from the December 2010 issue

An Exciting Quarter of a Century

With this issue, we are completing 25 years of publication of the Israel High-Tech and Investment Report. With the January issue we will begin our 26th year. It has been an exciting period as we followed the development of Israel's high-tech sector that has contributed greatly to Israel's economy. It was also exciting as we met and interviewed some of the leaders of the nascent technology era.

Seven years earlier, prior to our publishing our first issue it became clear that Israel was in critical need to develop a high-tech sector that would replace the curtailed supply of technology materiel by France. In response to that need research and development units and companies were formed. The only company producing defense products was Rafael Arms and Development which was founded in 1950.

In our last issue we headlined Defense Industries. From a net importer Israel had become one of the world's five largest exporters of defense equipment. Leading buyers include India and China. Additionally, recently Israel has obtained a $470m. order from Russia, for its unmanned aerial vehicles. For the Israeli citizen it is very comforting to know that a superpower like Russia will use Israeli weaponry.

However, the most satisfying aspect of publishing the Report has been the interviews that we enjoyed with international political leaders as well as those that have founded and continue to lead high tech enterprises. Since 1964 we met, on a regular basis, with American Ambassadors to Israel. Prominent among these were Ambassadors Sam Lewis and Thomas Pickering. They helped us to establish a first satellite link between the American Embassy in Tel-Aviv and the States. We sat in the US Embassy in Tel-Aviv and conversed in real time with our counterparts in Washington. Thomas Pickering opened his home to the leaders of Israel's high-tech world.

The late Israeli Presidents Ephraim Katzir and Haim Herzog personally encouraged me to write about high technology. The modest President Katzir granted me a two hour interview. The Israeli leaders of technology industries, that I have met, include Dov Frohman who founded Intel Israel, Uzia Galil who led the way in establishing scientific based startups. He was assisted by Fred Adler, the American venture capitalist who brought a number of Israeli companies to the American stock exchanges. Dan Tolkowsky who led Discount Investments and injected large sums of capital into high-tech companies, Efi Arazi who founded Scitex, Eli Hurwitz who led Teva. The latter developed the scientific work of Michael Sela and Ruth Arnon into the blockbuster drug Copaxone. Dr. Yossi Vardi whose son innovated ICQ which was purchased by AOL. He is generally acknowledged as a spokesman for the Israeli high-tech sector.

Stef Wertheimer, who founded Iscar, and later sold a part of his shares for $4.0b., was an example how one can build a major economic enterprise in Israel and succeed on a global scale.

Together with the newsletter's Advisory Board, we shall continue to publish the Newsletter. And hope that you will enjoy reading its contents as much as we in writing it.

Reprinted from the Israel High-Tech & Investment Report December 2010

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