SIGNAL Note 37

2017 High Tech Review

Israel has become synonymous with technological and scientific innovation. This is the result of an effective public-private collaboration during Israel’s almost 7 decade modern history.

The philosophies of its founding fathers, pragmatic policies of consecutive governments, and diverse thinking of generations of high-tech visionaries have been central to shaping the Innovation Nation. As a direct result of the synergy between policies, strategic thinking and action orientation, the Jewish State has championed its vision of national sustainability through R&D and the application of innovation technology.

As the previous chapters of the ‘Israeli Innovation Series’ in this SIGNAL Note have illustrated, the combination of broad government support for science and math at the university level along with a multi-cultural population eager to protect their homeland, have formed a dynamic high-tech ecosystem. Dubbed Silicon Wadi, the Hebrew term for small valley, the nucleus of scientific R&D has formed an essential element of the Israeli economy indispensable to the Nations growth.1 2017 saw many Israeli Startups achieve excellence, either through IPO’s or significant international acquisitions- generating global media attention, tax revenues for the state, and further commitment to ensuring the Holy Land remains an easily accessible tech hub for the international market.

  1. 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.

SIGNAL Note 36

Israeli Technology in the Global Market

Israeli technological innovations have permeated most aspects of modern society. From the way we communicate, feed billions of people, and build a comprehensive visual and digital understanding of the world around us, Israeli discoveries and R&D have played a critical, often unsung role in improving the lives of countless individuals worldwide. Israeli technological breakthroughs have benefited global populations in the developing and developed world. From microchips of cellphones and drip irrigation to satellite innovation and biomedical advancements such as the stent and countless new aggressive cancer therapies, Israeli technology is ever present and essential. Through these diverse and game changing innovations the Jewish State has been irrevocably linked with scientific, engineering, and agricultural advancements.

From the establishment of the modern State of Israel, the national financial backing for R&D has been unmatched, amounting to 4.25% of total GDP. Since the founding of the State, government policy has encouraged and supported science and innovation. This focus emanated from deeply seated views of preeminent Zionist leaders from Theodore Herzl, David Ben Gurion and Gold Meir. They placed central importance on Israel contributing to the perpetual development of the region and the world through scientific and technological innovation. Consequently, Israel became a hub of global brands such as IBM, Intel and Google where Israeli ideas are cultivated for global gains. From Mobileye’s recent $15 billion acquisition (by Intel) to the over 250 internationally affiliated R&D centers based in Israel, the Jewish State has become a global tech epicenter.

SIGNAL Note 35

Innovation for each New Era – How the Israeli Gov’t turned the desert into the Startup Nation by creating a domestic Innovation Hub

Israel was established by a people’s army. That set the stage for the ongoing integration between civil and military development in the State of Israel.

Creating a sustainable innovation ecosystem requires the active participation of both public and private partners. Both the people and state of Israel honed this partnership through collective historical hardships and ongoing conflict that engendered the necessary resilience to counter adversity and generate strategic shifts in its favor. Contributing to this was the ever-present existential threats posed by its neighbors. However, overcoming adversity was only one of the necessary components of building an innovation powerhouse. Without vision and a malleable policy dictated by the government, Israel would have been unable to make the desert bloom. From the difficult realizations of Zionism’s early founders to the coherent policy of the Jewish State, Israel has taken top-down steps to facilitate high tech innovation. Consequently, the young State of Israel revolutionized the means of agricultural production, established domestic water security, and developed ubiquitous technical solutions to countless global problems.

Taking an historic look at the role of the Israeli government in promoting domestic innovation reveals the value of a top-down approach as a catalyst in creating a strong tech sector. In turn, the means of improving Israel’s political and geostrategic standing were cultivated through an innovation-based policy. The % of GDP directed towards R&D as well as the programming of the office of the Chief Scientist and the Israeli Innovation Authority were pivotal to the development of a vibrant startup ecosystem.

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