israeli high-tech 3

Israeli High-Tech, III



injure condense marathon
suspect zoom in surveillance
intense synopsis instrumental (2)
thrive sand dune come down the pike
sensor flip-top shell out
shell Shekel express (2)
scale (3) challenge venture capitalist
edge (2) hardwire prominent
gall (2) prevent be in someone’s face
dare boundary break the rules
rank debate comfort zone
miracle attribute skeptical
roots (2) Talmud Socratic Method
pool (2) innovate entrepreneur
risk diversity correlation
alike advocate the rest is history
unit (2) involved Godfather (3)
proud territory comes with the territory
chance handle (2) pick yourself up
relent navigate return on investment
alumni civilian point of view
sniff track (2) out of place
elite facility intelligence (2)
brain integrate recognition






On April 15 2013, two bombs exploded during the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring 264 others.

For the next three days, investigators reportedly used a high-tech system called Brief Cam to analyze local surveillance videos.

Hours of video are condensed into minutes. And experts can zoom in on suspicious actions — like a backpack being left behind.

Brief Cam’s video synopsis was instrumental in identifying the two bombers.

And the technology was made in Israel.

Jonathan Medved, Israeli Venture Capitalist: “Technology is going to change all of our lives; it already has. And what’s coming down the pike is going to be even more intense.”

Israel has often been called the “start-up nation”. And while Jerusalem may be the spiritual heart of the country, Tel Aviv is the center of its start-up success.

Just a century ago, this thriving city was a little more than a series of sand dunes.

Today, it’s been voted the second-best, high-tech center in the world — just after Silicon Valley. Israel was recently ranked the fourth most innovative nation in the world.

From the iPhone to the Playstation, many of the ideas behind your favorite gadgets came from inventors — right here in Israel.

Flip-top cell phones … keyboards for smart phones … Intel Pentium chips … the ability to print straight from your computer … the flash drive … the chip in the iPad … the OS that runs the Amazon Kindle … the chip that controls the Sony Playstation … and the 3-D sensor in the Xbox Connect.

Every year, American companies are shelling out more and more Shekels to buy small Israeli start-ups.

The latest example is Waves, an Israeli smart-phone app that gives live traffic reports based on your location.

It warns users about traffic jams, accidents — and even sitting police cars.

In 2011, Waves made headlines by helping drivers navigate the LA traffic jam, know as “carmageddon”.

Two years later, Google bought the program for just under a billion dollars, making it the most expensive app in history.

Jonathan Medved, Israeli Venture Capitalist: “I think the key challenge for Israeli companies now is to go from start-up nation to scale-up nation. We need to build bigger companies; not just sell them early to American multinationals, but to actually get them bigger, get them in the sales process, and to create more jobs, both here and in America and around the world.”

So what gives Israel its technological edge?

We asked some of the country’s most prominent business leaders.

And the answer is: there is no single answer.

Jonathan Medved, Israeli Venture Capitalist: “’Chutzpah is perhaps the most definitive Jewish word. Very, very hard to translate: gall … unrelenting daring … It’s the ability to try something which no one else has done before … to say something which is a little bit out of place. To be in someone’s face.

That Chutzpah allows us to actually break the boundaries and to break the rules — and to go out of our comfort zones in order to create new things.

There’s a joke about what’s a Jewish answer? It’s question. In other words, Jews answer a question with a question.”

Dan Senor, Author, Start-Up Nation: “That culture of challenging and debating and arguing; it’s everywhere in Israel.

Arguing is healthy.

Because you get to better answers, you get to better results. And I think that is a key cultural attribute in Israel’s economic success story — and its economic miracle.”

Yossi Vardi, Entrepreneur/Investor: “Our roots, our education maybe its coming from the Talmud, is always being skeptical, in asking questions.”

And I believe this tradition, this culture: it’s a part of our DNA.”

Jonathan Medved, Israeli Venture Capitalist: “Whether you call it the Socratic method, the Talmudic method — you choose it — that’s a big part about how we learn and how we teach our kids.

If you were looking for a single group to make your ideal pool of entrepreneurs, you couldn’t look for a better group than immigrants. Immigrants make great entrepreneurs because they already did it in their own lives.

They were the CEO of They took risks. They moved to a foreign country. They had to handle legal and facilities and HR to get jobs and banking and marketing and they basically had to scale up innovation.

There’s a direct correlation to diversity.

If you all think alike . . . if you all act alike . . . I’m sorry, it’s not going to be a particularly creative place.”

Yossi Vardi, Entrepreneur/Investor: “In Jewish life, parents always advocated to the kids that he has to learn and also he has to venture if he wants to succeed. I always say the secret source of Israeli high-tech is the Jewish mother, who asks her son at the age of 7: ‘After all that we have done for you, is asking a Nobel Prize from you too much’?”

Yossi Vardi is know as the Godfather of Israel’s high-tech industry. He’s invested in more than 80 internet start-ups, including a company started by his son.

Yossi Vardi, Entrepreneur/Investor: “He came with three of his friends. I gave him the money; I didn’t have much of an idea what they were going to do. But still I gave them the money.

They created this unbelievable product.

And the rest is history, as they say.”

That unbelievable product was ICQ, the world’s first instant messaging service.

Less than a year later, American Online bought the company for $400 million.

Yossi Vardi, Entrepreneur/Investor: “Well we have to do is extract the DNA of success.

You have to understand, if you venture, you cannot only do successes because if you are trying to be involved in an area of only successes, you are not taking risks.

So failure comes with the territory.

Jonathan Medved, Israeli Venture Capitalist: “Failure is not a four-letter word, the last time I looked. Failure is part of the process; not every team wins every game. But you’ve got to try, and if you fail, you’ve got to learn from your mistakes, and then pick yourself up and do it right again.”

Dan Senor, Author, Start-Up Nation: “Are the failure rates in Israel lower than the rest of the world?

And they’re not.

Israelis don’t fail any less — the difference is that they keep trying.”

Jonathan Medved, Israeli Venture Capitalist: “People don’t understand for example if you’re given a choice of investing in two entrepreneurs: one who has actually never tried it before; one who’s tried and failed.

Always take the guy who’s tried and failed. Your statistical odds of getting a return on investment are far better with that person.”

If you’re looking for the next generation of high-tech success stories in Israel, you won’t find them in business schools.

In most job interviews here, the big question isn’t where you went to college, but where you served in the military.

Jonathan Medved, Israeli Venture Capitalist: “When I get a resume, the first thing that I look at is ‘What did this kid do in the army?’ — I don’t look at the university . . . I look at the army unit, because that’s going to tell me a lot about who that person is.”

Dan Senor, Author, Start-Up Nation: “In Israel, almost every single individual serves in the military. Almost every Israeli is put through this training, in how to lead … how to manage … how to make very difficult decisions … with very little information — under enormous pressure.

And these skills hardwire young people for — being entrepreneurs . . . and launching and running or helping to run start-ups.

Major General Aharon Ze’evi Farkash, CEO, EST21: “We give a chance for every soldier to express himself and to say what he really believes without punishing him because he is of a lower rank.

So I have to tell you that sometimes listening to these officers, they come up with a lot of stupid ideas, in my point of view, 40, 50, 60 percent — but 20, 30, 40 percent are wonderful ideas.”

Once they are out of the army, soldiers take the same skills they learned tracking terrorists — and use them for making life safer for civilians.

Israelis have developed everything from bomb sniffing mice to software that prevents identify theft to a scanner that lets you keep your shoes on during security checks at the airport.

Many Israeli IT companies are founded by alumni of an elite military intelligence unit known as 8200, a highly secretive group that specializes in cyber-warfare.

Unit 8200 is believed to be the brains behind the Stucksnet Virus that targeted Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Major General Aharon Ze’evi Farkash, CEO, EST21: “In my company, in the R&D team, 80% of the engineers are coming from unit 8200.”

Major General Aharon Farkash was the commander of Unit 8200 for four years. And when he retired from the army, he used that experience to help design a security system known as Saferran, a virtual doorman that uses both voice and facial recognition to protect offices and apartment buildings.

Israelis are proud to say that many of their high-tech ideas come from their experience in the army, an idea that some say could also benefit American companies.

Dan Senor, Author, Start-Up Nation: “American businesses have a lot to learn about how Israel has integrated their military people, when they’re taken out of the military, into the economy.”

Jonathan Medved, Israeli Venture Capitalist: “It’s really going to be part of everybody’s culture. And certainly the heroes who are coming back to America from Iraq and Afghanistan, they need to be the first guys to get the jobs because they have actually taken leadership and led. And they’re the kind of people you want to hire.”

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1. How did investigators find the bombing suspects?

2. Israel is one of the most innovative places in the world. Yes or no?

3. Name some examples of innovations, inventions or developments from Israel.

4. What is the main challenge for Israeli technology? Which is the usual or more common development in Israel, inventing and developing a product or copying and manufacturing a product?

5. Define “chutzpah”. What does “chutzpah” mean? What are it’s features?

6. What is a “Jewish answer”? Are Jews conformist, static and conservative regarding business, science, economics, technology and philosophy?

7. According to the venture capitalist, is immigration and multiculturalism good? Why does he think it’s good?

8. Israelis fail less and succeed more than other nations. Is this correct or wrong?

9. Are Israeli managers very concerned about a candidate or applicant’s university education? Israeli companies and businesses give former solders lots of opportunities and listens to them. True or false?

A. What are some examples of high-tech products developed in your country?

B. Does your country trade or do business with Israel?

C. Do people argue, challenge, debate and ask questions in your city?

D. The military often stimulates innovation and technological development. What do you think?

E. All young men (and women) should serve in the military. Do you agree?

F. Is your country try to (further) promote, develop or increase it high-tech industry? How can high-technology be further promoted and developed?


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