Why Israel Is Innovation Nation – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Prime Minister’s Office)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday:
- The concentration of exceptionally gifted hi-tech start-up companies in Israel is a function of five things:The birth of modern Israel was an innovation. The rebirth of the Hebrew language was an innovation. The rebirth of agriculture in our land was an innovation.These five factors have created a unique situation where we produce more conceptual products per-capita than any other country on Earth.
- A curse has been turned into a blessing: our defense needs. We have had to have a very robust defense, so we take the best and the brightest of our young people in the military, and we put them in our various operations. This produces knowledge workers and knowledge entrepreneurs who are very gifted.
- Research. We have excellent research institutions and universities that produce an inordinate share of Nobel Prize winners for Israel. We also spend 5% of our GDP on R&D, the highest number of any country.
- A special culture. The Jewish people have always treasured education and knowledge. In ancient times we were effectively the only literate people and that brought us through the Middle Ages and into modern time with literacy. In addition, the Jewish people were always asking questions, truth was never finite. That questioning mind is something that is in our culture and adds very much to our capacities.
- Size: we’re very small, the size of New Jersey or Wales. So everything is close by and everyone is close to everyone else. Everybody competes with each other and collaborates with each other. There is an ongoing, vibrant cross-fertilization.
- We have no choice, we had to innovate. We didn’t have abundant natural resources. We were outnumbered; we were facing constant threats. Our neighbors even imposed upon us an economic boycott. Some world powers imposed upon us a weapons boycott. We had to innovate to survive.
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