israeli high tech 2

Israeli High-Tech, 2



rival  venture to lay claim
vast conflict antiquity
claim worship contemporary
gadget start-up venture capitalist
holy  edge (2) Holy Land
allow invent progression
elite define conscription
smooth gesture considerably
mature to found compulsory
lack resource challenging
fund desperate human capital
radical charge (2) per head
swap long-haul concentration
boffin predict headquarters
 influx tendency strategic
mecca obvious long-haul
haul unique combination
factor emulate attitude




Now think of the world’s great high-tech rivals: California’s Silicon Valley, you might come up with India, perhaps China — even Britain.

But now Israel is laying claim to being the new Silicon Valley, spending vast amounts of money on research and development, and trying it build its economy around a high-tech future.

The traditional image of Israel is one of antiquity, religion — and conflict.

But contemporary visitors to Israel are equally likely to come to the beaches.

For venture capitalists though, there’s more attractive things to look at than just the sun-worshipers.

Israel is home to thousands of tech start-ups and many of the web-tools and gadgets we use everyday were born in this tiny state.

So how has the Holy Land turned itself into the mecca for technology?

Forty percent of Israel’s exports are high-tech: memory sticks, online chat and the first anti-virus software were all invented here.

Just like the technology that allows you to control computer games and your television through hand-gestures which is now redefining the games industry, thanks to being in millions of homes via the Microsoft Xbox Connect, technology invented by a tiny Israeli start-up whose founders met while serving in an elite technology unit of the Israeli Army.

The military receives over $3 billion in aid from the US government.

Iris Sinai, Director of Tech Company: “Many of the Israeli start-ups that you see today are populated by people who came from these types of units. So it’s a very smooth progression from the army to create some kind of start-up with things you can do with what you have learned.”

Compulsory conscription for all Israelis takes place at 18, meaning that students go to university considerably later than their foreign counterparts.

Professor Jacob Kleftes: “Students who arrive here are more mature because of the army. They don’t accept everything they hear.

So this whole dialog of learning something, challenging, trying to find another solution is part of this whole culture of ‘let’s find something new’.”

Entrepreneur: “The only resource we can build on is human capital because we don’t have all those other resources.”

One resource that Israel lacks is oil.

And it desperately wants energy independence from its oil-rich neighbors.

So one well-funded start-up called Better Place, has come up with a radical rethink of the way that electric cars are run.

Until now the biggest problem has been the battery.

They’re expensive and take hours to charge.

Israelis would be able to buy an electric car like this, but rent the battery, and pay for its use, just like you pay for petrol.

And if you don’t have time to wait for the battery to charge, you’ll be able to go to a swapping station and exchange your empty battery for a full one — in minutes.

This high-tech growth is being fueled by a massive influx of venture capital funds.

Per head of population, Israel attracts 20 times more venture capital money than Europe putting start-ups like social satellite navigation App Ways. As well as one of Israel’s fasting growing companies, it’s just raised $40 million in venture capital.

Venture Capitalist: “There was one guy who actually had an idea, developed in his garage and started his service. If you bring the right idea and the right entrepreneurs’ experience, it’s quite easy to get a start in Israel.”

The country has the highest concentration of scientists and engineers in the world.

Four percent of jobs are for websites like Google which has its second largest team of developers in Israel. Here at Google’s Tel Aviv headquarters, more than 200 boffins are working on technology that we use day-in and day-out.

For example, this system that predicts what you’re searching for as you start to type letters into Google was invented right here.

But there’s a growing tendency for start-ups to sell out to multinational companies like Google, rather than sit-in for the long haul and become the next Facebook.

Meis Reaod, Chief Executive of a Start-Up: “There is a growing concern in Israel that we’re not creating enough of these large companies, though it’s obvious that we have an edge when it comes to thinking out of the box, and thinking creatively, maybe we lack some skills when it comes to planning long-term, thinking strategically, being able to look far out into the future.”

The British government is pumping millions into the growth of the UK tech industry with the hope of rivaling the start-up culture of both Israel and Silicon Valley.

But Israel’s success has been a unique combination of factors: a can do attitude brought on by a lack of natural resources and the spill over effect of a highly militarized state, which won’t be easy for other countries to emulate.

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1. What places do most people associate with high-tech centers? What do people associate with Israel?

2. Is high-tech a big part of Israel’s economy? What are some examples of Israeli inventions or developments?

3. There is a connection between Israel’s innovations and it’s military. Is this correct or wrong?

4. Israel is endowed with abundant natural resources. True or false? What example does the video give about the lack of oil or petrol?

5. Does Israel have many scientists and engineers and attracts lots of venture capital?

6. What are Israel’s strengths and weaknesses in high-technology?


A. Is there lots of high-tech industries in your country? Is there a “Silicon Valley”?

B. Does your country have lots of, a medium amount or few natural resources?

C. How can your city or country develop its own “Silicon Valley”?


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