Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

Is Israel At Risk Of Losing Its ‘Startup Nation’ Title?

Some experts are warning that Israel may lose its prized ‘Startup Nation’ title if important changes aren’t implemented.

By: Rachel Dinh & Maya Yarowsky, NoCamels

Published: June 18th, 2014 in Business » Israel

The term “Startup Nation” has become synonymous with Israel, and rightly so, as the country has a startup for every 1,800 people and never stops to stun the world with revolutionary breakthroughs. However, almost five years after the release of the book “Start-up Nation”, the gripping account of Israel’s unprecedented economic success, some experts are warning the country may lose its prized title, unless important changes are implemented.

Just last week at the annual Herzliya Conference in Israel, a giant assembly of all the movers and shakers in the Israeli government, one of the panels wasn’t addressing the usual national and foreign policy issues. As Shai Agassi, the founder of the world’s foremost, but failed battery-powered car company Better Place, sat next to Yanki Margalit, Chairman of the highly anticipated SpaceIL project to the moon, a discussion on the future of the Startup Nation quickly went sour. The usual positive outlook and atmosphere of encouragement that is felt when the tech moguls get together took on a darker shade as both Agassi and Margalit began to ominously outline their fears for Israel’s tech scene.

The trappings of a socioeconomic bubble

As Margalit put his frustrated concern into words, “We have turned into dismantled tribes with enormous social and economic gaps. The Israeli ethos that built a tribal society around one bonfire has fallen apart, and unless we change things, we cannot maintain our high tech society.” Although Margalit is referring to the rifts between the upper and lower socioeconomic classes of Israeli society, the latter bitter with the former’s refusal to recognize the economic disparities that make it difficult to round out the month, his projection on the economic effects of this societal reality may indeed be true. As the baby boomer generation of the world attempts and succeeds at adjusting itself to the dynamic and Internet-driven nature of the modern workforce, Israel is still missing a good portion of its workforce, which may be the reason that large companies aren’t popping up here.

And Margalit isn’t the only one who is worried. In an interview with “Al-Monitor” on the eve of Israel’s 66th birthday, economist Professor Dan Ben-David warns that the Startup Nation’s success could be toppled by troubled socioeconomic policies: “When I deal with the socioeconomic aspect of Israel, I have the feeling that we’re letting the country slip through our fingers. It’s ironic. On the one hand, this really is the ‘startup nation.’ We are on the forefront of developments in high-tech and medicine. At the same time, however, there is another country here. What we have, in effect, is two countries.” The effect of what Ben-David calls having “two countries” is that while one of the countries perpetuates itself on the fruits of high tech and innovation, the other stands idly by, putting Israel at the bottom of OECD productivity ratings in the developed world.

This article was first published on NoCamels – Israeli Innovation News and was re-posted with permission. To continue reading this article on the site, click here.

Israel Promoting Tech Education in Schools TrendingSpongeBob Squarepants Restaurant Opening in West Bank SpongeBob Squarepants Restaurant Opening in West Bank Trending Startup Club: NowForce Trending
 

Ten Notable Jewish Sports Owners

June 27, 2014 | By Caitlin Marceau

From Cohen to Kraft, we look at some of the most respected proprietors of sports franchises

Read More

Lena Dunham and Billy Eichner Tease Shia LaBeouf After Arrest

June 27, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Lena Dunham and Billy Eichner Tease Shia LaBeouf After Arrest

The ‘Girls’ star and ‘Funny or Die’ comedian took to twitter to make fun of LaBeouf’s ‘Cabaret’ arrest.

Read More

Mila Kunis To Give Birth in Kabbalah Water?

June 27, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Mila Kunis To Give Birth in Kabbalah Water?

New reports indicate that the actress has become more spiritual since she become pregnant

Read More

Shia LaBeouf Charged With Disorderly Conduct and Criminal Trespass in Theater Incident

June 27, 2014 | By Sarah Bauder
Shia LaBeouf Charged With Disorderly Conduct and Criminal Trespass in Theater Incident

The embattled 28-year-old actor was released from police custody on Friday.

Read More

Erik Lorig: The Versatile Star Of The NFL

June 27, 2014 | By Shalomlife Team
Erik Lorig: The Versatile Star Of The NFL

This Jewish football star was picked up as free agent by the New Orleans Saints in March.

Read More

Prayer and Unity: The Quintessentially Jewish Response to a Kidnapping

June 27, 2014 | By Deborah Fineblum
Prayer and Unity: The Quintessentially Jewish Response to a Kidnapping

For most Israelis, personally redeeming the three abducted teens is a distant dream. Instead, they support the boys and their families with an unofficial formula of prayer and unity.

Read More

Israel Promoting Tech Education in Schools

June 27, 2014 | By Shaleni McBain
Israel Promoting Tech Education in Schools

Intel executives argue that students need to take more math and science classes for the Startup Nation to continue to thrive

Read More

Judges Love Standup, Rabbis Not So Much [VIDEO]

June 27, 2014 | By Graham Sigurdson
Judges Love Standup, Rabbis Not So Much [VIDEO]

12-year-old Josh Orlian provided much entertainment for the America’s Got Talent judges, but to the dismay of his yeshiva

Read More

More Headlines