The state of Israel is located in the Middle East surrounded by Lebanon in the north, Syria in the north-east, Jordan in the east and Egypt in the south. The western border of Israel is the Mediterranean Sea. Christians, Jews and Muslims call Israel the Holy Land. Geographically tiny, the country’s social, historical, economic and geographical matrix represents a singular association of contrasting attributes unique among the world’s nations and cultures. Snow covered mountains and tropical sea resorts, technology hotbeds and Byzantine churches, socialist-style settlements and free market corporations, Ethiopian traditions and Polish cuisines, Beemers and camels all exist together in a bustling, hyper-energetic, egalitarian, extroverted and impassioned caldron a mere 262 miles long and, in some areas, 10 miles wide.
Since the early 1990’s technology has become the hallmark of Israel’s economic leadership and prowess. The desire to transform a mostly barren land into a modern state was a key factor in Israel's early technological development. Today, the percentage of Israelis engaged in scientific and technological investigation, and the amount spent on research and development (R&D) in relation to its GDP, are among the highest in the world. Israel’s astonishing degree of global technological leadership is reflected in the following statistical data:
77% of Israel’s workforce has secondary education (2nd in the world). 24% of Israel’s workforce has academic degrees (3rd in the world). 12% of Israel’s workforce has advanced degrees. Israel has the highest per capita concentration of engineers in the world (135 per 10,000). Israel is the 3rd largest patents per capita producing country (2.04 per 10,000). Israel is the 1st largest producer of published scientific papers per capita (109 per 10,000). 359 Israeli companies were acquired for an aggregate $31.1 Billion since 1996. 170 Israeli companies raised $15.9 Billion in Initial Public Offerings since 1995. Israel ranks third in the amount of NASDAQ listed companies after the US and Canada.
Beyond mere statistics, Israel has become a cradle from which evolved many of the tech products that drive modern life. Quick investigations into the origins of many ubiquitous technologies reveal roots in Israel’s R&D hotbeds. Early PC microprocessors were first designed in Israel and still carry Hebrew code names such as Banias, Yonah, and Merom. Four years before the World Wide Web became a household tool, an Israeli company developed the Internet Chameleon browser. Internet telephony was pioneered by VocalTec. Instant Messaging was born in Israel as ICQ. Teva is the world’s leading generic drug company. Drip irrigation and Cherry Tomatoes are products of the country’s copious Ag R&D.
Global consumer product manufacturers, retailers, food chains, industrial corporations, and service providers have established local Israeli operations as a vehicle for commercial expansion in the Near East. Tapping Israel’s highly professional workforce, robust economy, thriving consumer markets, and dynamic commercial environment, these companies have successfully initiated independent operations or joint ventures with local Israeli partners. Israel’s Free-Trade agreements with both the EU and the US position the country as a major trade partner with most Western Hemisphere nations. The country’s technology industry has facilitated robust commercial relationships with India and China and the large eastern block immigration has contributed to extensive economic dependencies between Israel, Russia and most former Soviet Union nations.
Udi Dror |