Nimrod Vromen, Partner at Arnon, Tadmor-Levi, CEO of Consiglieri Ltd
"The New Minister of Science and Technology should remember that during COVID, Israeli high-tech represented 10% of the national workforce, produced 25% of Israel's tax revenues, and 43% of its export. This industry should therefore not be taken for granted; its mobility should not be underestimated. The government needs to make sure that those in the industry stay here in Israel and are happy. They should do so with any action or means deemed possible. For example, one of the things the new government should lead to is taking positive action to reduce tax exposure: many elements of the tax code can be interpreted in onerous ways to Israeli entrepreneurs, such as capital gains, treatment of employee options, exit-related taxes, and more. In addition, the new government must bring back the 'old hits': if you increase government investments in tech, through incubators and other more novel programs, it will be difficult for Israeli founders to argue that they are 'subsidizing' other less productive sectors without return."
Dorel Ishai, CEO StartPlan
"The growth of ultra-Orthodox (Haredim) and Arab populations in Israel is one of the most prominent phenomena we have witnessed in the last two decades, and it is clear that this is a trend that won't go away soon. According to some studies, by 2030 these populations will make up a majority of the Israeli population. It should be our goal to successfully integrate these populations into the high-tech sector in preparation for this. Since high-tech will be the engine for Israeli economic growth for years to come, such integration is pivotal for our economy. With consent rather than coercion, the government should promote training in English, software engineering studies, math, and other high-tech tools and skills in the ultra-Orthodox and Arab communities. It is only by making this change that we will continue to lead in the high-tech industry as the Startup Nation."
Sarit Moussayoff, Partner at M. Firon & Co., M&A and Head of China desk
“Now that the Republic of China is starting to consider how to decrease their Covid-19 restrictions, and is looking back to advancing cutting-edge technologies that may assist China and its population in progressing day-to-day life (whether AI technologies, G-5, life science, automation, robotics, etc.), it may be advisable if one of the matters the newly appointed government examines it to re-encourage China investment in the Israeli tech industry. This should obviously be limited only to such technologies that are exclusively designed for civil uses (i.e.: no dual types of usage whatsoever). Such a move may have an upside, and be a win-win situation for both sides. First and foremost, it will assist in re-activating the Israeli tech industry in exporting advanced technologies to China, and from there to the far east; it will re-boost capital that the sector needs, especially during this period of market turbulence. It has been difficult for corporations to be able to raise capital for ongoing operations so this will most notably help. Such investments in Israeli tech will allow the Chinese to rely on core Israeli technologies to advance its population and its nation.”
Yoachai Zeid-Ronen, CEO, Big-Tech 50
“The new government will face both short and long-term challenges. In the short term, there are many layoffs; in the long term, they need to sustain continuous growth.
Right now, there is no doubt that the layoff of thousands of employees must be addressed. We are currently seeing companies laying off workers to become more efficient and burn less money, however, in the coming year, we will likely see mainly young companies shutting down and laying off all remaining employees. Add the increase in the cost of living and housing prices to the unemployment and you get a mass number of upper-class citizens trying hard to make ends meet.
In the long term, increasing the high-tech sector and its needs is a constant challenge to every government, but will be especially for this one since the new government does not represent what the high-tech sector looked like. Meaning, growing the sector requires a qualified workforce and ease of doing business. Increasing the number of qualified people requires improving the level of education and pulling new classes into the high-tech sector including orthodox and Arab men. This inclusion seems to be the opposite of what the new government wants.”
Ido Eylon, CEO of 3DM Digital Manufacturing
“The new government will have to deal with current geopolitical, macro-economic forces and turbulence worldwide that are related to the country’s economy in a very wide manner, from unemployment and inflation through the cost of living and poverty.
Though perceived as one of Israel’s strongest sectors, the Israeli high-tech sector would be one of the challenges the government will have to face, and most definitely one of the most important ones.
With a significant contribution to the GDP, and immense influence on the Israeli economy overall, the Israeli high-tech ecosystem is of great importance to the country, and given the current circumstances – it needs help.
Considering the challenging investment atmosphere, both in the private and the public sectors, it would be wise for the government to deal with current burning issues immediately while maintaining a long-run perspective. By that, I mean selectively providing temporary liquidity support for companies that align with well-defined criteria that support long-term national strategic capabilities and assets.
Done responsibly, and with the right set of terms and conditions, such a policy would benefit all, especially those high-potential small and medium enterprises. Furthermore, it will encourage productivity through investing in it instead of an unemployment allowance.”
Keren Leshem OCON Healthcare’s CEO
“Israel's Innovation Authority and Ministry of Technology play a significant role in supporting Israeli women's quality of life by funding projects related to women's health. It is important that resources will be directed to focused research around women’s, anatomy, physiology, and related diseases and to ensure these dedicated budgets are allocated for the needs of half of Israel’s population.”
Amir Zolty, Partner and Head of Hi-Tech Practice, Lipa Meir & Co.
“What should the new government do to assist the local technological industry? My short answer would be: leave the internal perimeter to the industry and professionals and use the governmental powers to promote and facilitate a fertile and safe ecosystem which shall enable and support the industry. More specifically, the government should increase the Israel Innovation Authority's budget (or at least avoid any cuts), and leave it to the IAA, and not to politicians, the decision-making and initiatives in this field (but also pass required legislation – where needed).
The government should focus on supporting, promoting, and perhaps even expanding the burgeoning business and technological relations with some of our neighbouring countries – following the Abraham Accords. We have already witnessed some promising commercial developments in this field, and opportunities are endless.
The government should put technological and 21st-century education as a major target – with an emphasis on the geographic and socio-economic periphery. The private sector is more than willing to help – but local and anecdotal initiatives are not enough.
The government should pay great attention to the potential effect of drastic political (internal and external), economic, and infrastructural changes on Israel's image as a safe and enabling technology hub – home to more than 100 research centers of multinational entities and a go-to place for the international technology and business community.”
Yael Shimon-Many, Partner in the Hi-Tech Group at Pearl Cohen
“In recent years, we see a steady increase in the incorporation of new startups, alongside the participation of successful Israeli companies ("unicorns") in the race for an IPO on the Nasdaq. The current slowdown in the market will open an opportunity for Israel to preserve precisely the good developing mid-sized companies here in the local market. To do this, the state must create conditions that will encourage Israeli technology companies to grow and establish themselves in Israel, while keeping their headquarters and most of the manpower here. This can be achieved through governmental assistance in technological infrastructures, easing regulation in relevant fields of operation and providing tax benefits for growing companies in Israel (while regulating the taxation of investors and funds that support high-tech companies). All should be done alongside the allocation of government funds dedicated to continuously supporting innovation, including by educating the younger generations (and future Israeli manpower).
The new government should allocate resources and ease the bureaucracy as mentioned above mainly in "traditional" fields that are still lagging in terms of technologies and innovation, such as real estate (proptech), insurance (insuretech) and digital health, in a way that would maximize value for the high-tech industry as well as for the state and the citizens who consume these services.”
Moshiel Biton, CEO & Co-Founder at Addionics
"The most formidable task facing the Minister of Innovation is to continue to bolster Israel’s status as a global technology leader in all fields, from vehicles to energy and cyber. In the past, Israel has proven that it has both superb entrepreneurs and an excellent environment to develop technology capable of becoming giant corporations, but both entrepreneurs and companies require a supportive environment and a government that knows how to promote such activities. A prime example of this is the activity taking place in the field of transport and the EcoMotion Community.
As far as I am concerned, one of the most important sectors on which the Minister of Innovation will have to focus his/her attention is the energy sector. This is the industry with the fastest global growth rate, with enormous investment both by governments and private companies – all of which is designed to develop energy independence and expedite the shift to renewable energy to reduce our carbon emissions and create a much greener future for us all.
If the government is sufficiently astute to support such activity enabling it to turn into a technological power in this field, it will be able to generate significant revenue for the state, investment from giant corporations, create jobs and perhaps above all, to guarantee a future of energy security without having to rely on other countries, as is the case with many EU states today.”
Eyal Hoffman, Managing Partner at Highroad
“Whoever is due to enter the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology will face multiple challenges, mainly as under the current state of affairs the high-tech “engine” that has been pulling the rest of the economy behind it is now constantly slowing down; the ecosystem is undergoing a profound change. This is not a question of a change for the better or the worse, but simply a change from what we have become accustomed to in recent years. Given this situation, the sooner the policymakers can tailor an appropriate solution and provide support for the industry, the greater the chances of a rapid and strong recovery.
It is precisely because Israel is a small country with numerous significant challenges, especially those affecting the various fields of infrastructure – transportation, water, and energy – that we might have expected it to be relatively easy to facilitate the development and application of solutions to problems and the infrastructure-related challenges with which we need to contend. In practice, the fact is that it is precisely those numerous companies working in these areas that find it extremely difficult to operate in Israel – we are dealing with a very small market that is not the target market in the vast majority of cases. Consequently, many investors refrain from investing in these fields, as in contrast to the world of software – both development and growth are usually much slower and more gradual processes.
If this is the case, then in my humble opinion, one of the key tasks awaiting the incoming Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology is one that can also promote those initiatives with the ability to improve people’s lives, enable them to act and gain experience in the local market, and improve the companies' chances of success – to promote investments and integration with a focus on infrastructure-related technologies, alongside supportive regulation.”