside of the Middle East, Israeli technology is propelling diplomacy with sometimes-erstwhile European allies. Israeli expertise in big data, business intelligence and artificial intelligence is of great interest to European and Arab countries. In meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron and other European leaders, Margalit has often made that point. “Innovation is becoming the name of diplomacy as well. If France wants to compete with Germany for hegemony in Europe – and Germany is very strong in industry – the only chance France has is to bring innovation to the table, and Israel can help unlock that.”

In the Middle East, Margalit publicly named Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Dubai, Abu Dhabi as countries that seek to incorporate the Israeli homegrown tools. The executive has also met with leaders from Oman and Tunisia. Margalit recently visited Qatar to participate in a regional development conference, the first appearance of an Israeli leader in 10 years. With Saudi Arabia now developing a $500 billion smart city mere kilometers from the southern city of Eilat, Israeli companies are in a prime place to bid for contracts and services.

A number of Israeli companies are talking to the Saudi sovereign wealth fund – the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia – about developing the proposed 26,500-sq.km. “smart city” zone, Margalit previously told The Jerusalem Post. Nicknamed NEOM, the smart city plans to host hi-tech companies working in a range of fields, including solar energy, water, biotechnology, robotics and food technology, all of which are fields where Israeli start-ups and firms are more established than competitors in Arab countries.

Another sign of the incipient normalization was Saudi Arabia recently allowing Air India to cross its territory in flying to Tel Aviv. For Margalit, burgeoning business ties will pave the way for political opportunities to reach a regional peace agreement with Arab countries.

WHAT TROUBLES Margalit lies outside of hi-tech – the large swaths of the local populace that are being left out in the cold. “Thirty percent of Israel’s kids are not getting attention, are sometimes not bringing sandwiches to school, are not standing by the criteria of the basic tests in the schools,” said Margalit. “They don’t have a chance to finish the bagrut [high school matriculation exam] – to be a part of the 21st century and economy.”

Margalit stepped down from the Knesset last fall after losing the primary to lead the left-leaning opposition Labor Party. Despite being out of the political realm, Israel’s social inequalities continue to nag at him. That has led Margalit as an executive and philanthropist to promote subsidizing Israeli hi-tech firms to set-up in the country’s periphery.

The Israeli government has adopted parts of Margalit’s idea. While Beersheba is focusing on cybersecurity in the South and Haifa is specializing in healthcare IT in the North, Margalit’s pet project is food-tech for the northernmost city of Kiryat Shmona. “It has a chance to position Israel as the food-tech center – turning the food-tech category into a startup investment in the Galilee,” said Margalit. “That would create 15,000 to 20,000 jobs if we do it right in the next several years.” That represents what Margalit calls “centers of excellence,” sprinkled around the country.

“The young woman who graduated from Kiryat Shmona is just as talented as one who graduated from a top school in Herzliya,” Margalit said. “But she doesn’t have a chance to succeed there, up north, she must go to New York or San Francisco. So why not bring the Technion and University of Haifa to her?”

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ISRAELI STARTUPS LEAD THE WAY IN CAR TECH REVOLUTION                                         Shoshanna Solomon

Times of Israel, May 24, 2018

Throngs of investors and entrepreneurs hobnobbed at the EcoMotion conference in Tel Aviv this week at the nation’s largest smart-transportation event on Wednesday. Technologies were debated and cards exchanged as talk of opportunities and joint ventures filled the packed hall on Wednesday. In just a few years, Israel, which has no car manufacturing activities to speak of, has become an unlikely leader in technologies that look set to transform the vehicles we know.

The Startup Nation’s foray into the field started with the electric car company Better Place, which in spite of its high-profile bankruptcy in May 2013, is credited with putting Israel’s automotive tech scene on the map. Google bought the Raanana-based mapping company Waze for a reported some $1 billion in 2013. And in March last year, Intel agreed to acquire the self-driving car technology powerhouse Mobileye, located in Jerusalem, for a whopping $15.3 billion. BMW, Ford, General, Honda, Motors, Uber, Volkswagen and Volvo are all paying attention, and have been investing in Israeli technology since 2016.

On Tuesday, Germany’s Volkswagen Group officially opened its “innovation campus” in Tel Aviv, which will be the focus of its research and development activities in Israel. And BP Ventures, the venture arm of the British multinational oil and gas firm BP plc, said, also on Tuesday, it has invested $20 million in Israeli startup StoreDot, which is developing ultra-fast battery charging technology that can be used for electric vehicles.

“We recognize Israel as a top innovation hub in the world where we will find some of the technology that will build the car of the future,” Matthieu De Chanville, the deputy head of Alliance Ventures, the venture arm of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, which is scouting for Israeli technologies, said in an interview with The Times of Israel on Wednesday.

There are 423 active companies in Israel in the field of automotive, autonomous-cars, connected cars, transportation and mobility, according to data provided by Start-Up Nation Central, a nonprofit organization. There were just 207 in 2011. Israel’s auto-tech industry raised $814 million in 2017, triple the amount it raised in 2015, and $182 million in the first quarter of 2018, in line with last year’s pace, according to Start-Up Nation Central.

Gett, Via, Innoviz Technologies, Valens and Moovit are the startups with the largest funding rounds, while the most active investors in the sector in Israel include OurCrowd, Maniv Mobility, Magma Venture Partners and Aleph, according to Start-Up Nation Central data.

Among the foreign visitors to the EcoMotion event is an Italian delegation of mobility industry representatives looking for Israeli automotive technologies, especially in the fields of autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence and Internet of Things (IoT) in cars, new materials and alternative fuels. The Italian delegation is led by Italy’s second largest bank, Banca Intesa San Paolo.

On Wednesday, the innovation center of the bank signed an accord with Jerusalem-based crowdfunding venture capital fund OurCrowd to increase cooperation between Israeli and Italian startups and boost commercial opportunities in Europe in the areas of automotive, fashion technologies, food technologies and manufacturing, OurCrowd said.

Here are some of the revolutionary things that the Israeli startups are doing: Alerts for forgotten babies in cars: Tel Aviv-based startup Guardian Optical Technologies has developed a car sensor that it says is capable of saving lives of infants accidentally left in cars, by detecting the smallest heartbeat. The company’s sensor uses optical motion analysis to detect the tiniest movement within the car, including an infant heartbeat. When it detects motion, it can notify a driver who has already left the car and automatically turn on the air-conditioning.

In addition, said Gil Dotan, the CEO of Guardian, the startup is working to make the sensor, which is placed on the inside of the car roof, a collector of such data as number of people in the car, their size, position and posture, so as to enable the monitoring of what is going on in the car. This information can be used to trigger alerts about violence within the car or bus, or about forgotten items to help fleet managers of autonomous cars monitor their fleet. It will also allow insurance companies to better tailor their policies based on data of how and when and who uses the car, he explained.

The sensor is at the pilot stage and the startup is working with automakers in Europe, Japan and the US and with Tier 1 companies that supply systems to car makers, to try out the product, which Dotan hopes will be commercialized in 2021. The company has raised $8.5 million to date from investors including Maniv Mobility and Mirai Creation Fund, marking the first time that Toyota Motor Corporation and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. have invested in an Israeli company…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

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KOSHER TRAVEL AND ISRAELI TECHNOLOGY:

A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN

Carl Hoffman

Jerusalem Post, May 17, 2018

Okay, now here’s something you don’t read about every day. Indeed, you have probably never read about anything quite like this before. An Israeli travel agency that caters primarily to Orthodox Jews – which organizes things like “kosher cruises” and annual Passover programs in several hotels throughout Israel – decides one day to install a solar-powered electrical system in a poor African village’s elementary school, raises money for the project, visits the village for the inauguration of the school’s electrical system, fixes the school’s classroom floors, and plans to remotely monitor the project from Israel to make sure the solar-powered electrical system continues to work properly.

Strange as it may seem, the story is true. The travel agency is Eddie’s Kosher Travel – specializing, they say, in serving “the discerning observant Jewish traveler”; the village is Dembo, in the poverty-stricken African country Malawi; and the project is being conducted in conjunction with Innovation: Africa, a Herzliya-based NGO that has thus far impacted the lives of over 1,000,000 people by bringing innovative Israeli solar and water technologies to remote African villages.

HOW DID this come about? Says David Walles, Australian immigrant and CEO of Eddie’s Travel, “We run annually numerous Passover programs at five hotels around Israel in which hundreds of families from around the world join us. Every year, we look for ways to enrich these programs by having guest speakers come to give inspirational talks. These are guest scholars, rabbis, lecturers, etc.

“One of the speakers who came to Hotel Hacienda in Ma’alot last Passover was the founder and CEO of Innovation: Africa, Sivan Ya’ari. My wife and I were very impressed by her story and what she has achieved out there. She spoke with no view to take it any further. It just filled a slot on a main evening of Passover, where we had 350 people listening to her talk. She captivated our audience.

“People kept coming up to us over the course of the rest of Passover and asked, ‘What can we do? How can we get involved here?’ So we sat down with Sivan, and she told us that, through our business, we can adopt a village school in Africa.” Ya’ari told the Walleses that for no more than $20,000, Innovation: Africa would install a fully functioning electrical system, powered by solar panels, sponsored by Eddie’s Travel and dedicated to it. “She said we’d be changing the lives of hundreds of people in that village,” Walles says.

Ya’ari recalls, “Eddie’s Travel decided to adopt a school. So we gave them a list of many schools that are waiting for light. Children that have never seen light at night. We are operating in eight African countries, and as you can imagine, we have many, many villages waiting. David, his wife, Chana, and their kids decided to adopt one in Malawi. I was very happy about this because Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world. They decided to bring Israeli solar technology to power the school, to power the house of the teachers, to bring enough energy to run computers.”

And having decided to do that, the Walleses went to work. “So we put the idea out there, and the response was overwhelming. We put in some significant seed money of our own, and we encouraged others to do the same. And we raised that money,” David says…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

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On Topic Links

Three Myths About Israeli Startups Busted – and One Confirmed: Ruti Levy, Ha’aretz, May 21, 2018—The hype around Israel’s high-tech sector is real, but the true story is often in the details. That’s what the Central Bureau of Statistics report on the industry for the years 2011-16 that was released Monday showed.

Vroom, Vroom: Israeli Tech Is At The Forefront Of The Newest Mobility Trends: Simona Shemer, NoCamels, May 24, 2018—Tel Aviv is on track to become a capital of mobility, placing Israel as a leader and trendsetter on a global scale in the automotive tech and smart transportation sector.

The Future of Greek-Israeli Relations: Dr. George N. Tzogopoulos, BESA, April 8, 2018—The deterioration of relations between Israel and Turkey that began at the end of 2008 led the Israeli leadership to look for alternative alliances in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Netanyahu Celebrates Growing Trilateral Ties With Cyprus and Greece: Breaking Israel News, May 8, 2018—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu celebrated the growing trilateral ties between Israel, Cyprus and Greece, during a meeting with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and before a trilateral summit including Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

ISRAEL’S ADVANCEMENTS IN TECHNOLOGY, MEDICINE, AND SCIENCE BENEFIT ALL HUMANKIND

What Canada Can Learn From Israel's Entrepreneurial Ethos: Rick Spence, Financial Post, Nov. 21, 2017— In the heart of the Old City of Jerusalem sits a ruined citadel called David’s Tower.

Why You Should Support Cancer Research in Israel: Benjamin Brafman, JTA, Nov. 15, 2017— As a busy criminal defense attorney with a roster of high-profile clients, I am not known to shy away from a fight.

How President Rivlin Could Revive the Israeli Presidential Conferences: Manfred Gerstenfeld, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 25, 2017— With the termination of Shimon Peres’ presidency, his initiative of Israeli presidential conferences ended as well.

As Buildings Evolve in Startup Nation, Architects Create Space for Work and Play: Shoshanna Solomon, Times of Israel, Nov. 23, 2017— Driving up Route 4 from Tel Aviv to Ra’anana, it is impossible not to notice — especially at night when it is all lit up — a square glass box of a building with vaguely egg-shaped windows that dominates the landscape.

 

On Topic Links

 

Israel Successfully Launches First Space Lab (Video): Arutz Sheva, Nov. 27, 2017

87 Global Corporations Flocked To Israel For Tech And Talent In Past Three Years: NoCamels, Nov. 07, 2017

US-Israel Fund Invests $4.8m in Clean Energy: Priyanka Shrestha, Energy Live, Nov. 9, 2017

Israel’s “Teflon” Prime Minister: Naomi Ragen, Breaking Israel News, Nov. 14, 2017

                                                           

 

WHAT CANADA CAN LEARN

FROM ISRAEL'S ENTREPRENEURIAL ETHOS   

Rick Spence

Financial Post, Nov. 21, 2017

 

In the heart of the Old City of Jerusalem sits a ruined citadel called David’s Tower. Fought over by King David himself, Romans, Arabs, Crusaders, Ottomans and Israelis, it’s now a museum spanning 4,000 years of history. But the castle is soon to assume another identity: as home to a startup accelerator specializing in virtual reality.

 

High tech/Old City is a fitting symbol for today’s Jerusalem. Since the publication of the 2008 best-seller Startup Nation, Israel has revelled in its reputation as an innovation power. But with most of that activity in Tel Aviv, Israel is now creating an innovation cluster in Jerusalem. It’s a city divided by history, faith and politics. But Israel’s innovation leaders hope this ongoing culture clash is a creative cauldron from which edgy, innovative ideas can emerge. Think Austin, Tex., or Boulder, Colo., but with more edge. (And hummus.)

 

Proof? Three months ago, Silicon Valley goliath Intel acquired Jerusalem-based Mobileye for US$15 billion (equivalent to the combined market cap of Canada’s Shopify and BlackBerry). A leader in computer vision and artificial intelligence for autonomous vehicles, Mobileye spun out of the computer science department of Jerusalem’s Hebrew University — an institution founded in 1918 (30 years before Israel itself) by such visionaries as Einstein and Freud. (So there’s Lesson 1: To become a Startup Nation, put education first.)

 

To defend its title, Israel annually selects entrepreneurs from around the world to visit the country to study its startup secrets and meet its coolest entrepreneurs. It also sponsors a journalist from each of those countries to cover “their” entrepreneur’s journey. I joined the tour this month along with Toronto entrepreneur Maayan Ziv, founder of an accessibility app called AccessNow. Although the propaganda was predictably heavy-handed, I came away convinced that Israel has much to teach Canada about innovation. And seeing Israel through Ziv’s eyes revealed how Canadians can better compete.

 

On Day One of our five-day tour, my group of 22 journalists got some startling stats from Ran Natanzon, head of innovation and brand management (Lesson 2: Marketing matters!) for Israel’s ministry of foreign affairs. Natanzon said Israel ranks first in the world in R&D spending as a percent of GDP. And it’s third, behind the U.S. and China, in the number of companies it has listed on NASDAQ. In 2016, venture capitalists invested US$6 billion in Israeli deals. That’s twice the US$3.2 billion invested last year in Canada (even though our GDP is five times Israel’s). Clearly, Israel breeds aggressive entrepreneurs the way Canada produces hockey players. Natanzon listed numerous reasons for Israel’s entrepreneur surplus. Among them:

 

Israel has few natural resources, which means entrepreneurs have to create new value;  A limited domestic market means Israelis have to focus on exports; Israelis display can-do attitude and a culture of challenging authority. They also have chutzpah, a unique confidence that Merriam-Webster defines as “flagrant boldness.”; The flip side of Israel’s small market size means it’s easy to connect with influencers, because you already know someone who knows them; Every Israeli youth is required to serve in the military (or another form of national service). Forced exposure to team-building, shared purpose, mission-planning and execution produces focused leaders at an early age.

 

The rest of our week in Jerusalem was a whirlwind of meetings and open houses. We visited a rehab hospital that’s now commercializing its breakthroughs – such as a $100 wheelchair made of plastic; Hebrew U’s tech-transfer office; and an accelerator that is bringing entrepreneurship training to a downscale neighbourhood, with special programs for primary schools, women and the oft-neglected Arab and ultra-Orthodox populations.

 

We met with such companies as Mobileye and its spinoff firm, OrCam Technologies, which uses Mobileye’s vision systems and AI to create an eyeglass-shaped device that reads signs, text and money, reading everything aloud to the wearer, giving new mobility to the visually impaired. (An IPO is in the works.) We also met Jon Meved, the founder of OurCrowd, an equity crowdfunding platform for global startups and accredited investors. And within the stone walls of the Tower of David, we met virtual-reality entrepreneurs who are out to revitalize the museum experience and change the way you shop.

 

Meanwhile, my designated entrepreneur, Maayan Ziv, was on a mission of her own. She is still trying to monetize her AccessNow app, which enables users to rate buildings and locations anywhere in the world on their accessibility to people with disabilities. Ziv herself lives with muscular dystrophy, which has left her needing to get around in a wheelchair. With two Israeli-born parents, she speaks Hebrew and knows the culture, so she was eager to meet potential Israeli partners or investors. Ziv says she was truly impressed by Israel’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. “The thing that struck me most is the way they think globally from day one. They are constrained; even if they want to trade with their neighbours, they can’t. I think that’s why they’re so successful.”…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

                                                                       

 

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WHY YOU SHOULD SUPPORT CANCER RESEARCH IN ISRAEL

Benjamin Brafman

JTA, Nov. 15, 2017

 

As a busy criminal defense attorney with a roster of high-profile clients, I am not known to shy away from a fight. It doesn’t hurt that I grew up in Brooklyn, the scrappy son of immigrants and Holocaust survivors. But nothing could have prepared me for the fight of my life, when my wife, Lynda, was diagnosed with breast cancer early on in our marriage. We had two young kids at home, and Lynda had to undergo a radical mastectomy and a year of chemotherapy before she was declared cancer-free and cleared for reconstructive surgery. I credit her oncologist, Dr. Yashar Hirshaut, with saving Lynda’s life.

 

What I did not realize at the time was that Lynda’s lifesaving treatment was made possible by the yeoman’s work of scientists working long hours in unglamorous labs trying to understand the biological forces that drive cancer – and how to stop them. So when God blessed me with professional success, I resolved to join the fight against this scurrilous disease. I turned to Dr. Hirshaut for advice on where to direct my support. His answer surprised me: Israel.

 

Though a tiny state with a population of just over 8 million, Israel has made disproportionately large contributions to the fight against cancer. A breakthrough in the 1980s by an Israeli scientist, Eli Canaani, was critical to the development of Gleevec, a drug that has saved the lives of millions diagnosed with leukemia. Velcade, a drug used to treat bone marrow cancer, was based on the research of two Israeli professors, Avram Hershko and Aaron Ciechanover, and their collaborator Irwin Rose, who went on to win the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 2004.

 

Israeli scientists discovered the role that mutations in the p53 gene play in causing cancerous tumors, and how a minor mutation in the RAD51 gene increases the risk of breast cancer in women with the BRCA2 gene mutation. It was ICRF-supported scientists at Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Hadassah Medical Center who contributed to the platform science that resulted in the development of Doxil, the first drug encapsulated in a microscopic fat bubble for direct delivery to a tumor site. In case after case, significant advances in the science of cancer began in Israel. And then there is this important fact: Because of a lower salary structure and overhead costs, research dollars go much further in Israel than in almost any other developed nation.

 

So if you want your support to have maximal impact, Dr. Hirshaut told me, invest in Israel. This, too, animates my support of Israeli science. Despite a spirit-rending campaign in some quarters to isolate the Israeli academic and research community, Israelis continue to make remarkable advancements in technology, medicine, and science – advancements that accrue to the benefit of all humankind.

 

Want to know what goes on at Israeli institutions of higher education? Learning. Insight. Imagination. Discovery. Healing. The best way to improve Israel’s image around the globe? Support its life-saving science.

 

For me, the question wasn’t whether to invest in Israel, but where? So many Israeli institutions are doing promising cancer research. How could I choose? Put me in a courtroom and I know my way around. A research lab, not so much. Dr. Hirshaut introduced me to the Israel Cancer Research Fund (ICRF), which raises funds to support the most promising scientific and medical research at institutions across Israel.

 

The idea for the fund came in 1975 from a group of American and Canadian researchers, oncologists and supporters looking for ways to bolster the fight against cancer while combating the problem of “brain drain” from Israeli research institutions. In the four decades since its establishment, ICRF has distributed more than $60 million through 2,300 research grants to scientists at 24 Israeli institutions — from post-doctoral fellows to Nobel Prize-winners.

 

To identify the most deserving recipients, several dozen esteemed scientists and doctors from throughout North America meet annually in New York for a rigorous two-day proposal review. The decision-making can be wrenching because life and death hangs in the balance. That’s because every year, dozens of promising proposals go unfunded for one simple reason: We don’t have enough money. Who knows whether one of those deserving, unfunded requests could have yielded clues to overcoming the early-detection problem of lung or ovarian cancer, or the stubborn lethality of pancreatic cancer?

 

The simple fact is this: Israel’s government alone cannot meet the needs of scientific research in Israel. Without extra support from Diaspora Jews, Israel risks losing these scientists and humanity risks losing critical, life-saving advancements in the fight against cancer. At times of crisis, Israel is often among the first countries to step up, from the 2010 earthquake in Haiti to the recent earthquakes in Mexico. Israel even extends a helping hand to Syrians, whose country is hostile to the Jewish state. We need to step up for Israel. There’s no better cause, and no better place to invest in the fight against cancer. I rest my case.

 

 

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HOW PRESIDENT RIVLIN COULD REVIVE

THE ISRAELI PRESIDENTIAL CONFERENCES

Manfred Gerstenfeld

Jerusalem Post, Nov. 25, 2017

 

With the termination of Shimon Peres’ presidency, his initiative of Israeli presidential conferences ended as well. Five such gatherings took place between 2008 and 2013. President Reuven Rivlin would do well to reinstate these annual conferences. The potential to benefit Israel is enormous.

 

To obtain the maximum benefit for Israel, the formula devised under Peres would require significant changes. In the past, the conferences included a strange mix of both topics and invitees. By far the best sessions of the past conferences were those that addressed the newest developments and expectations for the future in several advanced scientific fields. If one did not come early to the sessions there would be no remaining seats. The panels consisted of both foreign and Israeli scientists. In those that I attended, the Israeli presentations were as insightful and impressive as those by scholars from abroad.

 

On the other hand, there were some sessions on world Jewry in which the panelists were mainly rehashing what one could regularly read in Jewish media. There are enough other gatherings where these issues can be discussed. One also got the impression that the organizers had minimized the number of Orthodox and Center- Right speakers. Once, absurdly enough, an extreme critic of Israel, Peter Beinart, was invited.

 

Also, some of the goals announced were greatly overstated. Did the discussions at these conferences really – as suggested in 2013 –“engage the central issues that will influence the face of our future: geopolitics, economics, society, environment, culture, identity, education, new media and more”? It would have been much better to have been a bit more modest.

 

What would be the best new strategy for these conferences? First, it would be important to identify the areas in which Israel is at the world’s forefront. There should be sessions on topics concerning recent advances and possible future directions. The panels should consist of leading foreign and Israeli participants. Determining where Israel is a world leader or co-leader is crucial. Some very diverse areas are obvious candidates. For instance, cybersecurity, water technology, trauma treatment and the setting up of field hospitals. There are, however, many others which do not immediately come to mind. Identifying those areas of knowledge and expertise where Israel is among global leaders would rapidly create a long list.

 

Once one has identified the fields in which Israelis are among the world leaders, the next step would be to ask the country’s top experts in these areas who to invite from abroad. The conferences would be broadcast in real time to receive as wide an audience as possible. In previous conferences the speakers included politicians, writers, actors, a vulgar American comedian and so on. Such people could also attend, but there would no opening session where well-known invitees express their truisms and platitudes. Distinguished cultural performances could however be a welcome addition.

 

The conference core of topics in the above categories could be complemented with discussions about crucial world issues. To mention a few almost at random: the future of liberal democracy, sovereignty versus globalization, which type of multiculturalism could be viable, and truth versus fake news. It wouldn’t take much effort to define a few more.

 

One of the huge advantages for the participants in the panels would be the greatly varied interdisciplinary character of the conference’s speakers. Top people in a certain field usually participate in conferences where the attendees are mainly from professions close to their own. This diversity would increase the attractiveness of the conference for the panelists.

 

President Peres found generous patrons who financed the conferences he initiated. There is no reason why such a prestigious conference under the auspices of President Rivlin would not find similar donors. His international prestige would be enhanced by these gatherings as well. Regarding the technicalities of the conference, one could learn much from the experiences of staff members who were been part of the organization of the previous conferences.

 

There are many potential advantages for Israel. With the right public relations these conferences would expose to the world a broad spectrum of Israeli knowledge and inventiveness, including much that was greatly beneficial to people worldwide. As Israel is frequently attacked by a wide range of enemies and opponents, the conferences could, to a certain extent, also be a counterweight to this hatred and defamation. President Peres had a preference for interviewing some leaders of science during the conferences. This however was an extra and the conference could have proceeded easily without it. The important thing is that President Rivlin take the initiative, that the invitations to the conference go out in his name, and that he presides over the conference.                             

 

Contents

AS BUILDINGS EVOLVE IN STARTUP NATION,

ARCHITECTS CREATE SPACE FOR WORK AND PLAY

Shoshanna Solomon

Times of Israel, Nov. 23, 2017

 

Driving up Route 4 from Tel Aviv to Ra’anana, it is impossible not to notice — especially at night when it is all lit up — a square glass box of a building with vaguely egg-shaped windows that dominates the landscape. It is the new local headquarters of SAP, the German software giant: the name, shining at the top of the structure, serves as a reminder that the so-called Startup Nation is a magnet for tech conglomerates who set up operations in Israel in a bid to tap into its technological prowess.

 

There are some 286 active multinational corporations in Israel today, according to Start-up Nation Central, a nonprofit that tracks the tech industry in Israel; some 87 have opened shop over the past three years. They mainly operate research and development centers, and most started their activities via the acquisition of local startups. Giants like Apple, Google, Facebook, Samsung, Microsoft, Amazon and Intel are competing for Israeli talent. They draw inspiration from the brash Israeli can-do-it-all attitude and chutzpah, but they also infuse the local tech ecosystem with different management styles, an alternative corporate culture, and a new approach to the way they want their office buildings to look and feel.

 

These cash-rich technology firms are building or have built bold headquarters in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, flagship symbols of what their firms want to convey to their clients and employees. Apple workers this year started moving into their massive new headquarters nicknamed the “spaceship” in Cupertino, California. It’s designed by UK architect Lord Norman Foster, who worked closely with Apple’s legendary CEO, the late Steve Jobs, to come up with a symphony of glass, steel, stone and trees. Cloud-computing firm Salesforce has also set up a new steel-and-glass headquarters in San Francisco, while ride-sharing firm Uber has designed an entirely see-through head office.

 

As these multinational tech firm make homes for themselves in Israel, either through designing their own towers as SAP did or by renting office space in new structures, or renovating old ones, they bring with them their different standards, requirements and demands. And this is starting to revolutionize how office buildings are being built and designed. And it’s not only multinationals: homegrown firms, like auto-technology company Mobileye, which was acquired by Intel Corp. in March for a whopping $15.3 billion, are also setting up new headquarters with specifications that are changing the look and feel of local office buildings. And while to some the Israel-designed structures may not embody the beauty and the boldness of London’s Gherkin tower or the Louvre Pyramid and its fellow edifices of the 1980s Grands Projets in Paris, they may be a harbinger of exciting designs to come.

 

For technology firms, the architecture of their buildings needs to reflect “the spirit of the firm. The trend in general, for high-tech buildings, whether they are rented office spaces or built specifically for that corporation, is to enrich the experience of the workplace,” said Avner Yashar, owner of Tel Aviv-based Yashar Architects Ltd., whose office planned the SAP building and is working on the building that will hold Microsoft’s new office space in Herzliya. The architect was also the designer behind Apple’s R&D center in Herzliya, the US giant’s second-largest center in the world. While SAP commissioned the architect to build its project from scratch, both Microsoft and Apple decided to rent space in buildings already under construction, that were adapted to meet the US giants’ specifications, Yashar explained…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

Israel Successfully Launches First Space Lab (Video): Arutz Sheva, Nov. 27, 2017

87 Global Corporations Flocked To Israel For Tech And Talent In Past Three Years: NoCamels, Nov. 07, 2017—At least 87 multinational corporations have opened up R&D or innovation centers in Israel over the past three years, a majority after acquiring an Israeli startup. This is according to a new study showing the scale of foreign interest in Israeli technology and talent by Start-up Nation Central, an Israel-based non-profit that tracks the Israeli innovation ecosystem.

US-Israel Fund Invests $4.8m in Clean Energy: Priyanka Shrestha, Energy Live, Nov. 9, 2017 —A programme funded by the US and Israeli Governments has announced $4.8 million (£3.6m) for five new clean energy projects. The Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Energy programme is a joint partnership between the US Department of Energy, the Israel Ministry of Energy and the Israeli Innovation Authority.

Israel’s “Teflon” Prime Minister: Naomi Ragen, Breaking Israel News, Nov. 14, 2017—While the Donald Trump era has brought a new level of hysteria to U.S. political discourse, the attempts to topple Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by the seemingly weekly revelation of yet another corruption scandal have only slightly dented his popularity. According to an October 5 poll by Israeli television’s Knesset Channel, when people were asked, “Have the publications on Netanyahu and his family on the various investigations against them changed your opinion of him?” 64 percent said no.
 

 

 

ISRAEL’S BOOMING HIGH-TECH INDUSTRY KNOWN GLOBALLY FOR “BOLDNESS & INNOVATION”

 

Historic Israeli Mini-Satellite to be Launched with French Cooperation: Judy Siegel-Itzkovich, Jerusalem Post, July 25, 2017— Israel’s first environmental satellite, named “Venus,” the major project of the Israel Space Agency and the French space agency CNES, will be launched from French Guinea at 4:58 a.m. on August 2.

China is Increasingly Becoming Key for Israel's High-Tech Industry: Ferry Biedermann, CNBC, July 18, 2017— China's investors and markets are becoming increasingly important to Israel's economy, and in particular to its booming high-tech industry.

How Israeli Technologies Improve Water, Food Security In India: Amanda Ngo, NoCamels, July 03, 2017— Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to arrive in Israel this week in a historically significant first visit.

Israel’s Tech Startups are Giving Silicon Valley a Run for its Money: Ed Zwirn, New York Post, May 28, 2017 — Wondering where to find the next tech startup propelling humanity to the next best thing?

 

On Topic Links

 

Israel: Internship Nation: Jeff Seidel, Times of Israel, July 16, 2017

Modi's Visit: The View from Jerusalem: Efraim Inbar, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, July 10, 2017

Modi’s Visit to Israel: Oshrit Birvadker, BESA, July 31, 2017

The Role of Azerbaijan in Israel’s Alliance of Periphery: Aynur Bashirova and Ahmet Sozen, Rubin Center, June 22, 2017

 

         

 

HISTORIC ISRAELI MINI-SATELLITE TO

BE LAUNCHED WITH FRENCH COOPERATION                                                         

Judy Siegel-Itzkovich

                                                  Jerusalem Post, July 25, 2017

 

Israel’s first environmental satellite, named “Venus,” the major project of the Israel Space Agency and the French space agency CNES, will be launched from French Guinea at 4:58 a.m. on August 2. Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis called the upcoming launch an “important national event.” Israel, he said, is “known around the world for its boldness and innovation, which are expressed also in the technological developments of ‘Venus.’ We are so proud to see how work of many years of our best engineers and researchers at the head of the Israel Space Agency, along with CNES, will reach its peak at the launching.”

 

Environmental satellites have become very important in recent years because of problems on Earth resulting from population increase, declining space for agriculture, pollution and natural disasters. The Venus, the world’s smallest satellite of its kind, was built in the last few years by Israel Aerospace Industries. It will observe fields and nature from space for environmental research, monitoring land conditions, forestry, agriculture, the quality of water sources and more.

 

The mini-satellite is equipped with a special camera that can visualize details on Earth that are invisible to the naked eye. It will take photos of set locations in Israel and around the world and provide researchers with scores of images daily, each of which will cover 760 square kilometers. The Venus will revolve around the Earth 29 times each 48 hours and repeat exact photo angles, making it possible to note differences in conditions – characteristics that make the satellite unique, the Science and Technology Ministry said.

 

The Venus satellite weighs only 265 kilograms. It will be launched along with an Italian satellite and reach its position 720 kilometers above Earth within 37 minutes and 18 seconds. The first confirmation of proper position and function should be received on the ground after five-and-a-half hours from launch time, but the initial images will arrive a week later. Processed images will be sent to users three months after launch. The Venus is due to remain in operation for four-and-a-half years, after which time it will be shifted to a lower trajectory. Some 110 different set research areas around the world will be photographed. When the satellite passes over Israel, the Venus will photograph three swaths in the Galilee, the coastal area and the Negev Desert, where most national parks, forests, ecological stations and nature areas exist. The photos will also benefit university, government and state research institutes.

 

Venus will transmit data to a reception station in northern Sweden. From there, the data will be processed initially by the French Space Agency, which will be led by French researcher Gerard Didiot. The images of Israel will arrive at the research center at the Sde Boker campus of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, headed by Prof. Arnon Karnieli. The research center is an operational arm of the Science and Technology Ministry. One of the first research projects to be used by the satellite simulations – funded by an investment of NIS 500,000 from the Israel Space Agency – will be one designed by high school pupils from Rishon Lezion and Rehovot.

 

Venus is also the first innovative technological mission of its kind to test the feasibility of a plasma-based electric propulsion system developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, using an electric propulsion system that saves fuel and satellite weight to increase the weight of the equipment for research purposes. Although the Venus is a joint project of Israel and France, all of the satellite’s hardware components were developed in Israel’s space industries. In addition to IAI, which built the satellite and integrated the components, Elbit developed the unique camera, and Rafael developed the propulsion system, resulting in the entire satellite being the product of Israeli construction and development.

 

Meanwhile, IAI president and CEO Yossi Weiss said that the Italian and the Israeli-French satellites are “the glory of Israeli technology and reflect Israel’s international activities in space and the extraordinary cooperation with Italy and France. The stateof-the-art observation satellites program enables the development and production of local needs and exports, and is supported by clear government policy in the field.” He added, “On the eve of the launch, I call upon the Israel government to make the necessary decisions regarding the future of Israeli media satellites. Since the loss of Amos-6 about 10 months ago, no decision has been made regarding the future of the field, which will eventually lead to the loss of knowledge and accumulated technological capabilities. We are approaching the point of no return that could lead to the elimination of Israel’s capabilities in the field of communications satellites.”                      

 

Contents

CHINA IS INCREASINGLY BECOMING KEY

FOR ISRAEL'S HIGH-TECH INDUSTRY

Ferry Biedermann

CNBC, July 18, 2017

 

China's investors and markets are becoming increasingly important to Israel's economy, and in particular to its booming high-tech industry. The first IPO (initial public offering) of an Israeli high-tech company on a Chinese stock exchange, Hong Kong, is expected within the year and Chinese investments in Israeli high-tech venture capital approached $1 billion in 2016, industry experts say.

 

"The Chinese stock exchange market will become another very viable option for Israeli companies looking for public funding," if the first IPO goes off successfully, Eli Tidhar of Deloitte Israel, told CNBC. Tidhar heads what Deloitte calls its "Israel-China corridor". Israel has laid out the welcoming mat to Chinese companies and investors who may face more troublesome regulations and scrutiny elsewhere.

 

Hardly a day goes by without another Israel-China initiative being announced, whether it's a new Israeli tech incubator in China, new investments, joint ventures, trade conferences or delegations. In May this year, another audit firm PwC led a delegation of Israeli companies to Hong Kong to explore the possibilities of listing on the stock exchange. Deloitte's Tidhar says that a sea change is taking place among Israeli companies looking for funding. Israeli high-tech VC (venture capital) companies raised $500 million from Chinese investors in 2014 and $700 million in 2015 and the amount keeps growing, according to Tidhar.

 

"In the past, Israel used to look mostly at the U.S. and Europe as our source for investment, especially in high tech," he said. But now, "It becomes less and less awkward that a company that would like to raise money would pursue this investment from China." This view is echoed Dorian Barak, who heads the Israeli arm of Kuang Chi, one of the few Chinese conglomerates that has so far actually set up a permanent local representation. Israel's venture capital landscape and its exits were until now largely a matter of Western money, Barak said. But that's about to change. "The rise of China and China's adoption of an outward looking policy of investments and cooperation has the opportunity to have as much of an impact on the local economy as did the massive capital influx from chiefly the United States in the (1990s) and the first decade of the 21st century," Barak said in a telephone interview.

 

Kuang Chi last year set up a $300 million fund, particularly for smart city investments in Israel. It has so far, among other companies, invested in machine vision company eyesight Technologies. Large chunks of Israel's infrastructure projects, including ports, railway lines and tunnels, are being carried out by Chinese companies these days. And some flagship Israeli companies have been acquired by Chinese conglomerates, such as ChemChina's acquisition of Adama and Bright Food's takeover of Tnuva. Reuters earlier this year reported that in 2016 total Chinese investments in Israel jumped to $16.5 billion.

 

But in the high-tech sector, this has not yet translated to the same massive presence of Chinese conglomerates that Western companies have in Israel, whether in R&D (research and development) centers, production or representative offices. Kuang Chi's Barak said that Chinese companies are very slowly coming to the realization that there's an added value to a local presence. He's getting constant inquiries from Chinese local government and private investors.

 

"When you see Chinese names on the sides of buildings in Herzliya Pituah (near Tel Aviv) as you currently see American names, you'll know the Chinese investors have really arrived and the Chinese strategics have arrived en masse. There's a long way to go," said Barak. But it's getting there, is the consensus. One company that has seen Chinese investment is intelligent search company Twiggle. It's received backing from the likes of e-commerce giant Alibaba and MizMaa – a fund specializing in Chinese investments in Israeli high-tech.

 

CEO and co-founder Amir Konigsberg, said that for Twiggle, as for many other Israeli companies, the ties with China are not merely about getting finance. Help with market access is of much greater importance. "Not disregarding the growth in other markets, such as the U.S. and Europe, in terms of e-commerce China and Asia are very dominant markets," he said.

 

Israeli start-ups had been used to working with U.S. and European investors, he said: "The collaboration and the synergy with the China market and the big Chinese companies is more recent. The adaptation to that has been gradual and the Israeli companies like ourselves are learning to work better with the Chinese companies." One potential adaptation to be made was in the differences of expectations that sometimes occurs, said Denes Ban, managing partner at Israeli high-tech crowdfunding firm OurCrowd. Those expectations center around the tension between getting funding and getting access to Chinese markets.

 

"If you look at the term sheet, there's no such thing as free Chinese money," said Ban. Many Israeli companies, who are far from naive, initially misjudge the intentions of the Chinese investors: "What often happens is, 'OK we invest but actually the amount we invest doesn't go into the headquarters in Israel, actually it will only go to a joint venture in China and we own 51 percent of it', so basically they control it. We have seen this."

 

For OurCrowd, Ban is very excited about the emerging interest of large Asian, including Chinese, financial institutions in getting their clients a piece of the pie in the Israeli VC market. "We signed a deal in Singapore with UOB, Shanghai Commercial Bank, Reliance India, these are some of the biggest institutions that are looking to offer these venture capital products to their clients," said Ban. He, like others interviewed by CNBC, sees one crucial Israeli advantage to attracting Chinese investment, apart from Israel's start-up nation image: an openness to Chinese investors where the U.S. and Europe are getting pickier. Deloitte's Tidhar puts it simply: "The restrictions, limitations, barriers that Chinese companies face in other markets, they don't face in Israel."                                                           

 

Contents

HOW ISRAELI TECHNOLOGIES IMPROVE WATER,

FOOD SECURITY IN INDIA

                    Amanda Ngo                                                                         

NoCamels, July 03, 2017

 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to arrive in Israel this week in a historically significant first visit. This trip marks the first time that an Indian Prime Minister has travelled to Israel, and will strengthen what is already a flourishing relationship between the two nations. India’s demand for Israeli tech, particularly water and agricultural technologies, as well as a shared desire to invest money in innovation, research and development, continue to drive the partnership to new heights.

 

Modi’s delegation is expected to include 100 entrepreneurs, including executives from some of India’s biggest companies. He will engage in talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with the goal of promoting strategic partnerships in the areas of water conservation, food security, space technology, defense, and others.

 

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1992, Israel and India have seen trade between the two countries jump from $200 million in 1992 to $4.167 billion in 2016 (not including defense agreements), according to Israel’s Ministry of Economy. An Israeli-Indian Free Trade Agreement has been in the pipeline since 2010, with observers speculating that this upcoming visit could add momentum to the process…

 

A glance at the strengths and needs of both India and Israel reveals why the partnership has been so successful thus far. With a burgeoning population (currently at 1.3 billion), India is experiencing difficulties with water conservation and purification, and food security. According to the World Bank, around 21 percent of infectious diseases in India are related to unsafe water. Agriculture, too, is a significant part of the Indian economy, representing 17 percent of the GDP and depended upon by 50 percent of the population.

 

Israel is known worldwide for its strengths in water and agricultural technology. For years, Israel has been providing India with world-leading expertise and technology to help the larger nation combat these issues. In return for capitalizing on Israel’s technological expertise, India provides Israel with a huge market opportunity, and endless avenues for business investment. With the second largest population in the world, and a GDP of around $2 trillion (according to the World Bank), the Indian market offers the kind of scale that Israeli businesses need.

 

Over the 25 years of diplomatic relations, the shared initiatives have been wide-ranging. Since 2008, the nations have strengthened their relationship through the joint establishment of ‘Centers of Excellence’ in India, as part of the Indo-Israel Agricultural Cooperation Project. Present across nine Indian states, the 26 centers provide Israeli technology and expertise to Indian farmers. They have been highly successful, and there is suggestion that Modi’s upcoming visit will lead to an expansion of this plan.

 

One of the leading Israeli startups making waves in India is Aqwise. A water tech firm, Aqwise has built a water treatment plant that supplies drinking water to the city of Agra, where the Taj Mahal is located. Using an innovative technique of releasing polyethylene biofilm carriers into the water supply, the company provides around 2 million inhabitants and tourists with clean, potable water. Israeli company IDE has also done impressive work in the water conservation industry in India, implementing desalinization methods that have saved millions of dollars and thousands of millions meters cubed units of water. Israel’s Netafim has been implementing drip irrigation technologies that help Indian farmers conserve precious water.

 

WaterGen, an Israeli air-to-water technology company, is a global leader in water purification. By extracting moisture from air, WaterGen is able to generate water that is safe to drink. Earlier this year, they signed a memorandum of understanding with the India solar engineering firm, Vikram Solar. The deal, which is estimated to be worth at least $100 million, will help the company expand in the Indian market.

 

Indian companies have shown an unbridled eagerness to tap into the Israeli tech scene. Aditya Birla, the third-largest conglomerate in India valued at $41 billion, has been targeting Israel to find new investments since 2016. Focusing on clean-tech, cyber security, financial technology, and water tech, the company has reviewed hundreds of startups. Infosys, an Indian conglomerate, bought Israeli cloud tech firm Panaya for $200 million in 2014. In 2007, Indian company Jain Irrigation acquired Israeli firm NaanDan, forming NaanDanJain Irrigation Ltd. The company is headquartered in Israel, and now serves farmers in over 100 countries.

 

Significant amounts of money continue to be channeled into joint initiatives by both governments. In the very near future, the Israeli government is set to approve a proposal to further economic cooperation with India by investing NIS 280 into water and agricultural technology, among other strategies. NIS 140 of that budget will go into an Israeli-Indian fund aimed at encouraging innovation and R&D for Israeli and Indian companies.

 

Indian and Israeli companies have shown a shared desire to foster innovation. Earlier this year, Israeli equity crowdfunding platform OurCrowd and Indian private sector company Reliance Industries, together with American data communications company Motorola, set up an incubator in Jerusalem aimed at encouraging innovation in hi-tech in Israel. The incubator will focus on up-and-coming areas such as artificial intelligence, big data, FinTech, IoT, and computer vision. OurCrowd has also formed a partnership with LetsVenture, the largest marketplace for startup funding in India. The partnership will give exposure to Indian startups, and offer deals to Indian investors.

 

India is also an ardent supporter of Israeli defense technology: Earlier this year, Israeli Aerospace Industries revealed its plan to provide India with missile defense systems in what will be the organization’s biggest security contract ever. The contracts amount to almost $2 billion, and will deliver advanced medium-range surface-to-air missiles to the Indian Army. India is currently the largest buyer of Israeli military equipment…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

Contents  

             

ISRAEL’S TECH STARTUPS ARE GIVING SILICON

VALLEY A RUN FOR ITS MONEY

Ed Zwirn                                         

New York Post, May 28, 2017

 

Wondering where to find the next tech startup propelling humanity to the next best thing? Israel’s answer to Silicon Valley is Silicon Wadi, an area around Tel Aviv on the country’s coastal plain with a heavy concentration of high-tech industries that rivals the San Francisco Bay Area’s cluster of innovative firms. There are about 4,300 startups operating in Israel, with about 2,900 of these located within a 10-mile radius, a rate of development second in intensity to only Silicon Valley itself. Even as President Trump was meeting with the Israeli political elite on the Jerusalem leg of his first foreign trip, a huge slice of that country’s brain trust was gathered in Midtown Manhattan to explore the reasons behind this tech wave and showcase some of the developments that have enabled this small country to punch above its weight.

 

Or maybe jumping would be a more apt metaphor. “The cat flea has the ability to jump almost 200 times its height,” Oded Shoseyov, a professor of protein engineering and nano biotechnology at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, told the crowd at Nexus: Israel, a gathering sponsored by the American Friends of Hebrew University. Shoseyov, who has his name on more than 50 patents and has served as the scientific founder of 10 companies specializing in everything from nanotechnology to production of medical cannabis, says one of the most exciting scientific quests is understanding the jumping power of the flea. That and other marvels of nature are helping spark solutions to real-world challenges faced by humans.

 

CollPlant, one of the companies he helped found, is attempting to bioengineer solutions to these problems by cloning human DNA onto tobacco plants. “I have no doubt that we’ll be able to produce a human heart in the laboratory,” he says. “This heart is not going to be the same as a human heart, it’s going to be better.”

 

One of the more established players in both Silicon Valley and its Middle Eastern rival is Intel Corp., which set up a research and production operation in Israel in 1972. Intel Israel has since grown to the point where it has become Israel’s largest private employer, with more than 10,200 workers on its payroll as of last year. According to Maxine Fassberg, executive in residence and vice president of Intel Capital, the company exported $3.35 billion of chips and other products from Israel last year, accounting for 1 percent to 2 percent of the country’s GDP.

 

In addition to the tech developments fostered by Intel, Fassberg credits both Israel’s defense sector and its academia for propelling this development. “The bottom line is the people and the quality of the education there,” she says. For his part, Dr. Yaron Daniely, chief executive of Yissum, Hebrew University’s technology transfer arm, and himself the driving force behind many Israeli developments in medical technology, credits the amazing performance of Israeli R&D to “chutzpah,” shown in the willingness of the country’s scientists and entrepreneurs to take on risk. “Exceptional people exist everywhere who are more creative than others, but that doesn’t guarantee success,” he points out. “We were arrogant Israelis. We didn’t think that we were stupid.”

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

Israel: Internship Nation: Jeff Seidel, Times of Israel, July 16, 2017— In this day and age, getting a high-quality job is difficult. Since “the internship” has become a prerequisite for being in the race for a good job, the competition for finding one that builds your resume while providing you real-world experience, has only made the process more difficult.

Modi's Visit: The View from Jerusalem: Efraim Inbar, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, July 10, 2017— The visit by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi caused many Jerusalemites, like me, a lot of traffic delays. In retrospect, it was definitely a price worth paying.

Modi’s Visit to Israel: Oshrit Birvadker, BESA, July 31, 2017— From the 1920s until the establishment of official bilateral relations in 1992, Indian-Israeli ties were dictated by the views of Indian Muslims and moves by Pakistan.

The Role of Azerbaijan in Israel’s Alliance of Periphery: Aynur Bashirova and Ahmet Sozen, Rubin Center, June 22, 2017— Israel’s alliance of periphery was formed in the 1950s in order to end the newly established state’s regional and global isolation, which was a result of its conflict with the Palestinians and its Arab neighbors.

 

 

ISRAEL — THE “START-UP NATION” — DEVELOPS AS A HIGH-TECH NATION

Startup Nation Has Grown Into Tech Nation, Intel Israel R&D Chief Says: Shoshanna Solomon, Times of Israel, June 6, 2017 — Israel should start defining itself as a technology nation and not a startup nation anymore in light of the fact that it is managing to grow more mature companies over time…

Israel Reaches for the Skies and the Moon: Ferry Biedermann, CNBC, May 31, 2017 — A telltale white plume streaked across the sky over Israel Monday morning, revealing the country's latest missile test.

Mobileye Acquisition to Start Israeli Auto-Tech Boom: Dubi Ben-Gedalyahu, Jerusalem Post, May 10, 2017 — From a business standpoint, the multi-billion dollar Intel-Mobileye deal on the Israeli auto-tech industry had the effect of a level 8 earthquake on the Richter scale shifting the tectonic plates.

The Indian PM’s Historic Visit: Ephraim Inbar, Israel Hayom, June 27, 2017 — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will arrive in Israel at the beginning of July in the first-ever trip to this country by an Indian prime minister.

 

On Topic Links

 

Mossad Recruits Start-Ups for Real-Life Spy Tech (Video): Breaking Israel News, June 28, 2017

Can Israeli Water Technology Save the World?: Jeevan Vipinachandran, Times of Israel, June 19, 2017

Desalination Nation: How Israel Is Helping the World Fight Water Shortage: Kirk D'Souza, NoCamels, May 24, 2017

How Israeli Startups are Driving the Car Technology Revolution: Andrew Tobin, Times of Israel, May 17, 2017

 

 

STARTUP NATION HAS GROWN INTO TECH

NATION, INTEL ISRAEL R&D CHIEF SAYS                                                                            

Shoshanna Solomon

                                       Times of Israel, June 6, 2017

 

Israel should start defining itself as a technology nation and not a startup nation anymore in light of the fact that it is managing to grow more mature companies over time, a top Intel Corp. official in Israel said at a conference on Tuesday. “We are in a new era,” said Ran Senderovitz, VP, general manager at Intel Israel Development Centers at the Technovation Conference in Tel Aviv on Tuesday. “We must define Israel not as Startup Nation but as Tech Nation. To define Israel as a Startup Nation is like saying we are Peter Pan — we are this kid that never grows up; we are eternally young. The fact that multinational companies invest in Israel is proof that we can not only create technologies but also grow them in the longer term.”

Companies like Intel, Google, Apple have been snapping up Israeli firms and setting up research and development centers in Israel to make sure they are on top of new technologies being developed in the so-called Startup Nation — the name comes from a book by Den Senor and Saul Singer — which creates some 1,400 new startups a year. But rather than selling off early, as was once the case, entrepreneurs are holding on to their companies for longer in the hope of getting better valuations at a later stage of development.

 

Some 1,400 startups get created every year in Israel and some 800 shut down, said Aharon Aharon, the newly appointed chief executive officer of the Israel Innovation Authority, formerly the Office of the Chief Scientist at Israel’s Ministry of Economy and Industry. “Do entrepreneurs really know what they are getting into?” he asked attendees at the Technovation 2017 Conference. Aharon formerly headed the activities of Apple in Israel.

 

“Irresistible passion” in an idea and not looking for a quick exit is key, he said. Entrepreneurs should believe their product is going to be a game changer; they must also be willing to take on sacrifices. “You can’t take your children three times a week to the playground or train to be iron woman” if you want to succeed with a startup, he warned. In addition, entrepreneurs should have deep knowledge in one of two things: either know the technology well or know the market and who the competitors to this technology will be.

 

Entrepreneurs also need to know when to take a step back and bring in the experts they need to complement their abilities, as well as be ready for the “roller-coaster ride” of successes and failures the company will encounter along the way. “If you have no stomach to absorb the roller-coaster ride don’t start. You must understand what you are getting into.” Charisma – and the ability to talk and convince customers and investors — is also a key quality entrepreneurs must have. “Good looks are for Tinder, not for a startup,” he said, referring to the popular online dating app. The ability to take tough decisions and be alone when taking them is also a must, he said. This could mean firing your best friend who no longer suits the needs of the company, or changing direction of the product to fit market needs.

 

And patience. “On average startups need seven years to succeed,” Aharon said. It took Mobileye, the Jerusalem-based developer of advanced vision and driver assistance systems set up in 1999, some 15 years before its IPO in New York and some 18 years before its sale, in March this year, to Intel Corp. for $15.3 billion. Louise Phelan, VP CEMEA at online payments processing firm PayPal, who grew up in Ireland in a family of 17 children, said women especially need to overcome a confidence problem when entering the labor and technology market. When you get up in the morning make sure to “take a spoon of confidence” along with your coffee, she advised. “Believe in yourselves.”

 

Technology leaders should make sure to constantly learn and develop by seeking feedback; they should also make sure to know when to take decisions, to learn from failures and move on from them. “Just as we celebrate successes, we must also celebrate failures,” she said. “In life, 10 percent is what happens to you and 90% is what you do about it,” she said. And most importantly, make sure you look after your people. “Technology doesn’t change the world,” she said. “People change the world. Look after your people who are critical to your success.”

 

The CEO of Check Point Software Technologies, Gil Shwed, spoke about the need to be dedicated to your company. For the first three years after setting up the cybersecurity firm he heads, he “cut off friendships, had no family,” he said. Only after the IPO in June 1996, three years after the company was founded, did he start to rebalance his life with friends and family, he said. He now works “just” eight to nine hours a day.

 

The temptation to sell out early was great, especially when the founders got a $3 million offer from BRM at the very early stages of the company, Shwed said. “But we believed in the company and did not even enter negotiations,” he said. Check Point’s market value on the Nasdaq at close on Monday was almost $19 billion.

 

When running a company, Shwed said, it is important to give your workers a feeling that they are doing something important and making a difference. And he channels any unrest he may feel after so many years at the head of his firm into the company itself. “My drive is to do better,” he said. “I push to get better results.”

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ISRAEL REACHES FOR THE SKIES AND THE MOON

Ferry Biedermann

CNBC, May 31, 2017

 

A telltale white plume streaked across the sky over Israel Monday morning, revealing the country's latest missile test. No announcement was made on what propulsion system was tested but experts say it was for an intercontinental ballistic missile or a missile defense rocket. Either way, it was a manifestation of Israel's activity in aerospace, a field in which it is developing significant new capabilities, including in the commercial sector.

 

The country has developed missile systems, such as the Jericho and the Shavit, which has been used to launch its own military satellites into space, anti-missile systems such as the Iron Dome and the Arrow, and is dominating the international export market for military drones. One man who sits at the nexus of Israel's space and drone industries is Yariv Bash, co-founder of SpaceIL, the organization that seeks to put Israel on the moon, and CEO of drone startup Flytrex. With the latter he's seeking to put into place complete solutions for automated drone delivery. While the former, SpaceIL, is a finalist, one of only five in the world, in Google's Lunar X Prize competition for a privately funded moon landing.

 

Bash spoke to CNBC about his passion for all things flying and how he expects the aerospace industry in Israel to develop. "I like to say that I found other people to pay for my hobbies. Seeing something hover above you in the air or seeing a spacecraft leaving the atmosphere, these are two of the most amazing feats you can do as an engineer."

 

What does Flytrex do, what are you currently capable of? "Our systems are capable of delivering up to three kilograms up to ten kilometers away. We can deliver everything. We have a complete system that allows you to drop packages from the air in a safe way, hovering at twenty meters above ground and lowering the package on a wire in a completely safe way that enables you to lower a package to someone."

 

Where Flytrex is currently seeking to operate, Bash will not divulge but he says that he expects that within the next quarter the company will be operating in an urban environment and he will seek a new funding round within the next few quarters. At the beginning of this year, Flytrex was reported to have raised $3 million from several angel and VC investors.

 

How do you see the Israeli drone and aerospace industries develop? "It's like cyber[security]. Israel became a superpower when it comes to cyber startups because of the military capabilities and then you had personnel leaving the military and starting their own companies. I think it's a bit the same with the drone industry. We have a very successful military industry and drones are becoming more civilian. You see a lot of people leaving the military or the aviation industry today and beginning their own startups, joining other startups, to accomplish something on the industrial, commercial, civilian level."

 

How does Israel's international reputation in drones help Flytrex? "I have to say that with our clients I haven't seen them think well, the Israelis are great in military drones so Flytrex might be a good company. I think it mostly helps, the reputation, when you approach government officials. If you want to fly in certain countries you need to be in contact with the local civil aviation authorities, like the FAA in the United States. I think that when it comes to that, most of the countries, most aviation authorities already know Israel as a drone exporter and they most likely went through Israeli documentation and have approved Israeli drones before. They're more familiar with Israel, which really helps when you start the process with them."

 

With SpaceIL you've had a setback (when SpaceX's Falcon rocket blew up in 2016, delaying SpaceIL's launch date and possibly ending its X Prize chances). What will that mean? "It is rocket science, things sometimes explode and go off track. It did postpone a bit our efforts but we're building a spacecraft. It's amazing. Even if it's going to take a few more months than we anticipated, it's still an amazing project. In two months from now you'll be able to come to Israel and see the spacecraft being built. We'll be launching in 2018. We don't have a specific date yet but we're getting very close to the launch date, which is making things a lot harder and a lot more exciting."

 

So, SpaceIL will continue, even if it can no longer win the prize? "For us it's all about Israel reaching the moon, planting out flag there and exciting the next generation… We're actually an education non-profit. Our main vision is impacting every kid in Israel… We'll be recreating something that in the '60s was called the Apollo effect. After the Apollo program kids went in increasing numbers to be scientists and engineers. Here in Israel that's our main vision and we're working to generate thousands and maybe even tens of thousands of new engineers for Israel a decade or two from now." SpaceIL is a $70 million program that has received much of its funding from two billionaire donors, Israel's Morris Kahn and the US's Sheldon Adelson, says Bash.

 

Will there be commercial spin-offs from SpaceIL? That's why the Israeli space agency donated $1.5 million. They believe SpaceIL could sprout a new industry for Israel, just like the aviation industry or the civilian cyber industry. We're a non-profit. Once we go to the moon it will help our engineers and trainees to open up new companies and start new business, they will not be competing with us.

 

 

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MOBILEYE ACQUISITION TO START ISRAELI AUTO-TECH BOOM

Dubi Ben-Gedalyahu

Jerusalem Post, May 10, 2017

 

From a business standpoint, the multi-billion dollar Intel-Mobileye deal on the Israeli auto-tech industry had the effect of a level 8 earthquake on the Richter scale shifting the tectonic plates. Not only was it the largest acquisition in Israel's history, but it also provided a concrete financial criterion for the developing sector and was registered on business seismographs all over the world. BM (before Mobileye), the industry attracted attention mostly from professional parties and knowledgeable people in the global auto industry, as well as a few small-to-medium fish in the venture capital industry. AM (after Mobileye), the business ocean's deep water sharks and whales are gathering round.

 

Every earthquake of these proportions naturally has aftershocks that continue for a long time afterwards, the results of which in this case are evident. Since the deal was announced in March, Israeli companies concentrating on various aspects of the smart vehicle vision have raised over $120 million. Most of the companies found more money available than they were planning on raising, and had to politely turn down some serious investors. Specialist venture capital funds also raised hundreds of millions of dollars from investors all over the world seeking to build a portfolio of investments in seed-stage Israel auto-tech companies and ventures. An airlift of auto industry executives is also continuing under the radar – the very top management level – and that is only the tip of the iceberg.

 

 

Behind the scenes, these aftershocks are starting to generate structural changes in the young and developing industry: consolidation of the existing players, the entry of new companies from parallel sectors, major strides forward by existing companies, etc. Before trying to map some of these changes, it is worth noting that the earthquake epicenter itself, i.e. Intel, has not necessarily calmed down and stabilized.

 

Last week, Intel unveiled an "autonomous vehicle laboratory" in Silicon Valley, in which it is exposing and focusing research and development in many technological areas of the smart car vision extending far beyond Mobileye's computer vision and mapping. We therefore recommend that analysts ignore this earthquake, and continue following Intel's automotive activity in Israel. It is a real possibility that the Mobileye deal was merely Intel's first acquisition, and will serve as a core for the acquisition of a group of Israeli companies with complementary solutions.

 

The dimensions of the Intel-Mobileye deal were also a wakeup call for the Israeli defense industries – the dumb giant of the Israeli economy. "Globes" has already commented about the indirect connection between former defense industry figures and the developing auto-tech industry, but other than a few minor civilian automotive spinoffs, most of the defense industry giants have until now preferred to stay off the superhighway and focus on tanks, missiles, and aircraft. There are quite a few reasons for this. First of all, it is mentally difficult for companies accustomed to working with government customers with products costing from tens of thousands to millions of dollars per unit to get used to the auto industry's stringent cost policy, in which every dollar counts.

 

This situation is now changing, and a good illustration of this appeared last month in the form of a very rare visit to Michigan by a "commercial" delegation organized by the Ministry of Defense International Defense Cooperation Authority for 13 representatives of the largest defense industries in Israel. Michigan, of course, is the center of the US auto industry, and the purpose of the delegation's visit was described, among other things, as presenting solutions and products in sub-systems for military vehicles, robotics, and autonomous propulsion. There is a high correlation between civilian and military uses of smart car technologies. Matters such as autonomous propulsion, artificial intelligence, machine vision, connectivity, encryption, and protection of information transmission to and from a vehicle are also an integral part of the smart battlefield vision in which governments throughout the world have been investing trillions in recent years.

 

Anyone gaining a foothold in advanced core technologies in such sectors and successfully making the necessary mental and business adjustment is therefore likely to benefit from a two-way business track. Defense companies can grab a share of the rich global vehicle market, and civilian companies can win military contracts amounting to tens and hundreds of millions of dollars. It cannot be ruled out that we will see cooperative efforts or intensive activity involving local defense industries in civilian uses of their technology, and perhaps even separate stock exchange offerings by subsidiaries in this sector.

 

Another sleepy giant now responding to the Mobileye deal fallout is Israeli cyber security firm Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. , the pride of the cyber industry. A connection between Check Point, a software company, and the hardware-intensive auto industry ostensibly appears unnatural. In an era of connected vehicles, however, this situation could change dramatically. The auto industry estimates that a single autonomous vehicle will generate a stream of data amounting to four terabytes every 90 minutes. This prodigious stream of data, multiplied by tens and hundreds of millions of vehicles throughout the world, has to be processed, filtered, and also secured against malicious attempted break-ins. This goal requires integration of advanced hardware capabilities in a vehicle, and but also on the cloud to which the data from the vehicle will be streamed…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

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THE INDIAN PM’S HISTORIC VISIT

Ephraim Inbar

Israel Hayom, June 27, 2017

 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will arrive in Israel at the beginning of July in the first-ever trip to this country by an Indian prime minister. The visit reflects the significant expansion in relations between the two countries since they established full diplomatic relations in 1992. Since Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in May 2014, his administration has shed its predecessors' reservations about regular public discussions regarding India's ties with Israel. It is worth noting that Modi's trip to Israel is not planned to be "balanced" with a visit to the Palestinian Authority, indicating that India has freed its relations with Israel from its historical commitment to the Palestinian issue. Indeed, India has modified its voting pattern at international organizations by refraining from joining the automatic majority against Israel.

 

India and Israel share high levels of threat perception and a common strategic agenda. Both have waged major conventional wars against their neighbors and have experienced low-intensity conflict and terrorism, and both are involved in protracted conflicts involving complex ethnic and religious components not always well understood by outsiders. Both also face weapons of mass destruction in the hands of their rivals. The two nations share a common threat from the radical offshoots of Islam in the greater Middle East. Israel regards parts of the Arab world –Saudi Arabia in particular — as hubs for Islamic extremism, while India views Saudi-Pakistani relations with suspicion. Moreover, India fears the Pakistani nuclear arsenal might ultimately fall into the hands of Islamic radicals.

 

For Israel, Islamic radicals in the Arab world and in the Islamic Republic of Iran constitute a constant security challenge. This challenge has become more acute with Iran's nuclear potential. The more recent Islamic State phenomenon has ramifications beyond the battlefields of Iraq and Syria, as its offshoots threaten the stability of Egypt and Jordan — Israel's neighbors — and are increasingly sources of concern in south and southeast Asia. India has gradually overcome its inhibitions and engaged in security cooperation with Israel. Following diplomatic normalization in 1992, India's then-Defense Minister Sharad Pawar admitted to having already been cooperating with Israel on counterterrorism. This cooperation involves exchange of information on the finances, recruitment patterns, and training of terrorist groups, and is conducted away from the public eye. The November 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks underscored the need for better counterterrorism preparations in India and elicited greater cooperation with Israeli agencies.

 

Arms supply and technology transfer have become important components in the bilateral relationship. Initially, Russian failure to deliver promised weapons at expected prices or schedules led India to turn to Israeli companies to upgrade some of its aging Soviet platforms, such as its Mig-21s and T-72 tank fleet. Difficulties in the development of weapons systems at home have led to the purchase of Israeli products and to partnership in developing advanced military technology. New Delhi purchased Israeli advanced radar and communications equipment, and turned also to Israel for portable battlefield radars, hand-held thermals, night warfare vision equipment, and electronic fences to improve border monitoring. A long list of Israeli military items, such as ammunition, UAV parts, and even missiles (Spike anti-armor, the Python-4 air-to-air, naval Barak-8 surface-to-air) are being produced in India…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

CIJR Wishes all our friends & supporters: Happy Canada Day?

 

No Daily Briefing will be published on Friday, June 30

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

Mossad Recruits Start-Ups for Real-Life Spy Tech (Video): Breaking Israel News, June 28, 2017

Can Israeli Water Technology Save the World?: Jeevan Vipinachandran, Times of Israel, June 19, 2017—Water, the most precious resource in the world, is increasingly scarce. However even as global water shortages threaten the world, Israeli innovation in countering water scarcity could yet lead the world out of the abyss of water shortage and war.

Desalination Nation: How Israel Is Helping the World Fight Water Shortage: Kirk D'Souza, NoCamels, May 24, 2017—In the hot and arid Middle East, clean water is liquid gold. Faced with limited rainfall and a grueling climate, Israel has increasingly relied on seawater since it built its first desalination plant in Eilat in the 1960s.

How Israeli Startups are Driving the Car Technology Revolution: Andrew Tobin, Times of Israel, May 17, 2017—Israeli startups are revving their engines ahead of the country’s largest-ever “smart transportation” event. Over 200 local companies working in transportation technology will be at the EcoMotion Conference on Thursday at the Peres Center for Peace in Jaffa. The plan is to give auto industry giants a look under the hood of “Startup Nation.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ISRAEL’S SUCCESSFUL START-UP & TECH SECTORS ABOUT TO ENTER “WARP DRIVE”

There Are Some Lessons From Israel's Success: Harold Mitchell, Sydney Morning Herald, Feb. 10, 2017— No matter what President Trump says or does, this century belongs to Asia.

Accelerating to Warp Speed: Ilan Evyatar, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 23, 2017— Israeli innovation is about to enter warp drive, OurCrowd CEO Jon Medved tells me, borrowing a phrase from the iconic Star Trek TV series that described the propulsion system that would take the USS Enterprise into faster-than-light flight.

Intel Deal for Mobileye Fuels Israel’s Drive to Become Automotive Tech Hub: Rory Jones, Wall Street Journal, Mar. 14, 2017— Our earliest encounter with the study of History ought to have occasioned a certain exaltation , but also a significant distress.

Can Startup Nation be an Incubator for Palestinian High-Tech Entrepreneurs?: Dov Lieber, Times of Israel, Mar. 3, 2017— When Sari Taha, 28, began his mechanical engineering degree at Birzeit University in the West Bank city of Ramallah, in the back of his mind he knew this would mean he’d be looking for a job in Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates four years later.

               

On Topic Links

 

Where Does Israel Rank in This Year’s UN Happiness Index Report?: Jerusalem Post, Mar. 20, 2017

Take Note of the Good News: Hezi Sternlicht, Israel Hayom, Mar. 6, 2017

Execs From Facebook, Google, and Microsoft Explain Why They Use Israel For Their R&D: Sam Shead, Business Insider, Oct. 6, 2016

Israel is at the Forefront of Cardiac and Chest Trauma Innovation: Allison Barksdale, Times of Israel, Mar. 8, 2017

 

 

             

INTEL DEAL FOR MOBILEYE FUELS ISRAEL’S DRIVE

                   TO BECOME AUTOMOTIVE TECH HUB                                        

                                                    Rory Jones

                                                     Wall Street Journal, Mar. 14, 2017

 

Israeli startups have new incentive to hit the gas in a race to develop the next big vehicle-automation technology. Intel Corp.’s $15 billion acquisition of Jerusalem-based Mobileye NV—the biggest technology deal in the so-called Startup Nation—has raised hopes that Israel can produce companies that may attract massive investments from multinationals. “It shows that we can build big companies that sell with 11-figure numbers,” said Ben Volkow, the founder of Otomono, a data company that helps car firms gather information from connected vehicles.

 

From cybersecurity to artificial intelligence, Israeli entrepreneurs have turned this Mediterranean country into a global innovation hub. Now they are disrupting almost every element of the car manufacturing chain, using local expertise to create cutting-edge technologies in everything from combustion engines to quick-charge batteries. The country has come to occupy a prominent position in the global automotive supply chain despite not having much of an auto industry at home.

 

Mobileye—known globally for its chip-based camera systems that power automated driving features—has said its operations and roughly 600 employees will remain in Israel. “This [Intel] deal will be looked at as the new phase for the industry,” Eran Shir, chief executive of Israeli startup Nexar Ltd., said of the Mobileye buyout. “Data is now the new oil.”

 

Intel’s investment is expected to further spur development of Israel as an automotive hub, with more than a hundred Israeli firms already working in this space. Mr. Volkow’s Otonomo, for instance, is focused on the data collected by cars. His platform takes hundreds of parameters that new connected cars communicate to manufacturers in real time—tire pressure, driving habits and what is on the radio—and sells the data to third parties such as insurance companies, retailers and maintenance firms to boost car manufacturers’ margins.

 

The Israeli firm is working with eight car manufacturers, including Daimler AG, and aims to become a marketplace like Apple’ Inc.’s iTunes for car data. The Nexar app is attempting to make motorists more accountable, with just a smartphone and a dashboard holder. It uses cameras and sensors in the smartphone to create a network of phones that monitors cars and drivers. The app warns individuals about potential hazards one or more cars ahead and can reconstruct collisions for insurance claims. The app is being piloted with professional drivers that work with ride-hailing apps such as Uber Technologies Inc.

 

About 400 Israeli companies and entrepreneurs in the transportation and automotive sector have raised roughly $4 billion from investors in four years, according to EcoMotion, a nongovernmental organization set up in partnership with the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office and Economy Ministry. The figure includes an initial public offering from Mobileye and Volkswagen AG’s purchase of a $300 million stake in Israeli taxi app Gett last year. Israeli-founded ride-hailing app Via Transportation Inc. raised $100 million last year. And Ford Motor Co. purchased an Israeli machine-learning company last year for an undisclosed sum. Fast-charge battery company Storedot Ltd. raised $18 million in 2015 to power electric cars.

 

“We believe the auto industry is being transformed,” said Emanuel Timor, a partner at Vertex Ventures, which originally bought a stake in Israeli mapping firm Waze, purchased by Google in 2013 for $1 billion. “There’s a great opportunity for startups.” The country’s expertise in cybersecurity is providing one such opportunity. Young Israelis trained by its defense forces in cyberintelligence have gone on to establish some of Israel’s biggest tech firms. They also are creating security products to ensure cars aren’t easily hacked.

 

“If there’s a defined problem, Israeli startups are focused on solving that problem and monetizing it,” said Ian Simmons, vice president of business development at Canadian parts supplier Magna International Inc. in a recent interview. It invested in Tel Aviv-based startup Argus Cybersecurity Ltd in 2015.

 

 

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THERE ARE SOME LESSONS FROM ISRAEL'S SUCCESS                                                           

Harold Mitchell

Sydney Morning Herald, Feb. 10, 2017

 

No matter what President Trump says or does, this century belongs to Asia. It will be 50 per cent of the world's economy in no time with half of the world's middle-class customers. The middle class has driven the growth of Europe for more than 300 years. And in America, when Henry Ford doubled his workers' salaries so they could afford a motor car, he created the consumer momentum that made the US the economic force of the 20th century with 5 per cent of the world's population controlling 25 per cent of the world's economy.

But there are other places now where the catalytic forces of immigration and innovation, which established the US, are creating new opportunities. One of them is Israel, where I have been this week. Its 8½ million people are crammed into an area about a third the size of Tasmania with no natural resources. And while being on a constant war footing, Israel produces more start-up companies than Japan, India, Korea, Canada and Britain combined.

 

It should be no surprise that this tiny country has more than 10 per cent of the world's cyber-security industry and it's doubling every year. And the booming innovation companies work in fields as diverse as medicine and irrigation. It's not surprising that a country that transformed desert into a fruit and veg bowl would have invented drip irrigation…Three things stand out. First. Israel's motivation is the survival of its people. Let's not forget that it's a land of immigrants, bound together by a shared commitment to build a safe and prosperous nation. Charlie thinks that three years' compulsory military service for all young men and women toughens both body and mind.

 

Second, the Israelis have an enormously strong family culture.  I built my business on the simple domestic values of telling each other the truth and when arguments occur they are fixed before bedtime. Most of our competitors spent a huge amount of time fighting among themselves because they didn't address their problems by the end of the day. Families, companies and nations succeed with these values. And third, some Israelis are not afraid to question authority, be it the boss or the government. And what's more, authorities usually listen. We should all know by now that if you tend to surround yourself with people who only agree with you, collapse is just around the corner. That is the story of the great Napoleon and it will be the fate of some current leaders who don't have the capacity to listen to news they'd rather not hear.

 

There was a good example just before I left. The governor of the Bank of Israel said: "The key to realising the economy's potential will be the development of policies that address economic issues of inequality, inefficient regulation and the need to increase both investment and human capital." Which raises a fourth great strength in fact: success through risk taking. The Financial Times reports: "While some 'old-economy' companies and industries are stagnating or struggling, the country's growing technology sector is a magnet for inward investment and a continuing source of jobs – including for its underemployed Palestinian and ultra-Orthodox minorities. "The industry accounts for 18 per cent of gross domestic product and more than one-third of the country's total exports."

 

The governor's agenda should be ours – reduce inequality, eradicate inefficient regulation and boost our investment and human capital. We are not doing enough and with Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Australia in a week or so we should listen; we can really learn from Israel. I'm told Australian politicians were through here in serious listening mode a little while ago: Josh Frydenberg, and also late last year, Victorian minister Philip Dalidakis on cyber security. Clever!

 

But the story of Israel cannot end without an account of my visit to the Hadassah Medical Centre, part of the Hebrew University and with one of the world's great cardiologists, Professor Chaim Lotan, doctor at one time to former president Shimon Peres, who died last year aged 93. Chaim asked if I wanted to witness two simultaneous heart operations…On the right was an older Jewish man and to my left was a 12-month-old baby. And the team performing these lifesaving operations within sight of the wall dividing Israel from the Palestinian territory was made up of Arab Israeli and Jewish technicians, side by side. This is as you would expect from doctors of course.

 

But it struck me strongly that here in the operating theatre the animosities of the outside world didn't mean a thing. I wished the world's leaders could have been there. Both patients survived because of the day-to-day skilful co-operation of people across perhaps the most publicised of divides. It was one of the most memorable experiences of my life.                                   

                                                                       

 

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                            ACCELERATING TO WARP SPEED

                                                   Ilan Evyatar

                                                               Jerusalem Post, Feb. 23, 2017

 

Israeli innovation is about to enter warp drive, OurCrowd CEO Jon Medved tells me, borrowing a phrase from the iconic Star Trek TV series that described the propulsion system that would take the USS Enterprise into faster-than-light flight. With a bunch of good news in recent weeks, such as fourth-quarter 2016 growth figures of 6.2% – pretty much warp drive itself – and record low unemployment of 4.3%, I decided to skip the usual politics and gloom and doom. If you are looking for something upbeat, no one fits the bill better than Medved, who describes himself as “a guy who believes in miracles.”

 

“What, me worry?” he says as I try to squeeze a little pessimism out of him on manpower shortages, the overly strong shekel and geopolitical risk. But seriously, Medved sees Israel’s tech sector getting even stronger than it is now and that can only be good news. The tech community, he explains, and especially its investment arm, is shifting its interest to deep technology. In other words, while a lot of tech companies made it big on things that “didn’t require changing the laws of physics” as he puts it, today’s tech is intensely complicated, be it machine learning, computer vision, autonomous driving or whatever.

 

“These aren’t apps. This is beyond the app economy – this is really complicated stuff and this is stuff where Israel shines. Things are about to get more intensely into Israel’s favor, because as the market shifts into deep technology, Israel becomes more important,” says Medved. As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would put it as he pushes Israel’s tech on every stage, “Israel is at the nexus of the great change taking place in any technology.”

 

So what does all of that difficult stuff translate to in economic terms? “If Israel has already taken a disproportionate share of the innovation economy, which it has, then it is going to be getting even more,” says Medved. In 2016, he notes the tech sector in the whole of Europe – population several hundred million – attracted $13.6 billion in investment, while Israel with a population of 8.5 million drew some $4.8b. “Do the arithmetic,” says Medved, that’s 30 x on a per capita basis more than the European levels.”

 

While choking Medved’s enthusiasm seems about as hard as breaking the laws of physics, he does admit that there are challenges to making sure Israel’s tech sector picks up speed fast enough to go into warp drive, in particular a chronic shortage of manpower. “We have to do essentially three things all at once,” says Medved. “The way we solve that problem is, No. 1, to widen the circle of employment in tech to include the three big underrepresented groups. The biggest one is women; we need to bring in women in a major way, women entrepreneurs, women venture capitalists, women engineers and that’s starting to happen, but not quickly enough. We need to bring Arab Israelis into tech and finally the haredim, where we have gone from a couple of thousand to 14,000 haredim in four-year colleges.”

 

Second on Medved’s list: importing engineers. “It’s really meshuga that we can import Thai farm workers and Romanian construction workers, but we can’t import Indian coders,” he says before adding, “Where do we get more added value for the economy?” That, as he notes, is changing with government programs such as start-up visas for entrepreneurs and expert visas for coders and programmers. Third up for Medved is recognition that start-up economies are no longer about single country companies. “The smart and good start-ups today are baby multinationals with people all over the world not just selling but also in development,” he says. “Sharp Israeli companies are now relying on all kinds of talent from all over the world, with development teams in Ukraine, India, the Philippines and God knows where, and that trend is going to continue.”

 

While careful not to get drawn into politics, Medved notes that with United States President Donald Trump putting an emphasis on cyber security, Israel will have enormous opportunities on that front. What Medved is willing to say is that he is a believer in the growth of Israeli technology companies and the growth of the Israeli tech sector regardless of who is in charge.

 

“People have got to get out of this perspective that strategic issues change over matters of weeks. The relationship between Israel and the US is so much bigger than whoever is sitting in the Oval Office,” says Medved. “It is so broad and so deep, with so many elements involved, but increasingly it’s technology and business. And what’s really interesting is how little coverage that gets, the fact that there is a $25b. trade relationship between the US and Israel. The fact is there is so much joint development of products, that academic research has gone up nearly 50% in the last decade.” And, throwing political correctness to the winds, he adds, “Let the BDS morons choke on that.”        

                                                                           

                                                                           

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CAN STARTUP NATION BE AN INCUBATOR FOR

PALESTINIAN HIGH-TECH ENTREPRENEURS?

Dov Lieber

Times of Israel, Mar. 3, 2017

 

When Sari Taha, 28, began his mechanical engineering degree at Birzeit University in the West Bank city of Ramallah, in the back of his mind he knew this would mean he’d be looking for a job in Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates four years later.

 

Taha did not manage to land a job in the Gulf. Instead, he worked for a short stint in a local construction company before landing a job for six months in Nigeria. Afterwards, he returned home, to work in the restaurant management business. Finally, he decided he was going to go back to school to study business at the Technion Institute in Haifa.

 

Sari’s troubles are part of a much larger challenge for young Palestinians looking to break into the tech market. Palestinian universities produce around 2,000 IT graduates annually, according to a 2014 Paltrade report. But there are not enough jobs for them in the West Bank, nor according to the report, are these graduates “adequately skilled” to work in the local Palestinian IT market. The result is that most grads need look for jobs in the Gulf. And competition there is fierce.

 

Fast-forward four years and Taha has sold his shares in a tech startup he cofounded and is now busy putting together the first-ever Palestinian tech park, which he hopes to transform into a Silicon Valley of the West Bank. The city of Rawabi — the first pre-planned Palestinian city touted as an example for what can be achieved in a future Palestinian state — has been earmarked to host the park.

 

The fortunes of Taha, an East Jerusalemite, were changed by the Palestinian Internship Program (PIP), a three-year old USAID funded initiative that handpicks Palestinian IT graduates and sends them on internships in multinational companies and Israeli startups. The aim is for these Palestinian interns to soak up the knowledge of how to operate a successful and competitive tech startup and bring this knowledge back home to help build a Palestinian high-tech sector. Bereft of natural resources and without control over their own borders, Palestinians hope high-tech can play a major role in their flagging economy. According to the World Bank, the Palestinian gross domestic product (GDP) has been shrinking since 2013, mostly due to declining foreign aid.

 

The PIP initiative was set up by Yadin Kauffman, an American immigrant to Israel who in 2011 co-founded Sadara (Arabic for “forefront”), the first venture capital firm to target Palestinian tech startups. The $30 million investment fund gathered by Sadara, which is backed by first-rate investors including George Soros, AOL founder Steve Case, and former eBay president Jeff Skoll, as well as Google, Cisco and the European Investment Bank, has so far backed six Palestinian companies, three of which are start-ups.

 

But Kauffman’s PIP initiative, which began holding its first internships in the summer of 2014, aims to provide the Palestinian tech sector with another kind of capital: experience. “I’ve seen through my work investing in Palestinian companies that there were lots of talented young graduates coming out of Palestinian universities who did not have any opportunity to work and gain experience in a sizable tech company,” Kauffman said in an interview with The Times of Israel. “That is something that is important for the professional development of these young graduates.” Kauffman, who took part in Israel’s tech-boom in the 1980s-90s as a venture capitalist, compared Palestinian internships in Israel to the valuable experience Israelis took home from working in Silicon Valley.

 

PIP internships are paid three-month stints, supplemented by workshops, company tours, networking events and mentoring. Kauffman admits there is a limit to what one can learn in such a short period of time. “But,” he said, “at least it’s a taste of what a significant company looks like.” Nadine Handal, a female alumna of PIP from East Jerusalem who did software development while interning at Intel, said the program provided a “unique experience…not the kind you can find in the West Bank.” “PIP tries to put you in an environment with professional people who have deep experience in the industry and exposure to global markets. I wanted to gain that kind of experience,” she added.

 

After she finished her internship, the East Jerusalemite was hired by Intel and worked there for a few years. After leaving her job in Israel, Handal, who studied computer engineering in the West Bank, is now studying data analytics in the United States. Her goal is to open up her own Palestinian data analytics company. “I hope to be one of the people who will bring this new knowledge to my community and to the Palestinian IT-sector,” she said. “It can provide job opportunities to a lot of talented Palestinian youth that are seeking opportunity. They will learn about a new and growing field and gain exposure to the advancements in technology in the world,”

 

The unemployment rate in the Palestinian territories at the end of 2016 was at 27 percent (18% in the West Bank and 42% in Gaza) and job creation has not kept pace with the growth of the labor force, according to the World Bank. Handal said the PIP business seminars, in which top teachers, including from Harvard and Brown, train the interns in entrepreneurship, were the most useful to her. “I found these very helpful for me, especially because I come from a technical background with little knowledge of business and management,” she said…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

 

 

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On Topic Links

 

Where Does Israel Rank in This Year’s UN Happiness Index Report?: Jerusalem Post, Mar. 20, 2017—The annual World Happiness Report published on Monday by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network has ranked Israel as the 11th happiest country in the world in 2017, a spot it has held for four years.

Take Note of the Good News: Hezi Sternlicht, Israel Hayom, Mar. 6, 2017—The good numbers continue to come out of Israel. After the latest poll indicating that Israelis are pretty well satisfied with life, the Bloomberg news agency's "Misery Index" of economic indicators came out over the weekend. Israel, happily enough, is near the bottom of the list, one of the least miserable countries.

Execs From Facebook, Google, and Microsoft Explain Why They Use Israel For Their R&D: Sam Shead, Business Insider, Oct. 6, 2016—Born just 68 years ago, Israel has developed a reputation as one of the world's most innovative tech hubs. Silicon Valley multinationals in particular have cottoned on, setting up offices in the region and acquiring numerous Israeli startups.

Israel is at the Forefront of Cardiac and Chest Trauma Innovation: Allison Barksdale, Times of Israel, Mar. 8, 2017—Perhaps it is no secret that Israeli researchers are pioneers in innovation in a diverse array of fields. And perhaps one of the medical fields in which a sizable number of patients around the world could reap the benefits of Israeli ingenuity is cardiology.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“START-UP NATION” IS ALSO ONE OF WORLD’S LEAST MISERABLE COUNTRIES

Take Note of the Good News: Hezi Sternlicht, Israel Hayom, Mar. 6, 2017— The good numbers continue to come out of Israel.

Tech Investment in Israel Outstrips All of Europe: Andrew Friedman, Breaking Israel News, Feb. 21, 2017— If you ask Jon Medved, CEO of the Jerusalem-based Our Crowd venture capital group, the “issue” of Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria is no more relevant to the international business community than they would be if they were located on the moon.

How Israel Turned Itself Into a Startup Nation: Jaya Menon, Times of India, Mar. 5, 2017— Israel's is a dramatic, rich landscape of history, politics, economy, and progress.

A Small Minority Must Not Jeopardize This Great Opportunity: Isi Leibler, Candidly Speaking, Mar. 3, 2017— Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has returned from triumphant visits to the United States, Australia and Singapore.

               

On Topic Links

 

Rift on the Right—Over Sovereignty: Dr. Martin Sherman, Arutz Sheva, Feb. 17, 2017

Israel Must Not Criminalize Political Differences: Alan Dershowitz, Algemeiner, Feb. 9, 2017

Ya'alon Announces Intention to Run for Prime Minister, Form New Party: Udi Shaham, Jerusalem Post, Mar. 4, 2017

With Natural Gas Shipments to Jordan, Israel Becomes Energy Exporter: Tower, Mar. 3, 2017

 

 

            TAKE NOTE OF THE GOOD NEWS                                                                                 

                          Hezi Sternlicht

Israel Hayom, Mar. 6, 2017

 

The good numbers continue to come out of Israel. After the latest poll indicating that Israelis are pretty well satisfied with life, the Bloomberg news agency's "Misery Index" of economic indicators came out over the weekend. Israel, happily enough, is near the bottom of the list, one of the least miserable countries.

 

Of the 65 economies covered by the Bloomberg index, Venezuela had the dubious honor of leading the list as the most miserable country. Israel was rated eighth from the bottom, in 57th place, between South Korea and Denmark. Switzerland was third from last, Singapore second from last, and Thailand was ranked the least miserable country. The intriguing index was based on each country's rate of inflation together with its unemployment rate.

 

Israel's strong ranking made me pinch myself, but the figures speak for themselves. Unemployment is just 4.3% and the "problem" of a too-strong shekel makes imports cheaper and keeps prices in check and inflation very low. Car imports are flourishing and Israelis are flying abroad in droves.

 

But the sense one gets from the media is that starvation is just around the corner and that Israeli is as hungry as the Third World.

 

True, there is severe and complex poverty in Israel that encompasses broad sectors of the population and must be addressed. The best, proven way of causing the poverty rate to drop is through reducing obstacles to competition and government intervention. In the food sector, for example, increased competition and reduced quotas would help the weakest sectors fill up their shopping baskets.

 

Besides the poverty, which is indeed widespread, there are other complicated challenges in Israel, such as housing prices, which have been the biggest challenge for recent governments and will remain so. The sky-high prices are a potential bomb that must be dismantled carefully. The task is still to lower prices, and a program to reduce the costs of new apartments for first-time buyers may be starting to bring about the change we long for. But we're still not there.

 

Another financial issue that is supporting the Israeli economy and is not getting enough credit is natural gas. There are still some voices opposing the development of the Leviathan offshore natural gas deposit, but it is becoming increasingly clear that the natural gas framework deal has indeed spurred development at Leviathan. The long battle over the agreement heard hollow arguments whose goal, as one might have expected, is turning out to be to torpedo the development of Israel's natural gas resource.

 

The natural gas deal is contributing and will continue to contribute to the Israeli economy and will even give us unprecedented diplomatic stability if we can start exporting gas to Europe. The opponents of the deal almost managed to sink record investment in developing our natural resources. It's good they failed, and no less important, it's good that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Minister Yuval Steinitz steered the framework agreement through carefully and determinedly. It is already beginning to pay for itself and will pay derivative dividends to the economy in the future.

 

The bottom line is that the Israeli economy appears to be strong and vital, with a high growth rate. The eulogies are off the mark even if the concerns are understandable, and we must not brush off the challenges of a world that is changing at a dizzying rate. There is no guarantee against financial crises, and they can always occur and eventually do. On the other hand, when success should be acknowledged, we must not ignore it and seek only the negative.                

 

Contents

 

              TECH INVESTMENT IN ISRAEL OUTSTRIPS ALL OF EUROPE

                                                       Andrew Friedman

                                                            Breaking Israel News, Feb. 21, 2017

 

If you ask Jon Medved, CEO of the Jerusalem-based Our Crowd venture capital group, the “issue” of Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria is no more relevant to the international business community than they would be if they were located on the moon. “Are you kidding?” he laughs. “Listen to me: It is a non-issue. No one even knows how to spell it. It may be a big issue for diplomats and the United Nations, but it is completely orthogonal to what we are doing. It’s like a different planet.”

 

Speaking to TPS about Our Crowd’s equity crowdfunding platform and the state of technology investment in Israel, Medved said that since opening for business in 2013 the company has raised $400 million, invested in 110 companies and had had 13 successful “exits”. Even more significantly, he said the scope and breadth of international interest in and support for the local technology sector means the current numbers will grow exponentially in the coming years.

 

“Israel is hotter than ever, growing at a rapid pace. $4.8 billion was invested in Israeli technology companies last year, of which 85 percent came from abroad. “Compare that to Europe – $13.6 billion last year for their 700 million people, compared to our 8.5 million people. So we’re about 30-to-1 over them in the tech sector. It’s not an exaggeration to say that people simply can’t get enough of it,” he said. Both in order to ramp up the level of investment in Israeli tech companies and to facilitate investment opportunities for investors around the world, Our Crowd has created an investment platform to match local start-ups with small-to-medium investors by adapting the crowdfunding model to the hi-tech sector.

 

Traditionally, start-up investing has been limited to a minuscule number of investors, mainly because the entry fees to the sector limit the playing field to the super rich. Venture capital funds routinely demand a $1 million opening deposit, and can often go as high as $4-5 million. But individual investments into particular companies are often impractical, especially when talking about overseas companies. Legal and accounting requirements differ from country to country, and watching over a large-scale investment requires both time and expertise.

 

Those difficulties have not dimmed interest in Israeli technologies from the international community, however. Business and technology delegations have  boomed in recent years, with dozens “tech tours” from every continent expected to visit technology hubs around the country this year, including from countries that do not maintain diplomatic relations with Israel.

 

“Take our Global Investors Summit,” Jon Medved told TPS. “At our first Summit in 2014 we had 1000 participants. It grew to 3,000 by the second one and 6,000 last week. We had people from 82 countries – Poland, Greece, Macedonia, Finland, all closing deals with hundreds of multinationals and learning about locally-created technologies. We even had one Muslim CEO from Iraq! “For instance, we had the CEO of Zoom Car, sort of like an ‘Uber’ for rental cars in India.  He decided to attend last year’s Summit on a  whim and wound up signing a deal with Mobile Eye. Last week, he told me that the technology has reduced accidents for his fleet by 80 percent,” Medved said.

 

“There is no question this is an international conference,” added Nitzan Adler, Director of Community Projects & Operations at Siftech, a hi-tech accelerator in Jerusalem. “Things run like clockwork and I’ve met people here from around the technology industry, both from Israel and abroad. It’s a sign of a bright present and future.”                                                       

 

Contents

 

HOW ISRAEL TURNED ITSELF INTO A STARTUP NATION

Jaya Menon

Times of India, Mar. 5, 2017

 

Israel's is a dramatic, rich landscape of history, politics, economy, and progress. It's turbulent past and wars with its Arab neighbours have polarised it on the issue of religion. But economic development in the small State of Israel, with a population of nearly 8.4 million — just about that of Chennai — is widely acknowledged as a miracle. The country's desert agriculture is a global model. And now, its metamorphosis into a high-tech superpower is one of its biggest success stories.

 

Israel has more Nasdaq-listed companies than any country barring US and China. It has more venture capital per capita and more startups than any other country in the world. Research and development (R&D) is a thrust area for the country, which also has more scientists and tech professionals than any other nation. In 2016, Israeli startups raised $4.8 billion in venture funding, a record that year, and saw exits worth $9.2 billion.

 

"The high-tech revolution in Israel was a gradual process, beginning in the 1990s," says National Economic Council head and the PM's senior economic adviser Prof Avi Simhon. "In 2001, the country began to move from deficit GDP to surplus. We had great help (financial aid) from the US, but we had to return the loans." He attributes Israel's success to "an accidental combination of a high-tech revolution and government policies".

 

Accident may have been the start, but now its growth is by design. The Israeli startup market begins in the tech hub of Tel Aviv and extends to Jerusalem and beyond to Beer-Sheva, a southern desert city. One of the reasons for Israel gaining the reputation of a startup nation is the active encouragement of government and private enterprises. The nation boasts of a climate of transparency and collaboration. Entrepreneurs are keen to support budding ones and cultivate a culture of innovation.

 

SOSA (South of Salame) is Israel's startup platform or town square for global innovators, set up by pioneers of the Israeli high-tech industry. Located in a vintage building in south Tel Aviv, it has a network of 2,500 startups, 400 partners and members, 45 professional investors and receives around 150 global delegations annually. SOSA general manager Uzi Scheffer sees potential for Israeli startups in India. Uzi, a keen supporter of early stage startups, sees them bringing innovation into multinational companies. "We hope to see the Sosa model being replicated in India," he said, during a presentation of SOSA's high points.

 

The startups are quirky, imaginative and adventurous. Adam Raz's venture, for instance, provides a technological solution for posture problems. "Wearable technology that actually trains you to sit upright and corrects your posture," says Upright Technologies' website and Raz vouches for it with data. He says they already have 12,000 users.

 

Chief scientist of Israel's ministry of economy and industry or Israel Innovation Authority Avi Hasson says the private sector has played a significant role. He says $4.8 billion of venture capital investment in the country is in startups and 85% of it comes from foreign investors. "We invest 4.3% of our GDP on R&D," he says. Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Deutsche Telecom, and Bosch and 350 other multinational giants have research centres in Israel. "One of the most important pillars of the nation is its deep public-private collaboration," he says.

 

According to information giant Dun & Bradstreet's 2015 review and 2016 economic outlook, as of late 2015, some 7,000 high-tech companies operated in Israel, of which 79% (close to 6,000) are startups in various stages. The report says that approximately 78% of the startups currently operating raised capital at least once from an external source such as angel investors, venture capital funds or government funding. The startups are mostly tech enterprises in areas like health technology, phone apps, robotics, cyber security and artificial intelligence. "We are now investing four times more on infrastructure," says Tel Aviv mayor Ron Huldai. A critic of the country's right-wing government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Huldai, who has been mayor for 18 years, says he has worked hard to create the right ecosystem for startups.

 

"Tel Aviv is a crime-free city. This is not just because of the police. People are tolerant and democratic," says Huldai. It is the most gay-friendly city in the world, he says attributing simple logic to it — when you treat the gay community harshly, there will be crime. All these efforts contribute towards creating an enabling environment for talent from across the country and the world. The unemployment rate is 4.8%, but talent crunch is the next big challenge for Israel, says Hasson. In the 2017-18 budget, the innovation authority will be allocated a special package to tackle the manpower shortage.

 

Military service, compulsory for young men (three years) and women (two years), is one of the important sources of Israeli innovation. Israel ministry officer and head of innovation and brand management Ran Natanzon says the Israeli defence forces' Unit 8200, no more a clandestine unit, takes the most brilliant youth with the best analytical capabilities, decision making and teamwork skills and gives the best education and training. "The mentality in the unit is like in a startup, and those who graduate enter the world of entrepreneurship at a relatively young age with hands-on experience of solving and managing the most complicated sophisticated projects worth millions of dollars," says Natanzon.

 

Israel shares borders with countries and territories like Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank, Gaza and Egypt that have unstable political environments, with Jordan being the only comparatively stable neighbour. Water scarcity has emerged as the new threat in the Middle East. But, Israel has not only found a solution, it has also made water management a business with drip irrigation. As Simhon points out, "High-tech is the future of Israel. We are very good at it."

 

Contents 

A SMALL MINORITY MUST NOT JEOPARDIZE THIS GREAT OPPORTUNITY

                                    Isi Leibler  

Candidly Speaking, Mar. 3, 2017

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has returned from triumphant visits to the United States, Australia and Singapore. Now is the time for him to display courage and make serious decisions that will determine his legacy — as either one of Israel’s great leaders or a failure.

 

We are living in a crazy world which was stunned by the surprise election of the upstart Donald Trump. The new American president has proceeded at breakneck speed to reverse the politically correct approaches of Barack Obama, which included endorsement of groups like the Muslim Brotherhood. Trump is the first American president to confront the bias of the liberal press. His haste to implement some policies, such as his decree limiting immigration, led to chaos and ultimately was curbed by the courts.

 

However, Trump’s election is regarded as a gift by many Israelis. His uninhibited display of warmth and gestures of friendship toward Israel and Netanyahu have raised Israel’s standing in the eyes of many nations that were implicitly encouraged to condemn Israel by the Obama administration. That the U.S. now treats Israel as a genuine partner will enormously benefit us at all levels — politically, economically and militarily.

 

There is already a profound impact at the United Nations, where Trump’s newly appointed Ambassador Nikki Haley clearly stated that the U.S. “will not turn a blind eye” to Israel bashing and will demonstrate “ironclad support for Israel and intolerance for the U.N.’ s anti-Israel bias.” Beyond that, the administration has warned that it may pull out of the obscenely anti-Israeli U.N. Human Rights Council, which would send a powerful message. But this is the tip of the iceberg.

 

Another most astonishing development is the almost open alliance between Israel and the moderate Sunni states, which Trump has been actively encouraging. The relationship with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, including defense and intelligence sharing, exceeds the heady days of the late President Anwar Sadat. Likewise, senior Saudi spokesmen have been downplaying their traditional hatred of Israel and, with the other Gulf states, calling for a united front against the efforts of the Shiite Iranian terrorist state to achieve regional hegemony as a nuclear power. Trump has vowed to reverse the appeasement policies of Obama and reiterated that he would never come to terms with a nuclear Iran and will take steps to neutralize its global terrorist activities.

 

Remarkably, Israel has developed a relationship with Vladimir Putin’s Russia, notwithstanding its support for Syria. Thanks to Obama’s blunders, Russia now occupies a dominant position in the Middle East. Hopefully, Trump’s policies will not cause any ruptures in Israel’s interaction with Russia. In Asia, Africa and some European countries, the bonds with Israel are being strengthened because those seeking a better relationship with Trump sense that his affection for Israel is genuine. This atmosphere provides Israel with opportunities to move forward in relation to settlements and a policy toward the Palestinians.

 

Trump has said that he is not committed to a two-state policy and that if the Israelis and Palestinians can find another solution, he would be supportive. But in the course of professing his love for Israel and his determination to act as a genuine ally, he stated that his ultimate objective was to reach a deal that would never undermine Israel’s security. He stressed that Israel would be obliged to make some compromises and stated that excessive expansion of settlements would not be helpful. At the same time, he insisted that the Palestinians must recognize Israel as a Jewish state and cease their incitement. He postponed moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, presumably because he was advised that it could undermine the very delicate relationship brewing between Israel and the Sunni states.

 

While there is still chaos in the administration with gaping vacuums in key positions, the hysteria against Trump by American liberals is unprecedented. The liberal majority of the American Jewish community has become engaged in an insane campaign to demonize Trump as an anti-Semite. There is an increase in anti-Semitism in the U.S. and Trump has been tone-deaf not to respond more vigorously. There was therefore some justification for criticism, but having regard to his family, his circle of Jewish friends and his extraordinary outpourings of love for Israel, it is obscene to accuse him of promoting anti-Semitism, engaging in Holocaust revisionism, supporting fascism or acting like Hitler. The visit by Vice President Mike Pence to Dachau and his personal commitment in helping to repair a vandalized Jewish cemetery said it all.

 

Official mainstream organizations like the Anti-Defamation League and the Reform movement have effectively adopted the same role as J Street and engaged in unprecedented partisan activities that have undoubtedly created anti-Jewish hostility among Trump supporters. Yet during the Obama administration, they failed to react to the most dangerous instances of anti-Semitism cloaked as anti-Zionism. They did not ring the alarm bells when Jewish students were being physically intimidated on campuses for identifying with Israel or when Obama ignored Iran’s calls for the destruction of Israel.

 

Initially, the ADL even defended the candidacy of the anti-Semitic Keith Ellison as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, but it was forced to back down under public pressure. The ADL also refused to condemn the Black Lives Matter movement despite its outrageous condemnation of Israel as an apartheid state. Nor did it object to Linda Sarsour and other radical anti-Israel activists at the forefront of the Women’s March on Washington. Fortunately, today the support of the Christian evangelical movement has more than compensated. But despite the hostility of liberal American Jews and their abandonment of Israel, we are now presented with a unique opportunity to achieve crucial national objectives. Israel’s success will depend on our leaders’ willingness to set aside short-term partisan politics and act in the national interest.

 

Aside from the extreme Left and extreme Right, there is a greater national consensus among Israelis than has existed since the great schism over the Oslo Accords. Most agree that we must separate from the Palestinians and recognize that annexation of all of Judea and Samaria would inevitably lead to a binational state and end the Zionist dream. Yet there is also a clear consensus that an independent Palestinian state today would effectively amount to a terror state at our doorstep. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull summed up Israel’s predicament when he stated that “being blunt and realistic about this — you cannot expect any Israeli government to put itself in a position where its security is at risk, where its citizens are not safe. The first duty of every government is the safety of the people.”…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

Contents    

       

On Topic Links

 

Rift on the Right—Over Sovereignty: Dr. Martin Sherman, Arutz Sheva, Feb. 17, 2017—Allow me to pick up from last week’s column, where I set out the differences between two strategic approaches to the application of Israeli sovereignty over Judea-Samaria: The one, advocated by people such as the prominent journalist, Caroline Glick; the other by people such as the founder of the new Zehut party, former MK Moshe Feiglin, and myself.

Israel Must Not Criminalize Political Differences: Alan Dershowitz, Algemeiner, Feb. 9, 2017—I recently returned from a visit to Israel, where the headlines focused on two investigations involving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The first is about conversations between the prime minister and Arnon Mozes, the publisher of Yedioth Ahronoth, a popular Israeli newspaper.

Ya'alon Announces Intention to Run for Prime Minister, Form New Party: Udi Shaham, Jerusalem Post, Mar. 4, 2017—Former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon declared on Saturday his intention to run for the post of prime minister. Ya’alon announced at a cultural event in Tel Aviv that he feels the time has come for him to pursue a new goal in his decades-long military and public career.

With Natural Gas Shipments to Jordan, Israel Becomes Energy Exporter: Tower, Mar. 3, 2017—Israel has been exporting gas to Jordan since January, it was announced on Thursday. Yossi Abu, CEO of Israeli company Delek Drilling, said that “since early this year we started to export, it’s not huge quantities, but it’s still an export to Jordan.” Delek and American company Noble Energy hold controlling stakes in Israel’s Leviathan and the smaller Tamar gas fields and have been largely responsible for their development so far. This is the first time ever that Israel has exported energy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ISRAEL’S INNOVATIVE HIGH-TECH & START-UP CULTURE HEADING TO THE MOON & BEYOND

No Man on the Moon: Samuel Thrope, Tablet, Jan. 25, 2017— During the Holocaust, Yariv Bash’s grandfather was forced to build V2 rockets for the Nazi army.

‘Startups as Far as the Eye Can See, all the Way to the Sea’: Sharon Udasin, Jerusalem Post, Feb. 22, 2017— Entering the 14th-floor hotel lounge following a morning stroll along the Mediterranean Sea, an enthusiastic Randall Lane grabbed a glass of water and sat down at a small table, his trademark fedora still perched on his head.

How Do Israel’s Tech Firms Do Business in Saudi Arabia? Very Quietly: Jonathan Ferziger and Peter Waldman, Bloomberg, Feb. 2, 2017— Over the course of 30 years working in Israeli intelligence, Shmuel Bar immersed himself in the hermeneutics of terrorism.

Drafting Up Innovation: Dan Senor, Wall Street Journal, Feb. 3, 2017— Israel is a country of eight million people that at its narrowest point is 9 miles wide.

 

On Topic Links

 

First Israeli Research Nanosatellite Launched into Space From India: Anav Silverman, Breaking Israel News, Feb. 15, 2017

Apple Buys Israel’s Facial Recognition Firm RealFace – Report: Shoshanna Solomon, Times of Israel, Feb. 19, 2017

Can a Desert Nation Solve the World's Water Shortage? (Video): Seth Siegel, PragerU, Oct. 17, 2016

Execs from Facebook, Google, and Microsoft Explain Why They Use Israel for Their R&D: Sam Shead, Business Insider, Oct. 6, 2016

 

NO MAN ON THE MOON                               

Samuel Thrope                                 

Tablet, Jan. 25, 2017              

 

During the Holocaust, Yariv Bash’s grandfather was forced to build V2 rockets for the Nazi army. Now Bash has his eyes on a rocket of his own: one that will take the first Israeli spacecraft to the moon. Bash is one of the three co-founders of SpaceIL, the Israeli entrant in the Google Lunar Xprize, an international competition to send the first civilian mission to Earth’s nearest neighbor. The first team to land an unmanned spacecraft on the moon, which then travels 500 meters and broadcasts images back to Earth, will take home a purse of $20 million. With the strong support of the Israeli government and the backing of generous private donors, including billionaire investor Morris Kahn and casino magnate and political kingmaker Sheldon Adelson, SpaceIL is poised to make Israel the fourth lunar nation.

 

The planned SpaceIL mission, if it comes off, will also conduct a joint UCLA-Weizmann Institute of Science experiment to measure the changes in the moon’s magnetic field. The end of December was the final cutoff for the competitors—scientists, engineers, and private entrepreneurs from around the world—to secure a launch contract on a rocket bound for orbit. Of the 29 teams who registered for the competition in 2010, five remain: the American Moon Express, Team Indus from India, Hakuto from Japan, the international Synergy Moon, and SpaceIL.

 

SpaceIL was the first team to obtain its ticket to the moon and will be launching its spacecraft on a Falcon 9 rocket produced by billionaire investor Elon Musks’s private aerospace company, SpaceX , by the end of 2017. As SpaceIL CEO Eran Privman explained, the agreement with SpaceX represents more than just a means of transport. “The fact that a serious company signs a contract with a group like us means that we know what we’re talking about,” he said. “That we’ve passed all their tests and that our craft stands up to all their requirements.”

 

However, SpaceIL’s moon mission almost didn’t happen, according to Bash, a bespectacled and balding 35-year-old electronics engineer and entrepreneur who recounted the story in the Tel Aviv offices of his drone-delivery startup, Flytrex. Having learned of the competition only in November 2009, two years after it began and only a few weeks before the deadline to register, he posted an invitation on his Facebook page: “Who wants to go to the moon?” Kfir Damari, 34, a friend and telecommunications engineer, answered the call. The next Saturday, the two met in a bar in Holon, just south of Tel Aviv, with aerospace engineer Yonatan Winetraub, and started plotting a way to the moon. On Dec. 31, the very last day to register, the three wired in the $50,000 entry fee and joined the competition.

 

“Space is the ultimate thing,” Bash said when asked what inspired him to join the Xprize moon race. “It’s something that is so hard to do, even today. In 2016, rockets still blow up; it’s still rocket science. This is one of the ultimate technological-engineering challenges.” Despite other teams’ head starts, SpaceIL quickly advanced. It was the first team to design a landing craft, provisionally nicknamed “Sparrow,” that could use its engines to “hop” the required 500 meters over the moon’s surface rather than rely on a separate lunar rover to cover the distance. Seeing the elegance of this solution, Bash said, other teams followed suit.

 

One of the most important measures of SpaceIL’s success is its strong financial backing. Between government support—limited by competition rules to 10 percent of the project’s overall budget—and private donations, SpaceIL has raised $50 million of the $70 million that it estimates it will take to complete the mission; the launch alone costs $20 million. “Spacecraft don’t fly on hydrazine,” a common rocket propellant, Bash explained. “They fly on green fuel. If you look at the competition, we’ve raised more than double the next team.”

 

The Sparrow spacecraft is being designed and built at Israel Aerospace Industries, the country’s leading aviation and defense manufacturer. IAI, founded in 1953 by American Jewish pilot and engineer Al Schwimmer, can be considered Israel’s Lockheed Martin or Boeing, although, unlike the American companies, it is entirely government-owned. IAI produces Israel’s drones, aircraft, and satellites, as well as the Iron Dome missile-defense system.

 

Rather than the bright, white-booted, and sterile workspace one might imagine, though, SpaceIL’s electronics- and software-testing lab at IAI’s campus in the city of Yehud, just north of Ben-Gurion Airport, sits in a modified trailer on a dusty patch of ground near the parking lot. While the body of the craft will be assembled in the same high-tech clean room used for Israel’s Amos communication satellites, Sparrow’s computing and navigational guts are put through their paces here.

 

On a sunny winter day, SpaceIL software manager Asaf Lewin demonstrated some of the craft’s components: the 15-year-old computer, a three-tiered, functional stack of processors some 6 inches high, originally designed for a nanosatellite; a sensor to ensure the craft’s solar panels are always facing the sun; and a star tracker for navigation. It amounts to several million dollars’ worth of proven equipment that has already been tested in the radiation and cold of outer space.

 

The lab’s makeshift vibe is a perfect metaphor for SpaceIL’s upstart approach to the lunar mission. As Damari, the telecom engineer, explained, in order to keep costs down SpaceIL has decided to forgo IAI’s usual exhaustive checks and double checks on cameras and other non-mission-critical systems, building faster and cheaper than many had thought possible. This success has shown the potential for a civilian space industry in Israel. In the wake of SpaceIL, several local companies have established the Israeli presence in this growing field, including Effective Space Solutions, which is developing technology to return wayward satellites to their correct orbits, and Spacepharma, which offers zero-gravity space labs for scientific experiments.

 

“Showing that you can send a deep space probe for less than $100 million, that’s breaking a glass ceiling,” Bash explained. “It’s not only NASA and the European Space Agency that can do deep-space missions but also smaller countries, maybe large organizations. It’s opening up space a bit more to the Wild West.”…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

 

Contents

 

‘STARTUPS AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE, ALL THE WAY TO THE SEA’

                                                            Sharon Udasin

                                                                            Jerusalem Post, Feb. 22, 2017

 

Entering the 14th-floor hotel lounge following a morning stroll along the Mediterranean Sea, an enthusiastic Randall Lane grabbed a glass of water and sat down at a small table, his trademark fedora still perched on his head. After prodding the reporter with questions – as any lifelong journalist is wont to do – the editor of Forbes magazine was eager to discuss a country that has “invented and is reinventing itself.” “When you look at the world’s great entrepreneurial cities, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are way, way up there, and it’s apparent to anyone who spends any time here,” Lane said. “We were able to see that the Start-Up Nation reputation is true. The Start-Up Nation ethos is pervasive.”

 

The Forbes editor spoke with The Jerusalem Post in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, ahead of the magazine’s upcoming Under 30 Summit – an event expected to draw hundreds of the most promising young innovators to Israel this April for the second year running. In Lane’s mind, Israel provides a “very natural” environment for the summit, due to the country’s position as a leading entrepreneurial hot spot combined with its unique cultural ties and history. “It’s an amazing event that happens to be in Israel but also does an amazing job showcasing the Israeli start-up and tech ecosystem – which is why we’re here,” Lane said.

 

After launching its popular 30 Under 30 lists in 2011, Forbes began hosting Under 30 summits for its American honorees in 2014, with the first event occurring in Philadelphia that year. As these US events proved increasingly successful, the magazine decided to begin organizing such conventions abroad, holding the first such event – the Under 30 Summit EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) – last year in Israel, followed by the Under 30 Summit Asia in Singapore.

 

For the second year in a row, Lane will be hosting the Under 30 Summit EMEA in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, from April 2 to April 6. In addition to holding panels with leading global innovators, the summit promises amenities such as regional food and drink, bar crawls and group tours. Approximately 750 young entrepreneurs from 35 countries and 25 industries – 40% of whom are CEOs and founders of their ventures – are expected to attend. “They come early and they stay late and they don’t sleep,” Lane said.

Like last year, approximately one-third of the participants at this year’s summit will come from the US, one-third from Europe and one-third from Israel and the rest of the Middle East and Africa region. While that latter third will mostly include Israelis, Lane stressed that there will be some representation from African countries, as well as Palestinian entrepreneurs. This year, Forbes is working with the Portland Trust, a British nonprofit that works to foster peace between Israelis and Palestinians through economic development, to host a mentoring track for Palestinian entrepreneurs during one of the middle days of the convention. “We want to be able to leave here having been a strong force for entrepreneurs in the whole region,” Lane said.

 

In addition to the special track for Palestinian mentorship, the summit this year will also include other small group opportunities, like a visit to archeological sites, a cybersecurity gathering and a venture capitalist meeting. While last year’s events only took place in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, this year all the participants will also have the chance to go to the Dead Sea and Masada on the final day. “We’re just going to go all night,” Lane said. “Think about ending this thing with the metaphorical new beginning – one of the best places for sunrises in the world.”

 

Although Lane had done backpacking in Israel about two decades ago during his twenties, his interest in the country was rekindled only a couple years ago, when he was invited to speak at an ROI Summit, an annual convention held in Israel for young Jewish innovators. A particularly memorable portion of that trip for Lane was a visit to the SOSA (South of Salame) Tel Aviv start-up hub. “I was just absolutely struck by the entrepreneurial ethos here, and it’s hard to describe if you’re not here,” he said. “The feeling, the eureka moment, was in SOSA. I spoke there and I went up to the roof there, and you could see start-ups as far as the eye can see, all the way to the sea. It has that Silicon Valley feel but with this incredible location and history.”…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

 

Contents

 

HOW DO ISRAEL’S TECH FIRMS DO BUSINESS IN SAUDI ARABIA?

VERY QUIETLY

Jonathan Ferziger and Peter Waldman

Bloomberg, Feb. 2, 2017

 

Over the course of 30 years working in Israeli intelligence, Shmuel Bar immersed himself in the hermeneutics of terrorism. Using techniques of literary analysis more familiar to Koranic scholars and Bible critics, he came to recognize the distinctive language and religious phrases that suicide bombers used in their farewell videos. “Victory is with the patient” appeared frequently in the martyrdom declarations of Hamas recruits. Al-Qaeda adherents favored the call “God, count them, kill them, and don’t leave any of them.”

 

Bar, a tousle-haired 62-year-old with a wry sensibility, emerged from government service in 2003 amid the proliferation of global terrorism, and in the rising sense of doom he saw a business opportunity. He founded a company called IntuView, a miner of data in the deep, dark web—a sort of Israeli version of Palantir, the Silicon Valley security contractor. Tapping engineering talent in Israel’s startup hub of Herzliya, he adapted his analyst’s ear for language to custom algorithms capable of sifting through unending streams of social media messages for terrorist threats. He sold his services to police, border, and intelligence agencies across Europe and the U.S.

 

Then, two years ago, an e-mail arrived out of the blue. Someone from the upper echelons of power in Saudi Arabia, Bar says, invited him to discuss a potential project via Skype. The Saudis had heard about his technology and wanted his help identifying potential terrorists. There was one catch: Bar would have to set up a pass-through company overseas to hide IntuView’s Israeli identity. Not a problem, he said, and he went to work ferreting out Saudi jihadis with a software program called IntuScan, which can process 4 million Facebook and Twitter posts a day. Later, the job expanded to include public-opinion research on the Saudi royal family. “It’s not as if I went looking for this,” Bar says, still bemused by the unexpected turn in a life spent confronting Israel’s enemies. “They came to me.”

 

Bar says he meets freely these days with Saudis and other Gulf Arabs at overseas conferences and private events. Trade and collaboration in technology and intelligence are flourishing between Israel and a host of Arab states, even if the people and companies involved rarely talk about it publicly. When a London think tank recently disinvited Bar from speaking on a panel, explaining that a senior Saudi official was also coming and it wasn’t possible to have them appear together, Bar told the organizers that he and the Saudi gentleman had in fact been planning to have lunch together at a Moroccan restaurant nearby before walking over to the event together. “They were out-Saudi-ing the Saudis,” he says.

 

Peace hasn’t come to the Middle East. This isn’t beating swords into plowshares but a logical coalescence of interests based on shared fears: of an Iranian bomb, jihadi terror, popular insurgency, and an American retreat from the region. IntuView has Israeli export licenses and the full support of its government to help any country facing threats from Iran and militant Islamic groups. “If it’s a country which is not hostile to Israel that we can help, we’ll do it,” Bar says. Only Syria, Lebanon, Iran, and Iraq are off-limits. The Saudis and other oil-rich Arab states are only too happy to pay for the help. “The Arab boycott?” Bar says. “It doesn’t exist.”…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

 

Contents                                                               

DRAFTING UP INNOVATION

Dan Senor

                      Wall Street Journal, Feb. 3, 2017

 

Israel is a country of eight million people that at its narrowest point is 9 miles wide. It is surrounded on all sides by enemies who would like to see it wiped off the map: Hezbollah to the north, Hamas to the south, plus Bashar al-Assad’s regime, Islamic State and Iran to the east. It wouldn’t take a particularly pessimistic person to bet against this besieged slice of desert. Yet this tiny nation has also built an air force, anti-missile defense system and intelligence apparatus that is revered around the world—and relied on by the U.S. military, among many others. And it’s done it with a minuscule fraction of the budget available to larger nations.

 

How has Israel pulled it off? In “The Weapon Wizards” Yaakov Katz and Amir Bohbot tell the story of how the Jewish state’s military and defense sector became one of the most cutting-edge in the world. In chapters focused on particular technologies and weapons, such as drones, satellites and cyber warfare, the authors make the case that the same factors that have made Israel a tech giant have also allowed it to become a “high-tech military superpower.” The country’s military, its schools and its extracurricular institutions inculcate in its young people tenacity, insatiable questioning of authority, determined informality, cross-disciplinary creativity and tolerance of failure.

 

Because of its hostile neighborhood, Israel has had the unlucky distinction of being the first target of the newest terrorist innovations—which has forced it to become a kind of laboratory for militaries across the globe. Israeli commercial airline passengers, for example, were among the world’s first victims of international hijacking campaigns. But elite Israeli commando units conducted the first successful airline hostage rescue in 1972, and then again at Entebbe in 1976. America’s Delta Force was founded partly in response to what the U.S. learned from the IDF’s operation in Uganda.

 

Two decades later, in the 1990s, Palestinian terror groups began deploying suicide bombers against civilians. By the time of the Second Intifada, the bombings were an almost daily occurrence. Israel responded by adapting: It built a security fence along the West Bank, equipped with sophisticated surveillance technology, which, alongside stepped-up security operations, helped drastically curtail the frequency of the bombings. It also boosted its focus on human intelligence, redeveloping sophisticated networks to track and apprehend planners and perpetrators inside the West Bank.

 

The Pentagon studied the IDF tactics used during the Intifada and applied lessons about effective urban warfare and the use of dogs in combat to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Israel also pioneered the use of attack helicopters and UAVs, both of which have been critical in America’s targeting of terror cells in Pakistan and Yemen.

 

The authors, both longtime national-security reporters and IDF veterans, are particularly interested in the army’s system of reserves and how it has bolstered the country’s military innovations. Many other countries have reserve forces that augment the standing army, but because Israel is so territorially small and its population so outmanned by its adversaries, no standing army could ever be large enough to defend the country. Thus in the IDF reservists not only man whole units but also serve as commanders.

 

Messrs. Katz and Bohbot argue that a straight line can be drawn from this unique reserves system to the success of Israel’s defense industry. “Israeli engineers’ experiences from the battlefield, as well as their continued training and combat in the reserves, help them better understand what the IDF requires for the next war as well as how to develop it,” they write. This is different from the U.S., where, the authors explain, the Pentagon “installs military officers in development teams at defense contractors, but they are often viewed as outsiders.” In Israel, “the outsiders are the insiders. Military experiences become lifelong experiences. This dual identity is a national asset.”

 

This was a big factor in the rapid development and deployment of the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system, designed to intercept rockets launched by Hezbollah from Lebanon and by Hamas from Gaza. Iron Dome was developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems; the company’s missile factory is in the Galilee, not far from Israel’s border with Lebanon. Many of Rafael’s engineers live in northern Israel, fought in reserves during Israel’s 2006 war against Hezbollah or spent 34 days in bomb shelters during that war. In other words, they had far more than an academic understanding of the threat that they were developing technologies to defend against.

 

Israel’s defense industry also has a unique, export-oriented business model. For the past 30 years, for example, the country has been the world’s No. 1 exporter of drones, responsible for 60% of the global market (the U.S. share of global exports is less than half that).

 

For its willingness to sell its drones and many other defense technology products abroad, including to China, the country has been criticized. But Israel argues that this is an existential matter. The IDF has never been a sufficiently large buyer on its own to incentivize local companies to develop new weapons or technologies, write Messrs. Katz and Bohbot. This means Israeli defense tech start-ups and larger companies need the economies of scale that can only come from selling into foreign markets to “keep production lines open and prices down for the IDF.”

 

While “The Weapon Wizards” can be a bit technical for the lay reader, the authors have skillfully conveyed a key component of the dynamic innovation culture that has made the Jewish state one of the most important entrepreneurial and technology-driven economies in the world. Not bad for a country 9 miles wide.

 

Contents           

 

On Topic Links

 

First Israeli Research Nanosatellite Launched into Space From India: Anav Silverman, Breaking Israel News, Feb. 15, 2017—Israeli academia’s first research nanosatellite was launched into space on Wednesday, February 15. Ben Gurion University’s BGUSAT nanosatellite was among the record 104 nanosatellites from five countries, which were launched on the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle from the Satish Dhawan launching pad in India today. The Israeli nanosatellite will study climate change and scientific phenomena from space.

Apple Buys Israel’s Facial Recognition Firm RealFace – Report: Shoshanna Solomon, Times of Israel, Feb. 19, 2017—Apple Inc. has acquired Israel’s Realface, a cybertechnology startup whose facial recognition technology can be used to authenticate users. This is Apple’s fourth acquisition in Israel, the financial website Calcalist reported Sunday, and the deal is estimated to be worth a couple of million of dollars.

Can a Desert Nation Solve the World's Water Shortage? (Video): Seth Siegel, PragerU, Oct. 17, 2016— From California to Africa, we are facing a global water shortage. But one tiny country, in the middle of a desert, has found remarkable solutions. Which country? And can we replicate its success? Businessman and New York Times bestselling author Seth Siegel explains.

Execs from Facebook, Google, and Microsoft Explain Why They Use Israel for Their R&D: Sam Shead, Business Insider, Oct. 6, 2016— Born just 68 years ago, Israel has developed a reputation as one of the world's most innovative tech hubs. Silicon Valley multinationals in particular have cottoned on, setting up offices in the region and acquiring numerous Israeli startups.

 

CIJR GALA-CONFERENCE 2015! CELEBRATE WITH US CIJR’S 27 YEARS OF DEDICATED & EFFECTIVE PRO-ISRAEL ADVOCACY

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 

 

Contents:

 

APRIL 29TH “ISRAEL’S MIRACLE” CONFERENCE-GALA  PICKS UP STEAM IN FINAL DAYS!! —(Montreal) —The Canadian Institute for Jewish Research’s unique “Israel’s High-Tech Miracle & Canada: Innovation for Humanity” Gala-Conference boasts several dynamic new dimensions making it the “must” event of the season!

 

AT THE UNIQUE DAY-LONG CONFERENCE: Israel’s distinguished Space Agency Director, Isaac Ben-Israel, will kick off the proceedings as A.M. Keynoter, and Rafael Barak, Israel’s Ambassador to Canada, will be our lunch Keynoter. All aspects of high-tech research and applications, from nanotechnology and water to advanced IT and agricultural initiatives, from start-up capital ventures and economic opportunities to the latest military and security innovations, will be illuminated by outstanding specialists and practitioners in panels, round-tables, and exhibits.

 

AT THE EVENING GALA DINNER:  the Mayor of Tel Aviv, Ron Huldai, will kick things off with a cameo appearance, our distinguished Keynote speaker will be the Hon. Ed Fast, Federal Minister of International Trade. Several superb videos will illuminate Israel’s high-tech achievement; CIJR’s founder and President for 27 years, Prof. Frederick Krantz, will be honored, and “Theodor Herzl” will cap off the dynamic evening with a brilliant review of modern Israel’s development and achievements.

 

FOR REGISTRATION and INFORMATION, go to http://www.israconf.com or call 1-855-303-5544/514-486-5544 or e-mail yunna@isranet.org.

 

The Story of CIJR: Prof. Frederick Krantz, CIJR, Apr. 28, 2015 — The story of CIJR’s rise to international recognition as Canada’s leading pro-Israel academic research center began in 1987-88 with a small, predominantly (but not exclusively) academic group.

Message From the National Board Chairman: Jack Kincler, CIJR, Apr. 28, 2015 — I would like to begin my letter this year by saluting our very special 2015 CIJR 27th Anniversary Gala Honoree, our indefatigable and dedicated founder, Director and President for 27 years running, Prof. Frederick Krantz.

CIJR Celebrates 27 Years!: Baruch Cohen, CIJR, Apr. 28, 2015 — I am proud and profoundly happy to add a few words about my very modest contribution to this great Jewish organization , as it celebrates its 27th anniversary.

"Emergency" Colloquium on Gaza War; Experts Speak Out: Doris Strub Epstein, Shalom Toronto, Aug. 13, 2015— Hama's best weapon in it's war to destroy Israel, is not rockets or tunnels.

 

On Topic Links

 

At 95, Baruch Cohen Still a CIJR Stalwart: Janice Arnold, Canadian Jewish News, Nov. 6, 2014

Seminar Highly Critical of Iran Deal: David Lazarus, Canadian Jewish News, Nov. 28, 2013

The “Other” Israel: Charles Bybelezer, CIJR, Apr. 15, 2015

Ryan Bellerose at CIJR (Video): Youtube, Mar. 21, 2015

         

                                                

THE STORY OF CIJR                                                                                                         

Prof. Frederick Krantz                                                                                                                          

CIJR, Apr. 28, 2015

 

The story of CIJR’s rise to international recognition as Canada’s leading pro-Israel academic research center began in 1987-88 with a small, predominantly (but not exclusively) academic group. We responded spontaneously to the first 1987-88 intifada, and its negative reflection in the media. Indeed, two of our current most important publications, the quarterly Israfax print magazine and our students’ journal, Dateline: Middle East, were born at the same time, 1989, and have been published in an unbroken series ever since.

 

This group, meeting initially in my living room, reacted to a becalmed organized community, in a state of shock over, and at a loss at how to respond to, the sudden, negative reversal of media Israel imagery. We began writing letters and articles, and speaking at community groups and synagogues.

 

The internationally-popular Isranet Daily Briefing email journal, our key current publication (now at Vol.XI, No.3,530 and reaching over 30,000 recipients daily), awaited the invention of the Internet (and our mastery of the computer). Today it is paralleled by the French-language weekly e-mail Communiqué Isranet, by our website’s Israzine monthly, and by an active Facebook and Twitter social media outreach.

 

When, given the unexpectedly enthusiastic community response, we sought the use of an office and copy-machine (computers were just emerging), not a single Jewish organization responded positively. We had begun receiving contributions, couldn’t receive the monies personally, and so had to decide: disband or incorporate. Choosing the latter, we secured in 1988 a legal charter as a non-profit Canadian educational endowment.

 

Over time, more academics and laymen joined in CIJR’s work, our International Board grew, and in the late 1990s, we established an active Toronto chapter. Several years ago we forged affiliations with Daniel Pipes’ Middle East Forum, in Philadelphia, and with the prestigious Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs in Israel, and we will soon be setting up Calgary and Vancouver chapters. Finally, CIJR’s independent sister institution, the American Institute for Jewish Research, head-office in Washington, D.C. received IRS approval in late 2014.

 

Still, for several years, before we located in a one-room office (lent by the Canadian Zionist Federation), CIJR remained in my Hampstead basement. And then it was another few years until—under the guidance of a wonderful community leader who identified with us, Clara Balinsky, z”l—we formed a supporting Board of Directors.

 

CIJR’s survival and broad development have not been easy. We had to make our own way, and find our own supporters and funding. We could not have succeeded without the many good people who became academic Fellows, joined our Boards, or proved stalwart and reliable funders and supporters.

 

Our earliest academic supporters included Professors Hal Waller, Julien Bauer, Ira Robinson, Brian Smith, and Emil Fackenheim, z”l. Baruch Cohen (still at his desk at 95) was one of the first laymen to come aboard. Early supporters, who would later become Board stalwarts, included Richard Golick z”l, Ed Winant z”l, and Charles Lazarus (our first Board chairman), followed by the late Irwin Beutel (our beloved and long-term second Board Chairman), Gisela Tamler z”l, Jack and Maureen, and Frieda, Dym, Evie Bloomfield Schachter, Thomas Hecht, Milton and Joyce Shier (in Toronto), Lillian and Bryant Shiller, Gerald N.E. Charness z”l, Joyce and Meyer Deitcher, Emil and Lucia Kroo, Aaron Remer, Louise Roskies Goldstein and Gustava Weiner.

 

Today, as we celebrate CIJR’s 27th anniversary and, finally, begin building a much-needed Endowment, I want to recognize the key work over the years of our wonderful Research Chairman, Baruch Cohen, and the tireless efforts of our current, brilliant Chairman, my good friend Jack Kincler, to whom we largely owe this year’s superb “Israeli High-Tech Miracle” Conference.

 

It has been my privilege to work for twenty-seven years with a truly remarkable group of academics and lay volunteers in building CIJR into Canada’s unique pro-Israel academic think-tank, a dedicated and resourceful organization speaking directly to the public, Jewish and non-Jewish, while working closely with students, on- and off-campus.

 

I want too to thank all the wonderful women and men of our current Academic Council and National Board: without you—people like, inter alia, Machla Abramowitz, Professor David Bensoussan, Sabina Citron, (Jerusalem), Gail Asper (Winnipeg) Herbert Feifer, and Barbara Kay; and Prof. Sally Zerker, David Sherman and Alan Herman (all in our Toronto Chapter), and many others—we could neither have built, nor maintained, our proud, respected activist institution (see Program Book endorsements!) without them.

 

The founder of Zionism, Thedor Herzl, famously said, “If you will it, it will be”. After 27 years, CIJR today plays, and in the future will continue to play—through its unique publications, conferences, and work with students—a key part in defending Israel and the Jewish People. It is only by ensuring Jewish- and Zionist consciousness and continuity, that there can be meaningful Israel advocacy.

 

                                    Prof. Frederick Krantz, President and Director of CIJR,

                                    is Editor of the Isranet Daily Briefing and Israfax

 

                                                                       

Contents                                                                                      

   

MESSAGE FROM THE NATIONAL BOARD CHAIRMAN                                                                

Jack Kincler                                                                                                                  

CIJR, Apr. 28, 2015

 

Dear friends and supporters, I would like to begin my letter this year by saluting our very special 2015 CIJR 27th Anniversary Gala Honoree, our indefatigable and dedicated founder, Director and President for 27 years running, Prof. Frederick Krantz. A recognition long overdue and well deserved. Prof. Krantz has been the driving force and the “dynamo” behind the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research (CIJR) from day one of its founding 27 years ago. The long hours of hard work and total devotion to the cause of educating and informing the outside world and students about Israel and the Jewish people, even as he was a full-time professor of history at Concordia U., is a trademark of “Prof. K.”, or Fred, as we call him. A true defender of the Jewish people and Israel with his boundless energy and knowledge. Whoever has been privileged to get to know Fred a bit closer is guaranteed to benefit from his inspiring brilliance and store of information on almost every topic.

 

Fred, being a full-time History Professor in Concordia U. and the founder there of the innovative and renowned Liberal Arts College, could not have built CIJR without the solid help and support of Lenore (also Professor Krantz), his beloved wife—whom we’ll also be honoring this year for all the work and long hours she has dedicated over the years to CIJR. The world is a better place with people such as Fred and Lenore. We wish both Professors K. many more years of good health, many joyous family occasions, and continuing indispensable contributions to CIJR.

 

Besides the fundraising annual evening Gala dinner, we added this year, on the same day, 29 April 2015, a major International Conference which took many months and a great deal of effort to put together. Entitled “Israel’s High-Tech Miracle and Canada: Innovation for Humanity”, and held at the Gelber Conference Center in Montreal, it will have transpired, and we are sure have been a great success, by the time you read this. (You can still consult the special web site set up for the conference located at www.israconf.com.) This event was meant to provide an insight into Israel’s vibrant economic landscape and its amazing innovative and creative technological activity, which benefits all of humanity. In a world that is hungry for some good news, Israel is a remarkable success story, one told by the High-Tech Miracle conference.

 

The Keynote speeches and panel discussions included topics on: Defense and Security, Pharmaceutical and Medical Research, Investment Opportunities, How to Establish Subsidiaries in Israel, Opportunities for Joint Academic Research and Cooperation, and more. This demonstration of Israel’s remarkable creativity was a deliberate effort to provide a true counter-narrative to the toxic BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) and IAW (Israel Apartheid Week) hate propaganda intensifying on campuses and elsewhere. Our answer to our enemies and detractors is to show all the good things that Israel does for the benefit of humankind.

The Conference had an impressive roaster of speakers from Israel and Canada. Among others, the opening plenary Keynote speaker was Prof. Itzhak Ben Israel, Chairman of the Israel Space Agency and of the National Council for R&D in the Ministry of Science. Rafael Barak, the Israeli Ambassador to Canada, delivered the lunch Keynote…

 

All this could not have happened without the generosity of our sponsors and donors. Every bit of needed financial assistance we receive is deeply appreciated. And this year Sponsors also enabled student or young community activists from across the country to attend the Conference and Gala. These young people, who have the potential of becoming soldiers in the battle against toxic anti-Israel and anti-Jewish propaganda, will become pro-active in combatting the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) and IAW (Israel Apartheid Week) campaigns. They will receive materials from our publications and informational Database, and are eligible to participate in periodic CIJR training sessions and follow-up.

 

Our dedicated Montreal office colleagues—Rob Coles, Langdon Conway, Melina Ghio and Yunna Shapira—always looking to improve methods and processes, have done a great job. Our wonderful Research Chairman, Baruch Cohen, now 95 and, like Prof. K and myself, an unpaid full-time volunteer, deserves a special yasher koach! And a heartfelt Thank you is due all our volunteers in Montreal and Toronto for your help and dedication! And thanks too to our wonderful and generous Board and Academic Council members, and to our friends, donors, and supporters across Canada, the U.S., Israel and the world. My best personal wishes to you and yours, and may there be peace in Israel and around the world.

 

Jack Kincler is CIJR’s National Board Chairman

                                                                       

Contents                                                                                      

                                                              

CIJR CELEBRATES 27 YEARS!                                                                                                                          

Baruch Cohen                                                                                           

CIJR, Apr. 28, 2015

 

 

I am proud and profoundly happy to add a few words about my very modest contribution to this great Jewish organization , as it celebrates its 27th anniversary. CIJR is Professor Fred Krantz’ creation. We feel it as we read its print and on-line publications—we know that every line and every page carries the imprint of Prof. Krantz’s unique “flair”.

 

I was there at the beginning. Across 27 years of daily studying, learning and working with Prof. Krantz, it gives me great pleasure to have reached this Gala celebration of his steady stewardship. CIJR, under Prof. Krantz’s direction, is well-known and respected internationally. Its publications, seminars, conferences and work with students express full support for the State of Israel and the idea of Zionism, and are suffused with a true Yiddishkeit.

 

I wish Prof. Krantz—Fred—, and my friend Jack Kincler, Chairman, National Board, good health and continued success at the helm of this unique Jewish organization. It has been, and continues to be, a great honour for me to learn from, and to contribute to, our joint work. Thank you, and all the wonderful members of CIJR’s Aademic Council and Boards, deeply, and from my heart!

                       

(Baruch Cohen, CIJR’s outstanding Research Chairman for 27 years,                                                               

is also a member of the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Center)

                                                           

Contents                                                                                               

   

"EMERGENCY" COLLOQUIUM ON GAZA WAR; EXPERTS SPEAK OUT                                                     

Doris Strub Epstein                                                                                              

Shalom Toronto, Aug. 13, 2014

 

Hama's best weapon in it's war to destroy Israel, is not rockets or tunnels. It was the pictures of dead civilians, especially children, allegedly targeted by Israel. The truth has been obscured by Palestinian propaganda, allegations of Israeli genocide, moral equivalency reportage. In a colloquium organized by the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, CIJR, to combat the Palestinian propaganda that resulted in Orwellian media bias against Israel, a stellar group of academics gathered Sunday morning at the Lodzer Shul for a colloquium titled, Israel, Hamas and the Third Gazan War.

Professor Aurel Braun pointed out Hamas's successful use of propaganda and control of the media was so coercive, there was no objective reporting. A "pornography of war" he called it. Casualty numbers were inflated and most of them were men of military age. Gaza was an "open air prison", they said. No mention was made of the shopping malls, hotels. luxury homes, hospitals – the over 600 millionaires with their air conditioned bunkers. "If Israel would have targeted civilians the war would have been over in hours," he said. Nor was it reported that Israel provides medical care and food, sending technicians into life threatening situations so that Gazans can continue to have free electricity.

"Cycle of violence", "the ceasefire broke down" – the moral equivalence expressed in reporting the Hamas war is widespread in most publications. including the New York Times. "You can't tell the difference between the fireman and the arsonist," he told the audience. Their propaganda made Israel a Goliath and Palestinians a David in the eyes of the world. "Since when did Israel become Goliath," Prof. Braun retorts, "surrounded by 400 million Arab enemies with untold wealth."

Professor Sally Zerker explains why when given Gaza in 2005, Hamas squandered an opportunity to have a flourishing country and chose instead to create a terrorist infrastructure with goal of killing as many Jews as possible. "The manifestation of genocidal anti-Semitism" Irwin Cotler called it, as expressed in their Charter. Money goes into the leaders' pockets and into building armament arsenals, not into building the economy, she said. "A number of Hamas leaders became extremely wealthy; UNWRA money, donations, taking 20 percent of all goods sold." Unemployment stood at 40 percent; 38 percent lived in poverty.

Their honour as Arab Muslims are shamed by the success of the Jews, dhimmis – inferior even to Christians, who won the 1948 war against Muslims and have a flourishing State on "Muslim" land. "This is impossible for the Arab mentality to accept. The war against the Jews can never end until there is Arab victory." The honour/shame analysis explains why they would sooner die than make peace. "Given their ideology, a continuing war till the Jews are defeated, they are not mad," she said, "they are in the grip of a mad ideology that perpetuates the misery within."

"But it is not Hamas that is the existential threat looming over Israel, it's Iran," said highly regarded journalist Lawrence Solomon. "Netanyahu looks at everything through the prism of Iran and it could happen later this year." He is reluctant to retake the 5000 tunnels – Solomon calls the tunnels Israel's "blind spot" -endanger soldiers – an undertaking that could take years.

He sees the tide turning with public opinion more with Israel as more and more evidence of Hamas's ruthless aggression and brutal treatment of its own people is revealed. One hundred and sixty children died while working on the tunnels. Scores of diggers were killed in recent weeks out of fear they would talk to Israeli security forces. For the first time the moderate Arab world is on its side against Hamas, also to counter Iran.

Both Zerker and Braun decried the lack of leadership from the Jewish community, especially CIJA with its "sha shtil aproach" which doesn't work says Braun. "It's all about exercising our rights as citizens. Israel Apartheid week, which is on 150 campuses now is hate mongering. There is a limit to free speech." "Sha shtill comes from CIJA," declared Zerker. "It's supposed to represent us ,it represents nobody. It's a small group that were never even voted in."

Professor Renan Levine attested to the fallout Jewish students felt from the anti-Israel invective on campuses especially leaving the cocoon of Bathurst St. "Cowardice in leadership," said Prof. Braun. IAW goes unopposed. Even lecturers at the Faculty of Medicine under the guise of health, bash Israel. He was outraged to see a picture in the U of T newspaper during Pink Hijab week, of the President of Hillel posing in a pink hijab. "I don't see them much on campus and when they are they are not effective."

CIJR is an Israel and Middle East focused academic research centre, whose Academic Councils include professors from Canada, the U.S. and Israel. In the coming year they will be presenting Israel Learning Seminars for Torontonians. The seminars aim to counter the delegitimization of Israel and the rising tide of anti-Semitism.

 

No Daily Briefing Will be Published on Wednesday.

Please Join us at the Gelber Centre in Montreal for CIJR’s International Conference and 27th Anniversary Gala. For more information and to register: http://www.israconf.com/ —Ed.

 

 

Contents

                                                                                     

 

On Topic

 

At 95, Baruch Cohen Still a CIJR Stalwart: Janice Arnold, Canadian Jewish News, Nov. 6, 2014—At 95, Baruch Cohen still comes in almost every day to the downtown office of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research (CIJR) and puts in several hours poring over the latest news and opinions on the Middle East and the Jewish world.

Seminar Highly Critical of Iran Deal: David Lazarus, Canadian Jewish News, Nov. 28, 2013 — The United States clearly betrayed Israel in Geneva in signing on to the interim “P5+1” deal with Iran, a country that remains intent on producing nuclear weapons.

The “Other” Israel: Charles Bybelezer, CIJR, Apr. 15, 2015 — In some ways, Israel is indeed what many have been conditioned to see: A conflict zone.

Ryan Bellerose at CIJR (Video): Youtube, Mar. 21, 2015 — Ryan Bellerose discusses the parallels between the indigenous struggles in North America and Israel.

 

 

 

                                                                    

               

 

 

 

                      

                

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Contents:         

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends, and family to visit our website for more information on our ISRANET series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, visit us at http://www.isranet.org/.

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Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284 ; ber@isranet.org

CIJR GALA-CONFERENCE 2015! MAJOR INVESTMENTS BY INTEL & TEVA ILLUSTRATE ISRAEL’S HIGH-TECH AND START-UP LEADERSHIP

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 

 

Contents:

 

APRIL 29TH “ISRAEL’S MIRACLE” CONFERENCE-GALA  PICKS UP STEAM IN FINAL DAYS!! —(Montreal) —The Canadian Institute for Jewish Research’s unique “Israel’s High-Tech Miracle & Canada: Innovation for Humanity” Gala-Conference boasts several dynamic new dimensions making it the “must” event of the season!

 

AT THE UNIQUE DAY-LONG CONFERENCE: Israel’s distinguished Space Agency Director, Isaac Ben-Israel, will kick off the proceedings as A.M. Keynoter, and Rafael Barak, Israel’s Ambassador to Canada, will be our lunch Keynoter. All aspects of high-tech research and applications, from nanotechnology and water to advanced IT and agricultural initiatives, from start-up capital ventures and economic opportunities to the latest military and security innovations, will be illuminated by outstanding specialists and practitioners in panels, round-tables, and exhibits.

 

AT THE EVENING GALA DINNER:  the Mayor of Tel Aviv, Ron Huldai, will kick things off with a cameo appearance, our distinguished Keynote speaker will be the Hon. Ed Fast, Federal Minister of International Trade. Several superb videos will illuminate Israel’s high-tech achievement; CIJR’s founder and President for 27 years, Prof. Frederick Krantz, will be honored, and “Theodor Herzl” will cap off the dynamic evening with a brilliant review of modern Israel’s development and achievements.

 

FOR REGISTRATION and INFORMATION, go to http://www.israconf.com or call 1-855-303-5544/514-486-5544 or e-mail yunna@isranet.org.

 

How Intel Came to be Israel’s Best Tech Friend: David Shamah, Times of Israel, Apr. 23, 2015 — For Intel, the country’s largest single tech employer, a strong relationship with Israel was always in the cards – or rather, in the chips.

Teva’s Deal for Mylan Shows Corporate Israel’s M&A Hunger: Nicholas Casey & Orr Hirschauge, Wall Street Journal, Apr. 21, 2015 — Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. ’s $40 billion offer for Mylan NV marks corporate Israel’s biggest foreign foray and caps years of hand-wringing about the inability of the country to nurture big multinationals, analysts say.

Obama’s Nixon Doctrine: Anointing Iran: Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, Apr. 23, 2015— In December, President Obama said that he wished to see Iran ultimately become a “very successful regional power.”

The Democrats Own Iran: Daniel Henninger, Wall Street Journal, Apr. 22, 2015— The Democrats now own Iran—lock, stock and smoking centrifuges.

 

 

On Topic Links

 

Are You Serious?! Bill Gates Said That About Israel?: Israel Video Network, 2015

Seven Start-Ups From Israel That You May Want To Watch: Giovanni Rodriguez, Forbes, Apr. 14, 2015

Israel’s Drip Irrigation Pioneer Says His Tech Feeds a Billion People: David Shamah, Times of Israel, Apr. 21, 2015

Inside Obama’s Meeting With Jewish Leaders: Lee Smith, Tablet, Apr . 16, 2015

         

                   

HOW INTEL CAME TO BE ISRAEL’S BEST TECH FRIEND                                                            

David Shamah                                                                                                                                        

Times of Israel, Apr. 23, 2015

 

For Intel, the country’s largest single tech employer, a strong relationship with Israel was always in the cards – or rather, in the chips. Although few remember now, nearly fifty years on, it was an Israeli engineer working for Intel in California, Dov Frohman, who in 1972 paved the way for computing as we know it when he invented the EPROM, the ultra-violet light, erasable, read-only memory chip that eventually led to the creation of flash memory.

 

Frohman’s accomplishment, as well as other important Intel Israel milestones, now live again, with the collation of a large number of photographs that lay out the history of the company – from its first Israeli office, opened in 1974 (with Intel hoping to find more Frohmans), until today, when the company has nearly 10,000 workers in half a dozen development centers and fabrication plants around the country. The photos were collated by Intel Israel’s public relations department in honor of Independence Day.

 

Intel’s presence in Israel is set to get even bigger than ever, with the signing of a deal between the company and the Finance Ministry last September. Under the deal, Intel committed to refurbishing its Kiryat Gat chip fabrication plant to produce the company’s newest generation of chips, in return for substantial tax breaks. What would Israeli tech look like without Intel? It’s impossible to know, of course, but chances are the picture would be dramatically different.

 

Speaking at a recent Intel Israel event marking the company’s 40th year in Israel, outgoing Intel Vice-President Mooly Eden cited research conducted by Intel that shows the impact of the company on the Israeli economy. “If Israel is the Start-Up Nation, it’s Intel that had a major role in getting it there,” said Eden, citing a list of a list of hundreds of companies, large and small, that were led by entrepreneurs and developers who got their start at Intel. The study shows that some 10,000 former Intel workers have gone on to help establish 30 new high-tech companies every year – creating 250 new jobs.

 

Intel Israel is also a prolific exporter. “One billion chips can’t be wrong,” Eden said, citing the estimated number of microprocessors and processor components Intel Israel has manufactured at its chip fabrication plants – mostly at its two Kiryat Gat facilities – over the past 40 years. “Intel is Israel’s ‘smart chip.’ We have had 40 great years together and are looking forward to the next 40. For four decades, Intel has spearheaded Israeli high tech, conceiving and developing novel technologies which have placed Israel on the global high tech map and enhancing the strategic leadership of Intel Corporation. The combination of Israel’s capabilities, Intel’s global innovation and ongoing investment in human capital resulted in an unprecedented success story which will continue to unfold in coming years,” said Eden.

 

Five years after it gambled on an Israeli operation, Intel’s investment paid off – big-time – as the team developed the 8088 processor, which was the heart of the IBM PC, the first computer to use Microsoft DOS (Disk Operating System) for an operating system. Because so many were sold, all three parties to the PC – Intel, Microsoft, and IBM – made huge sums of money, but it also cemented at least two of those companies to the future success of what would eventually become Windows-based computing. Only IBM fell behind, as commodity computer manufacturers in the Far East built computers mostly based on the 8088, using a generic copy of DOS instead of PC-DOS, which only the more expensive IBM computers needed. From the 8088 it was a short developmental leap to the creation of the MMX chip (which powered the Pentium II computers), and the MMX’s modern descendants – Banias, Marom, Yonah, Centrino, and Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge, the processors used in most desktop and laptop computers today.

 

After signing a new deal with the government last year, Intel is set to produce its latest generation of chips and processors in Israel. Under the deal, Intel will be making the biggest-ever one-time investment in Israel, spending $6 billion to upgrade its Kiryat Gat plant for the production of next-generation computer chips. In return, Intel will get grants of up to $600 million over the next five years, as well as a major tax break through 2023. More valuable for Intel is likely to be the fact that it will have to pay a corporate tax of only 5% through 2023 (the standard rate of company tax in Israel in 2014 was 26.5%). In return, Intel committed to hiring at least 1,000 new employees, at least half of whom will be residents of communities in southern Israel. In addition, the company promised to spend a total of at least $550 million over the period.

 

While some might point out that Intel is basically committing to spend what it is getting from the government in direct grants, Economics Ministry officials were enthusiastic about the benefits of the deal to the Israeli economy. “This arrangement will have a very positive effect on hundreds of small businesses and suppliers,” said Ziva Eiger, director of investments at the Industrial Cooperation Authority. “Offset agreements such as this are platforms for leveraging public expenditures for the benefit of the Israeli economy, both for training and encouraging further expansion of small suppliers for the local and world market, and to enhance Israel’s brand as an attractive place for foreign investment,” Eiger added. As a result of this agreement, Israelis can look forward to thousands of more jobs being available. It is a model for offset agreements that can provide benefits to all sides.”

 

Besides, said Eden, such deals are very common among countries – like Israel and Ireland, which competed for the new Intel upgrade. “The government here, like governments everywhere, knows how the game is played,” and the jobs that are generated by investments in development centers are well worth it for Israel – especially when it comes to Intel, Eden said in a recent interview. “Over the years Intel has invested $10.8 billion in Israel. Last year, Intel Israel was responsible for more than 9% of Israel’s tech exports, which account for half of overall exports, except for diamonds.”

 

Regardless, the deal is done, said Maxine Fassberg, General Manager of Intel Israel, and for Intel – as well as for Israel – it delineates the beginning of a new era of even greater cooperation between the company and the country. She called it “a clear expression of Intel’s further contribution to Israel’s economy, and to the development of new technology products in Israel, many of which Intel has assisted in.”       

                                                                       

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TEVA’S DEAL FOR MYLAN SHOWS CORPORATE ISRAEL’S M&A HUNGER                                              

Nicholas Casey & Orr Hirschauge                                                                                 

Wall Street Journal, Apr. 21, 2015

 

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. ’s $40 billion offer for Mylan NV marks corporate Israel’s biggest foreign foray and caps years of hand-wringing about the inability of the country to nurture big multinationals, analysts say. Israel, the self-proclaimed “Start-up Nation,” has built a reputation as a hub of tech and biotech companies, quickly assembled and sold to foreign firms looking to grow. Recent success stories have included Annapurna Labs Ltd., sold to Amazon.com Inc., and CyActive Ltd., sold to eBay Inc. ’s PayPal, this year.

 

Less noticed, however, are the public companies in Israel that have been hungry for foreign acquisitions. Teva alone has made more than a dozen deals in recent years, including a $3.5 billion pending deal for U.S.-based Auspex Pharmaceuticals Inc. announced on March 30. “I would say there’s been quite a trend over here in Israel for companies to acquire,” said Jonathan Kreizman, a pharmaceuticals analyst at Clal Finance a nonbank financial group in Israel. Just as Israel’s small size has made it a good incubator for small firms, it means mature companies must go looking abroad for sources of growth, Mr. Kreizman said.

 

Teva’s precursor, a drug wholesaler called Salomon, Levin and Elstein, was founded in Jerusalem in 1901.

It became known as Teva—a Hebrew name meaning “Nature”—in the 1930s not long before the modern state of Israel was established. Teva is a source of pride in Israel today, now the largest company by market capitalization on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and a big employer domestically, with 7,000 employees in Israel and more than 40,000 employees world-wide. “By all parameters Teva is the biggest Israel-based commercial company. It also has a symbolic importance showing that a company that has its headquarters in Israel and most of its research and development done in the country can become a dominant global player in its field,” said Israeli economist Manuel Trajtenberg, a former head of the Israeli National Economic Council, and a current member of the Israeli parliament.

 

Ronny Gal, an analyst at Sanford Bernstein, said recent public offerings could mean that more Israeli companies may follow in Teva’s footsteps. “The fact that many Israeli companies have gone public in the last two years does suggest that more Israeli companies will become acquirers,” he said. Mr. Gal said one problem in the past was that Israel was thin on seasoned managers needed to shepherd acquisitions. But that is changing, he said, “Now you see serious managers in Israel that are much more confident and have much more international experience.”                 

 

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OBAMA’S NIXON DOCTRINE: ANOINTING IRAN                                                                                 

Charles Krauthammer                                                                                       

Washington Post, Apr. 23, 2015

 

In December, President Obama said that he wished to see Iran ultimately become a “very successful regional power.” His wish — a nightmare for the Western-oriented Arab states — is becoming a reality. Consider:

 

Gulf of Aden: Iran sends a flotilla of warships and weapons-carrying freighters to reinforce the rebels in Yemen — a noncontiguous, non-Persian, nonthreatening (to Iran) Arabian state — asserting its new status as regional bully and arbiter. The Obama administration sends an aircraft carrier group, apparently to prevent this gross breach of the U.N. weapons embargo on Yemen. Instead, the administration announces that it has no intention of doing anything. Meanwhile, it exerts pressure on Saudi Arabia to halt its air war over Yemen and agree to negotiate a political settlement involving Iran.

 

Russia: After a five-year suspension, Russia announces the sale of advanced surface-to-air missiles to Iran, which will render its nuclear facilities nearly invulnerable to attack. Obama’s reaction? Criticism, threats, sanctions? No. A pat on the back for Vladimir Putin: “I’m, frankly, surprised that [the embargo] held this long.” Iran: Last week, Obama preemptively caved on the long-standing U.S. condition that there be no immediate sanctions relief in any Iranian nuclear deal. He casually dismissed this red line, declaring that what is really important is whether sanctions can be reimposed if Iran cheats. And it doesn’t stop there. The Wall Street Journal reports that Obama is offering Tehran a $30 billion to $50 billion signing bonus (drawn from frozen Iranian assets) — around 10 percent of Iranian GDP.

 

Syria: After insisting for years that President Bashar al-Assad of Syria “step aside,” the U.S. has adopted a hands-off policy toward a regime described by our own secretary of state as an Iranian puppet. Iraq: Iran’s Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani, director of Shiite militias that killed hundreds of Americans during the Iraq War and were ultimately defeated by the 2007-2008 U.S. surge, operates freely throughout Iraq flaunting his country’s dominance. In March, he was directing the same Iraqi militias, this time against the Islamic State — with the help of U.S. air cover.

 

This is the new Middle East. Its strategic reality is clear to everyone: Iran rising, assisted, astonishingly, by the United States. Obama’s initial Middle East strategy was simply withdrawal. He would enter history as the ultimate peace president, ushering in a new era in which “the tide of war is receding.” The subsequent vacuum having been filled, unfortunately and predictably, by various enemies, adversaries and irredeemables, Obama lighted upon a new idea: We don’t just withdraw, we hand the baton. To Iran. Obama may not even be aware that he is recapitulating the Nixon doctrine, but with a fatal twist. Nixon’s main focus was to get the Vietnamese to take over that war from us. But the doctrine evolved and was generalized to deputize various smaller powers to police their regions on our behalf. In the Persian Gulf, our principal proxy was Iran.

 

The only problem with Obama’s version of the Nixon doctrine is that Iran today is not the Westernized, secular, pro-American regional power it was under the shah. It is radical, clerical, rabidly anti-imperialist, deeply anti-Western. The regime’s ultimate — and openly declared — strategic purpose is to drive the American infidel from the region and either subordinate or annihilate America’s Middle Eastern allies. Which has those allies in an understandable panic. Can an American president really believe that appeasing Iran — territorially, economically, militarily and by conferring nuclear legitimacy — will moderate its behavior and ideology, adherence to which despite all odds is now yielding undreamed of success?

 

Iran went into the nuclear negotiations heavily sanctioned, isolated internationally, hemorrhaging financially — and this was even before the collapse of oil prices. The premise of these talks was that the mullahs would have six months to give up their nuclear program or they would be additionally squeezed with even more devastating sanctions. After 17 months of serial American concessions, the Iranian economy is growing again, its forces and proxies are on the march through the Arab Middle East and it is on the verge of having its nuclear defiance rewarded and legitimized.

 

The Saudis are resisting being broken to Iranian dominance. They have resumed their war in Yemen. They are resisting being forced into Yemen negotiations with Iran, a country that is, in the words of the Saudi ambassador to the U.S., “part of the problem, not part of the solution.” Obama appears undeterred. He’s determined to make his Iran-first inverted Nixon doctrine a reality. Our friends in the region, who for decades have relied on us to protect them from Iran, look on astonished.                                   

                                                           

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THE DEMOCRATS OWN IRAN                                                                                        

Daniel Henninger                                                                                                

Wall Street Journal, Apr. 22, 2015

 

The Democrats now own Iran—lock, stock and smoking centrifuges. It isn’t just the Senate compromise on the Corker bill that made the Iran nuclear deal the party’s exclusive political property. The Democrats own Iran’s entire penetration in the region—Yemen, the Gulf of Aden, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon—pretty much anywhere Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wants to take them. Senate Democrats, attempting a magical illusion on American voters, say the Iran nuclear threat and the Iran terror threat are separate realities. Before the Senate’s recent “compromise” vote on Sen. Bob Corker’s Iran review bill, Delaware Sen. Chris Coons and other Senate Democrats, at the White House’s insistence, said while they abhorred Iran’s support for terrorism, it had to be separated from the historic arms deal.

 

Meanwhile Ayatollah Khamenei, a more unitary thinker, has been surging Iran’s military across the Middle East. With the U.S. on the doorstep of a presidential election, Iran is beginning to look like the Democrats’ Bermuda Triangle. The last time the party’s fortunes went missing in Iran was during what history generally describes as “Jimmy Carter’s hostage crisis.” After the Iranian hostage crisis had ground through the news for nearly a year, with 52 Americans held in Tehran, Mr. Carter’s competence as president became a campaign issue, which naturally Ronald Reagan exploited. Reagan won 489 electoral votes to President Carter’s 49 in 1980. A Who’s Who of famous Senate Democrats got wiped out: George McGovern, Frank Church, Herman Talmadge, Mike Gravel, Birch Bayh, Gaylord Nelson, Warren Magnuson. Let it be noted that the Iran hostage analogy is unfair to Jimmy Carter. Back then, the Iranians grabbed the Americans. This time, the U.S., or at least its president, has grabbed the Iranians and won’t let them go.

 

Until recently, the Democrats at least could argue that because Mr. Obama ended George Bush’s war in Iraq, he immunized them from direct political blame for the region’s troubles. That the decision to reduce the U.S.’s postwar presence in Iraq to zero allowed Islamic State to metastasize unimpeded was a morass they could push off into the ethers of the “hopeless” Middle East. Except that the Democratic president erected a steel cable connecting himself directly to Tehran. This being Barack Obama, history had ordained that only he could take on Planet Iran and persuade its population of fanatic Shiite ayatollahs to change their worldview. In the years since Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini presided over the American hostages, taking down a U.S. presidency, Iran’s Islamic Republic has had just one other Supreme Leader—today’s Ayatollah Khamenei, the man at the other end of the steel cable tethered to the White House.

 

It is now generally understood that completing a major nuclear-arms agreement with Iran was an obsession of Mr. Obama’s from early in his presidency. Up to a point, the Democrats’ normal instincts for self-preservation prevailed. Sufficient numbers of Senate Democrats—Mr. Coons, Bob Menendez, Ben Cardin, Tim Kaine, Chuck Schumer—raised enough questions of substance about the deal to credibly put space between them and a president assembling a major arms-control agreement out of his own head. The risks for Democrats were obvious.

 

But starting about two weeks ago, the Democrats’ Iran hedge collapsed. The compromise on the Corker bill virtually ensures that whatever agreement John Kerry outputs in Switzerland—a deal that increasingly looks built on sand—will pass unimpeded through the Senate. It looks a lot like ObamaCare, with congressional Democrats once again doing a pass-it-to-find-out-what’s-in-it for another Obama legacy. But Saudi Arabia isn’t the American Hospital Association, and Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani isn’t Nancy Pelosi. The religious and military forces in motion in the Middle East now are powerful and volatile. Vladimir Putin’s decision amid all this to ship the sophisticated S-300 air-defense system to Iran was a thunderclap event. The ever-omniscient president dismissed it as no surprise.

 

We assume Barack Obama and John Kerry are telling Senate Democrats that if something blows, they’ll handle it, the way Mr. Obama could command Kathleen Sebelius and HHS to “fix” the ObamaCare glitches. The Iran framework’s fix is the assurance of “snapback” sanctions, a word with no meaning whatsoever. The Senate Democrats’ initial hedge on Iran was smart politics. As was letting New Jersey Democrat Bob Menendez run point for them. Mr. Obama’s implicit charge in January at the Senate’s Maryland retreat that their Jewish donors had too much influence should have convinced them they needed political cover from the president’s overreaching on the nuclear deal.

 

But now the Holder Justice Department has indicted Sen. Menendez into oblivion. And now the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt and the guided missile cruiser USS Normandy are in the Gulf of Aden, cat-and-mousing with an Iranian naval flotilla. The Democrats have no inoculation anymore. The party’s calculation that Hillary Clinton’s candidacy would bring home the presidency and Senate control after defeating vulnerable Republicans has a big fly in the goo: For the next 19 months, Iran is theirs.

 

Contents

                                                                                     

 

On Topic

 

Are You Serious?! Bill Gates Said That About Israel?: Israel Video Network, 2015 —What makes Israel a technological superpower?

Seven Start-Ups From Israel That You May Want To Watch: Giovanni Rodriguez, Forbes, Apr. 14, 2015 —If you’ve been following this column over the past two weeks, no doubt you are wondering, “OK, which start-ups from Israel – Start-up Nation – do you actually like?”

Israel’s Drip Irrigation Pioneer Says His Tech Feeds a Billion People: David Shamah, Times of Israel, Apr. 21, 2015—As the world’s population grows, governments around the world are questioning how the billions of new mouths will be fed.

Inside Obama’s Meeting With Jewish Leaders: Lee Smith, Tablet, Apr . 16, 2015 —Imagine if at the height of Apartheid madness in South Africa, the president of the United States had decided to partner with the racist white regime in Pretoria, lift sanctions, and put that country’s illegal nuclear program on a glide path toward obtaining a nuclear bomb.

 

 

                                                                    

               

 

 

 

                      

                

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Contents:         

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends, and family to visit our website for more information on our ISRANET series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, visit us at http://www.isranet.org/.

The ISRANET Daily Briefing is a service of CIJR. We hope that you find it useful and that you will support it and our pro-Israel educational work by forwarding a minimum $90.00 tax-deductible contribution [please send a cheque or VISA/MasterCard information to CIJR (see cover page for address)]. All donations include a membership-subscription to our respected quarterly ISRAFAX print magazine, which will be mailed to your home.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinions of their authors, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.

 

 

Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284 ; ber@isranet.org

START-UP NATION: 1.0 [BIBLICAL PERIOD], 2.0 [POST-EXILIC], 3.0 [THE MIRACLE OF MODERN ISRAEL]

 

 

THEY TRIED TO KILL US, WE WON,
NOW WE’RE CHANGING THE WORLD
David Horovitz

Jerusalem Post, April 1, 2011

 

To our considerable sorrow here at The Jerusalem Post, our super-smart, relentlessly questioning, insightful editorial writer, Saul Singer, left the paper three years ago to write a book. To the great and still evolving benefit of the State of Israel, that book was Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle.

Along with his New York-based co-author Dan Senor, Jerusalemite Singer set out to answer the question of how our tiny country, all but bereft of natural resources and in the midst of a constant struggle for physical survival, has nonetheless managed to outstrip every other nation on Earth in terms of hi-tech innovation.

The two answered that question with such conviction and flair as to turn their book into a bestseller, with over 100,000 copies in print in its English-language edition and numerous foreign language translations emerging worldwide. So compelling was their diagnosis, moreover, that the book is gradually transforming perceptions of Israel—at least in parts of the global technology world. Start-Up Nation, Singer reports, is being read in some economies as a kind of “how to” manual—as in, how to orient your economy to maximize its talent for innovation, with the Israel experience held up as an exemplar…

[The] capacity for innovation, says Singer, has gradually transformed the Israeli economy over the past three decades, but it has the potential to achieve a great deal more. It is already enabling us to genuinely serve as a “light unto the nations,” Singer argues—saving lives, bettering the world. Tikkun olam in practice.

Among the examples Singer cites here are Shai Agassi’s trailblazing Better Place electric car venture, and the dramatic new approach to teaching being pioneered by Time To Know, revolutionizing the classroom. (It has been widely reported, to give one more telling instance, that Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’s life was saved after she was shot in Arizona in January because the emergency medical team applied a revolutionary elasticized bandage, developed in Israel, that creates pressure to quickly staunch head wounds.)

We now need to more deeply internalize that potential ourselves, Singer says, maintain our cutting edge, and begin building deeper and wider relationships worldwide to further our positive impact.…

just how marvellous is[Israel’s start-up scene] really?

Truly amazing. Israel has the largest number of start-ups per year outside the US of any country. Not per capita. The largest number. Period. We have about 500 a year, and all of Europe has 600-700. Our 7.5 million people compared to that whole continent’s 700 million people.

There is no sentiment involved in the allocation of venture capital to fund startups. It doesn’t care where it goes. Venture capital is looking for “the next big thing”—the next Microsoft or Google. And Israel gets two-and-a-half times as much venture capital per capita as the United States and 30 times as much as Europe. The proportion of our GDP that goes on research and development is 4.8 percent. The OECD average is 2.5%, and the US is about the same. So Israel is far ahead in civilian R&D.

How do you explain the phenomenon. What’s the Israeli start-up secret?

That takes us into the nature of innovation. There’s a difference between ideas and startups. Generally, if you ask, “Why is Israel successful?” the answer you get is that “there are lots of smart people here.” But that’s not really the answer…

[I]t doesn’t just come down to the number of ideas and the number of smart people… There are two other factors: drive and the willingness to take risk. Israel has more of those qualities than other countries.

And why’s that?

We talk about seven or eight reasons in the book. Two of the most important relate to the military and to immigration.

There’s a misconception that the military plays a central role in Israeli start-ups through various IDF hi-tech units and through military R&D. In fact, the main military influence is cultural. So many Israelis go through the IDF, they learn leadership skills, they learn about teamwork, improvisation, sacrifice for a larger goal—these are things you don’t learn in school or in business. It’s a kind of third stage in life.

When people abroad characterize what’s unique about Israeli innovation, you hear the same two terms over and over: maturity and sense of purpose. And both of those come from the military experience. Sense of purpose comes, too, from the fact that Israel itself is a start-up…

For this start-up generation here, it’s not just about making money and finding an exit. It’s motivated by a desire to contribute to the country—21st-century Zionism—and to the world. This is the new form of pioneering. Our grandparents drained the swamps. This—innovation—is what we do…

Were there key players who set this remarkable start-up phenomenon into motion?

Economists talk of “clusters”—environments where one industry develops and snowballs. In Silicon Valley, the “cluster” comprised one key company, Hewlett Packard, a great university, Stanford, and nice weather. That’s what it took. Israel had the classic “cluster” elements. Intel came here. This was its first R&D presence outside the United States.… There were also great pioneering Israeli companies, like Uzia Galil’s Elron, which was founded in 1962. We had great universities. And we, too, had nice weather. That was our cluster.

All that was boosted by the Yozma program of the 1990s, which created a venture capital sector out of nothing. It established a threeway partnership: government funding was provided, local venture capital funds were created and American venture capital funds came in… [W]hat we needed were electrical engineers. Well, for $2,000 per person, we trained [Russian Immigrant] engineers who became worth $200,000. It was a 100-fold return on investment…

Israeli start-ups have transformed adversity of all kinds into a renewable source of creative energy. Look at all the obstacles start-ups here face. They have no sufficiently large local market. They have no ready access to the regional market, because of hostility. Israel is under constant attack, and constant boycott pressure. All these adversities have been turned into assets. And that creative energy has not only been focused on hi-tech innovation. It has also been channeled into social entrepreneurship. Into the arts. Start-ups are just a part of it…

When I moved here 16 years ago, we thought that the dream of being a light unto the nations probably had to wait for peace. We were busy surviving. That challenge is still there. But what we learned writing this book is that the light unto the nations dream is already happening. We are saving lives though medicine—through medical innovation. Better Place is showing the whole world how to get off oil. Almost every technology you look at—computers, cellphones, Internet—has a piece of Israel in it. Almost all of the major technology companies are doing some of their research here. We’re having an impact and it can increase dramatically. There’s tremendous potential for it to grow…

Can this also have a positive impact on the ongoing challenge of survival?

Yes, definitely. The way we currently deal with the threats and challenges of delegitimization, of boycotts, is defensive. But you can’t win by being defensive. “Winning,” with that strategy, is merely moving from negative territory to zero in the best-case scenario. You’re not advancing positive thinking on Israel in that way.…

Our purpose, the Jewish people’s purpose, is not to survive. The purpose of surviving is to have a positive impact. It so happens that innovation, and solving world problems, is the main means by which we have been having a positive impact so far, and it offers potential for even greater impact in the future… This country is being driven, and needs to be more driven, by a creative, world-bettering imperative. I’m convinced that will actually make us more successful in every way, including in the struggle for our survival.

 

THE ECONOMIC CASE FOR SUPPORTING ISRAEL
George Gilder

Wall Street Journal, July 5, 2011

 

America's enemies understand deeply and intuitively that no U.S. goals or resources in the Middle East are remotely as important as Israel. Why don't we?

Israel cruised through the recent global slump with scarcely a down quarter and no deficit or stimulus package. It is steadily increasing its global supremacy, behind only the U.S., in an array of leading-edge technologies. It is the global master of microchip design, network algorithms and medical instruments.

During a period of water crises around the globe, Israel is incontestably the world leader in water recycling and desalinization. During an epoch when all the world's cities, from Seoul to New York, face a threat of terrorist rockets, Israel's newly battle-tested "Iron Dome" provides a unique answer based on original inventions in microchips that radically reduce the weight and cost of the interceptors.

Israel is also making major advances in longer-range missile defense, robotic warfare, and unmanned aerial vehicles that can stay aloft for days. In the face of a global campaign to boycott its goods, and an ever-ascendant shekel, it raised its exports 19.9% in 2010's fourth quarter and 27.3% in the first quarter of 2011.

Israelis supply Intel with many of its advanced microprocessors, from the Pentium and Sandbridge, to the Atom and Centrino. Israeli companies endow Cisco with new core router designs and real-time programmable network processors for its next-generation systems. They supply Apple with robust miniaturized solid state memory systems for its iPhones, iPods and iPads, and Microsoft with critical user interface designs for the OS7 product line and the Kinect gaming motion-sensor interface, the fastest rising consumer electronic product in history.

Vital to the U.S. economy and military capabilities, tiny Israel's unparalleled achievements in industry and intellect have conjured up the familiar anti-Semitic frenzies among all the economically and morally failed societies of the socialist and Islamist Third World, from Iran to Venezuela. They all imagine that by delegitimizing, demoralizing, defeating or even destroying Israel, they could take a major step toward bringing down the entire capitalist West.

To most sophisticated Westerners, the jihadist focus on Israel seems bizarre and counterproductive. But on the centrality of Israel the jihadists have it right.

U.S. policy is crippled by a preoccupation with the claimed grievances of the Palestinians and their supposed right to a state of their own in the West Bank and Gaza. But the Palestinian land could not have supported one-tenth as many Palestinians as it does today without the heroic works of reclamation and agricultural development by Jewish settlers beginning in the 1880s, when Arabs in Palestine numbered a few hundred thousand.

Actions have consequences. When the Palestinian Liberation Organization launched two murderous Intifadas within a little over a decade, responded to withdrawals from southern Lebanon and Gaza by launching thousands of rockets on Israeli towns, spurned every sacrificial offer of "Land for Peace" from Oslo through Camp David, and reversed the huge economic gains fostered in the Palestinian territories between 1967 and 1990, the die was cast.

It's time to move on.

For the U.S., moving on means a sober recognition that Israel is not too large but too small. It boasts a booming economy still absorbing overseas investment and a substantial net inflow of immigrants. Yet it is cramped in a space the size of New Jersey, hemmed in by enemies on three sides, with 60,000 Hezbollah and Hamas rockets at the ready, and Iran lurking with nuclear ambitions and genocidal intent over the horizon.

Clearly, Israel needs every acre it now controls. Still, despite its huge technological advances, its survival continues to rely on peremptory policing of the West Bank, on an ever-advancing shield of antimissile technology, and on the unswerving commitment of the U.S.

But this is no one-way street. At a time of acute recession, debt overhang, suicidal energy policy and venture capitalists who hope to sustain the U.S. economy and defense with Facebook pages and Twitter feeds, U.S. defense and prosperity increasingly depend on the ever-growing economic and technological power of Israel.

If we stand together we can deter or defeat any foe. Failure, however, will doom the U.S. and its allies to a long war against ascendant jihadist barbarians, with demographics and nuclear weapons on their side, and no assurance of victory. We need Israel as much as it needs us.

(Mr. Gilder is a founder of the Discovery Instituteand author of "The Israel Test.")

 

THE MIRACLE THAT IS ISRAEL
Joseph Puder
FrontPage, June 10, 2011

 

At 63, the Jewish State is a relative newcomer to the family of nations, yet in just over two generations it has been able to catch up and exceed the accomplishments of the majority of the older Western democracies in practically every category of human endeavor, not to mention the newer states in Asia and Africa and the Middle East. The eminent British historian Paul Johnson wrote of the Jewish State: “In the last half-century, over 100 completely new independent states have come into existence. Israel is the only one whose creation can fairly be called a miracle.”

Israel is a miracle because the Jewish state was established against all odds. The Jewish people, having just suffered one of the worst catastrophes in its 4000-year history—the Nazi-engineered Holocaust—found the courage to withstand the genocidal onslaught of the well-equipped and numerically superior Arab armies… It was the determination of the Israeli-Jews to fight to the death rather than go like “sheep to the slaughter” that enabled the Yishuv—the term used for the Jewish community in Mandatory Palestine—to triumph over regular armies such as Egypt’s, which used aircraft, tanks, and heavy artillery against the Israelis who lacked such arms. Western allies, including the U.S., embargoed weapon sales to the region, but Egypt and Jordan were already well equipped by the British.

Ironically, had the Palestinian-Arabs accepted the 1947 UN Partition Plan, the Jewish State might have withered away in time, or remained a tiny enclave dependent on the good will of the Arabs.  Paul Johnson put it like this, “It was the Arab leadership, by its obduracy and its ready resort to force, that was responsible for the somewhat enlarged Israel that emerged after the 1949 armistice, and the same mind-set would create the more greatly enlarged Israel that emerged after the Six-Day War of 1967. In another of the paradoxes of history, the frontiers of the state, as they exist today, were as much the doing of the Arabs as of the Jews. If it had been left to the UN, tiny Zion probably could not have survived.”

Arab enemies of Israel and its western detractors, motivated by envy and residual anti-Semitism, harp on Israeli “occupation” and Palestinian rights of “self-determination.” The Arab-Palestinians, unlike the Kurds or the Tibetans, have had numerous opportunities to assert their self determination. They rejected the 1947 UN Partition because they objected to the idea of sharing mandatory Palestine with the Jews and in so doing lost their opportunity for statehood. Their intent was to destroy the nascent Jewish State rather than live side-by-side with it. Unfortunately, not much has changed since 1947, especially when it comes to the mindset of Arab leaders.

The Palestinians, as has been said, never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity… As part of the 1993 Oslo Accords signed at the White House lawn ceremony, Israel agreed to the establishment of a Palestinian state. The Palestinians were, however, obligated to end incitement and violence against Israel, and eliminate the terrorist infrastructure. These obligations have never been met. Yasser Arafat rejected the proposed “end of conflict” at the Camp David Summit in July 2000 submitted by President Clinton and Prime Minister Barak… thinking he would able to destroy Israel with the Intifada he initiated in September 2000.

At 63, Israel has progressed into a world class economy hailed for its technological innovations and medical research, which is saving lives throughout the world. Microsoft chairman Bill Gates remarked on a 2005 visit to Israel that, “Its no exaggeration to say that the kind of innovation going on in Israel is critical to the future of the technology business.” Israel (population 7.7 million) follows the U.S. and China with the most businesses represented on Nasdaq stock market… In 2011, the Jewish state is not only capable of defending its people; it has built an army second to none in innovation, resourcefulness, and moral standards.  With necessity as mother of all inventions, Israel has created what Zeev Jabotinsky, the spiritual father of Prime Minister’s Begin and Netanyahu, called the “Iron Wall” of deterrence in order to fight the existential struggle against its genocidal enemies in the Arab world and Iran.

Despite being vilified by large segments of the world’s media and academia in the Muslim world and the West, facing a hostile UN, and worldwide campaigns of de-legitimization, Israel today possesses a solid foundation for greatness. As professor Bernard Lewis pointed out in a private conversation, “While the Muslim world will sink into insignificance in 30 years, as fossil fuels are replaced with new forms of energy, Israel will remain and grow as a regional power”…

“Israel must have its place among the nations (to borrow the title of a book by its prime minister). But it is not a nation like other nations. Willy-nilly, it is and will continue to be sui generis, its people shaped by the terrible events of our century, and marked by destiny.” [Paul Johnson, Commentary (1998)].

Israel today is indeed a place where its people are flourishing in a prosperous economy, and a free democratic society which its people are ready to defend at all costs.