Israeli innovation

Innovation in Israel



NASDAQ contribute relative (2)
brains integrity stand out
arid boycott entrepreneur
miracle innovate wasteland
pioneer scratch foundation
wave take a risk build from scratch
unique willing distinguish
pursue challenge conventional
intense penchant challenge
factor R and D essential
albeit improvise cutting edge
Zionism immersion assimilation
wave insure participate
nano irrigation hand-in-hand
yearn influx remarkable






“Israel is, by many measures the country relative to its population, that’s done the most to contribute to the technology revolution.” Bill Gates, former chairman, Microsoft Corp.

“When you look at the NASDAQ, companies are listed around the world. There is one country that stands out…and that is Israel.”

“You go to the Middle East looking for oil, you don’t need to stop in Israel. But if you’re looking for brains, for energy, for integrity, it’s the only stop you need to make.” Warren Buffet, Chairman, Berkshire Hathaway Incorporated.

For over sixty years, Israel has been at war, the target of terrorist attacks and boycotted by many of her neighbors.

Yet somehow, during this same time, she has built a nation, transformed an arid wasteland into an agricultural miracle, and evolved into one of the most technologically innovative countries in the world.

How did a nation of seven million manage this transformation?

Meir Brand manages Google’s Israel operation.

“The foundation of Israel itself could be seen as an entrepreneurial project. The pioneers who came to build Israel from scratch are real entrepreneurs who took a huge risk. The place didn’t have much natural resources and there are a lot of threats from the outside.

And they had a great division in building a successful country, which means from the foundation of this country, people were already experienced in risk taking.”

As president of one of Israel’s premier research institutions, the Weizmann Institute of Science, Danial Zajfman this part of the explanation is deeply embedded in Jewish culture.

“We are allowed to ask questions. We are allowed to discuss it. This is unique in fact in the Jewish religion.”

A willingness to challenge conventional wisdom distinguishes Israel’s approach to science.

“For many scientists, what is on paper that has been published, must be the truth. For Israeli scientists, what has been published is something one still questions and maybe pursued further.

“Israel has this intense penchant for constantly questioning and debating and challenging which is essential for any innovation-based economy,” says Dan Senor, an analyst.

Dan Senor is author of Start Up Nation, Israel’s economic miracle.

Some of the factors that have been key to Israel’s success: the role of the military. Almost every Israeli goes through leadership experience. They are taught at age 18, 19, 20 years old what it means to lead, what it means to improvise, what it means to entrepreneurial, albeit out in the battlefield.

Civilian R&D (research and development). Israel spends the highest compared to any country in the world on R&D.

Israel has cutting edge policies on immigration and assimilation. There are over 70 nationalities represented in Israel.”

The rapid integration of these immigrants through intensive language immersion program has insured that they participate in Israel’s innovation.

“If you look at the Soviet wave of immigration, 750,000. Tens of thousands of those had these remarkable degrees in mathematics, in science. It was just a huge influx of technological talent,” says Senor.

This talent has fueled more start ups anywhere outside Silicon Valley, bringing the world’s leading corporations to Israel for their top R&D talent. And this economic engine has in turn, strengthened the young nation.

“If you describe Zionism as having a strong, prosperous state in Israel, obviously the high-tech sector goes hand-in-hand with that,” says Meir.

But Israel isn’t innovating for its own ends.

“A lot of innovation what comes out of Israel changes lives of people all over the world. Our time when we could export oranges is basically gone. If you look at what we can really do here and what we can export, it’s basically knowledge,” explains Zajfman.

“Whether it’s in irrigation and saving water, smart use of energy, nano-technology, green technology.”

“The world has a lot to learn from Israel, especially at a time when there is so much yearning for an innovation-based economic strategy.”

“For me Zionism is not only about the prosperity of the Jewish people of Israel, but also Jewish people bringing more prosperity to the world.”


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1. Only Israelis think they have high-tech industries. Yes or no?

2. Does Israel have lots of disadvantages?

3. Israel has had a pioneering spirit. True or false?

4. How does Judaism differ from other religions?

5. Does the military contribute to innovation and high-tech enterprises?

6. Immigration has boosted Israel’s economy. Is this correct or wrong?

7. Can Israel and Silicon Valley be compared? Are they isolated from each other?

8. Is Israeli technology and innovation focused only on electronic devices?

9. According to the report, the whole world has benefited from Israeli innovation. Yes or no?
A. Are you from Israel? Do you live in Israel? Have you been to Israel? Have you met anyone from Israel?

B. Does your country trade, invest, or have joint-ventures, or have partnerships and collaboration with Israel? Who does your country trade and do business with?

C. Does you country have a “Silicon Valley” or high-tech center?

D. Is there a relationship or connection between your country’s military and the high-tech sector?

E. How could your city or country increase or improve its high-tech industry?

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