Israel tech

“Today I see a genuine start-up nation, where new ideas are born before they circle the world,” Google executive Adam Cohen said in Israel. 

By: United with Israel Staff

The Knesset on Wednesday hosted a conference titled “Legislating the Net: The Knesset, Internet Giants and the Ordinary Citizen,” with the participation of academics, researchers, Members of Knesset and technology company representatives, during which Google executive Adam Cohen lauded Israel’s ever-evolving tech scene.

The conference, organized by the Knesset’s Research and Information Center and Legal Department, consisted of three sessions and a panel discussion focusing on fair competition online, privacy issues, and democracy, and web-related legislation.

Cohen, head of Google’s economic policy for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said that “as a frequent visitor to Israel, it is amazing to see a country that is evolving and changing so rapidly, almost before our eyes.”

Recalling his first visit to Israel 25 years ago, he saw the country from north to south. He visited cities and kibbutzim, and “everywhere in between.”

“Today I see a genuine start-up nation, where new ideas are born before they circle the world,” he said.

“A couple of years ago Israel was the first place where I saw an electric scooter, and now they’re seen everywhere from San Francisco to Singapore,” he added.

The Close Israel-Google Ties

Google, Cohen said, “has played an important role in Israel’s success as a start-up nation.”

The Internet giant opened its first research and development center in Haifa in 2006, and many multinational companies followed them. In 2006 there were 100 multinational R&D centers in Israel, and today there are more than 300. Google Israel has over 1,000 employees based in Haifa and Tel Aviv.

Cohen further noted that Google’s tools “have helped Israeli businesses get online for the first time. Firms that once operated in a local, regional market now reach national and international customers.”

“In the digital world, every business can become an exporter, and roughly 70 percent of Google’s revenue from Israeli advertisers comes from advertisers who export their products and services abroad,” he said. “We are part of the reason that Israel broke export records last year, passing $100 billion.”

“Google has also been investing in Israeli video creators to help them make YouTube a significant source of income,” he said.
Cohen named a number of Israeli companies and entrepreneurs who succeeded with Google’s help, and said “these stories make me very proud of Google’s investment in Israel.”

Israel is second only to the Silicon Valley in California in terms of the number of start-ups, with over 6,000 start-ups founded in Israel in the last decade.

Speaking at the prestigious Weizmann Institute of Science in June 2015, the Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt pointed to Israeli culture and innovation as a the key to its success. “Israel is booming in terms of entrepreneurship because you have a culture to challenge authority and to question everything. You’re not going by the rules.”