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1. The growing interest, by global hightech companies, in Israeli technologies, is represented by the Pennsylvania-based Qlik, acquiring Israel’s data-integration Attunity for $560MN (Globes Business Daily, February 25, 2019). In January, 2019, Thoma Bravo private equity, which owns Qlik, acquired Israel’s cybersecurity Imperva for $2.1BN.

2. The Silicon Valley-based global cybersecurity leader, Palo Alto networks, acquired Israel’s automated security solutions, Demisto, for $560MN (Tech Crunch, February 19).  In April, 2018, Palo Alto acquired Israel’s endpoint detection and response, Secdo, for $100MN.

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3. Google acquired Israel’s cloud migration, Alooma, for $100MN.  In January, 2019, Amazon acquired Israel’s Cloud Endure for $250MN (Globes, February 21).

4. Intel (which employs 13,000 Israelis, exporting $4BN from Israel) intends to invest $11BN in constructing a new fab in Israel – in addition to last year’s investment of $5BN – asking Israel for a 10% grant (Globes, January 29).

5. According to Bloomberg, February 12, 2019, “big carmakers are flocking Israel… dealing not with sales, but with research and development…. Volkswagen, Renault, Hundai, Skoda and Seat are a few of the companies that have opened such innovation centers… investing and collaborating with local startups…. Only two international carmakers have full-fledged R&D centers in Israel: General Motors (since 2008; 300 employees) and Daimlers, the parent company of Mercedes (since 2018)…. The user interface installed in the Bolt, Chevrolet’s electric car, and in many late-model Cadillacs was developed in Israel… which is a center for smart transportation…. Israeli startup entrepreneurs come with experience from the Israel Defense Forces hightech units….”

6. The Jerusalem-based JVP (Jerusalem Venture Partners) raised its 9th venture capital fund – $220MN – bringing the total of JVP’s funds to over $1.3BN. The Chinese electronic conglomerate, Ali Baba, and the French investment bank, Bpi France, are among the investors, 38% of whom are Europeans, 35% from the USA and 25% from Asia (Globes, February 21).

7. The South Korean giant Samsung invests a few tens of millions of dollars in Israel’s data-management (cloud infrastructure) Iguazio (Globes, March 7).

8. Israel’s in-memory data structure store, Yedis Labs, raised $60MN from Francisco Partners, Goldman Sachs Private Capital Investing, Bain Capital Ventures, Viola Ventures and Dell Technologies. Israel’s payment protection nsKnox, raised $15MN from Microsoft, Viola, etc. (Globes, Feb. 20).

9. The Omaha-based irrigation giant, Valmont, concluded a strategic agreement with Israel’s Prospera, which has developed a ground-breaking autonomous irrigation, spraying and fertilizing system.  Recent investors in Prospera: Cisco, Qualcomm Ventures and Bessemer Venture Partners (Globes, February 22).

10. Israel’s foreign exchange reserves surged from $10BN in 1995 to $69BN in 2010 and $118BN in February, 2019, reflecting the robust state of Israel’s economy, and its capabilities to withstand national security emergencies. Standard & Poor’s credit rating for Israel stands at AA- with stable outlook, compared to A in October 2008.  Moody’s credit rating for Israel is A1 with positive outlook, compared to A2 in March 2008. Fitch credit rating for Israel is A+ with stable outlook, compared to A- in December 2006.

11. The integration of Israel’s ultra-orthodox community in the hightech sector is expanding (still in the initial stage).  The two-year-old Bizmax project, initiated by the Haredi Professional Development Foundation, the Jerusalem Development Foundation and the Achim Global Loan Fund assists the growth of some 100 ultra-orthodox entrepreneurs – who have developed a promising product/technology – introducing them to potential investors and partners. Amazon, Google, Jerusalem Venture Partners, General Motors, Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, KPMG, Fiverr and Israel Advanced Technology Industries participate in the Bizmax project.     “Someone who studies Talmud in-depth has an advantage in artificial intelligence. A Talmud student learns how to interpret something simultaneously from several angles, which possess advantages and disadvantages. The Talmud-generated ability to think creatively is a very positive trait for an entrepreneur.” (Globes, March 4).

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Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger is consultant to Israel’s Cabinet members and Israeli legislators, and lecturer in the U.S., Canada and Israel on Israel’s unique contributions to American interests, the foundations of U.S.-Israel relations, the Iranian threat, and Jewish-Arab issues.
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