Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday met with Oracle CEO Safra Catz. They discussed expanding Oracle’s activity and increasing its investments in Israel, as well as the opportunities and development of artificial intelligence.
Let’s pause for a moment.
On December 28, 2022, the losing temporary prime minister Yair Lapid told the Calcalist and Phoenix forecasting conference: “My prediction for 2023 is that it will be very bad. It will be bad because three factors will negatively affect the Israeli economy: a sector that’s not working, Israel’s international standing, and the state of our social cohesiveness.”
Since then, Lapid et al have done a lot to make things much worse in Israel: they’ve been attacking the “sector that doesn’t work,” a code for Haredim, using the kind of antisemitic language that would make George Lincoln Rockwell blush; they’ve pleaded with international investors to stay away from Israel, and talked some credit rating agencies into downgrading Israel’s status, and they spread livid hatred in Israeli society, in an attempt to destroy even the appearance of social cohesiveness.
This worked very well with the enemies of Israel, who were only too happy to add these useful idiots to their ranks (J Street just endorsed a US-Iran deal that would release billions of dollars to the Islamic Republic). But in the area of economics, Israel continues to enjoy the support of level-headed business people who make their decisions based on facts and figures. As a result, investments in Israel are rising: this week we reported on JP Morgan and HSBC who are looking to cash in on Israeli hi-tech companies, and Intel, which is planning to invest $25 billion in its biggest plant ever, in Kiryat Gat.
Meanwhile, Israel is selling its Arrow 3 system to Germany and soon to every European country that fears those Russian ICBMs cruising across their borders. It’s also selling its Merkava tank, arguably the best in the world. The year 2023 is not so bad after all.
Back to our story. Billionaire banker and technology executive Safra Catz, 61, was born in Holon, Israel, to olim from Romania. Her father, a physicist, moved from Israel to Brookline, Massachusetts when Safra was 6. After her career in banking, Catz joined the Oracle Corporation in 1999, became a member of the board of directors in 2001, and president in 2004. She was the force behind Oracle’s 2005 acquisition of its rival PeopleSoft in a $10.3 billion takeover.
Here’s another thing Lapid won’t enjoy: Catz is a died-in-the-wool Republican. She donated to Sen. Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign in 2016, and after Trump’s victory, she served on the president’s transition team and was mentioned as a potential cabinet appointment. In May 2020, she donated $125,000 to Donald Trump’s re-election campaign.
The Oracle Israel subsidiary was established in 1996 and serves as the marketing, support, implementation, and training arm for Oracle’s solutions. It has more than 500 employees in Petah Tikva, Herzliya, and Beer Sheva.
In September 2019, Oracle announced plans for a server farm in Israel, at a cost of approximately $200 million, which will span two facilities, for redundancy and survival. One facility was inaugurated in October 2021 on Mount Hotzvim in Jerusalem. Oracle’s move to open an Israeli cloud site was soon followed by Amazon and Google, which set up an Israeli site as part of the Nimbus project.