Thirteen Israeli hi-tech company founders were honored on Wednesday with the privilege of ringing the bell at the Big Board of the New York Stock Exchange. However, their celebration took an unexpected turn when they used the business platform to voice their leftwing political opinions.
Donning “Save our Democracy” t-shirts, they engaged in a public protest against the democratically elected government of Israel and its plans to reform Israel’s broken judicial system. While the protesters’ intentions may be rooted in genuine concern as they see it, their actions risk undermining the thriving Israeli hi-tech industry, which owes much of its success to the policies of former Prime Minister Netanyahu and his previous governments.
The success of these entrepreneurs’ ventures is a testament to the effectiveness of these policies. However, their protest seemingly calls for foreign interference to obstruct the democratically elected government’s decisions. This approach raises questions about the alignment of their actions with democratic principles.
Publicly sending negative messages about Israel may have unintended (or intended) consequences for the investment climate. Investors and stakeholders are more likely to be attracted to stable and supportive political environments. The protest’s impact on investor sentiment may harm the very industry these activists are part of.
Anarchist leaders in Israel from the hi-tech industry have openly called for Israeli companies to pull out their money from Israel, and some have said they are looking to move their companies’ offices out of Israel. A number of them transferred their money to Silicon Valley Bank just days before it collapsed.