After announcing its 200 Million dollar acquisition of Israeli start-up Onavo, Facebook executive Nicola Mendelsohn met yesterday with Israeli President Shimon Peres. As Vice President for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, she discussed Facebook’s plans for a research and development center in Israel.

At the meeting in the president’s office in Jerusalem, Mendhelson told Peres, “Facebook was amazed by the amount of talent in such a small country like Israel. It was a momentous decision for Facebook to open its first R&D center outside the US. We chose Israel in the knowledge that the best talent is found here.”

In collaboration with Samsung, Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera and Qualcomm, Facebook launched a humanitarian project called to bring the benefits of the information revolution to the most remote regions of the world.’s goal is to make the world wide web accessible to the remaining two-thirds of the human race currently without Internet access, mainly through cellular devices.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg maintains that lowering streaming data expenses is necessary to achieve this goal. To this end, Onavo furthers’s plan. According to Mendelsohn, Onavo “will help Facebook achieve its vision of linking the largest number of users possible in the world, including, of course, Africa and the Middle East. We are waiting impatiently for the establishment of the Facebook Israel team in the coming months and years.”

According to Israeli business daily Globes, Mendelsohn asked Peres how other countries could emulate Israel’s technological achievements. Peres reponded, “Israelis always strive to learn, investigate, and break borders. Israeli chutzpah does not rest, entrepreneurship is in our DNA.”

Author: Eitan Press
Date: Oct 17, 2013

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