53 (or more) years of Zionist start-up technology

Globes Online - Israel's Business Arena presents a list of milestones from chemist Chaim Weizmann and the Davidka cannon to VisionTech and TopTier, Checkpoint and Amdocs.

“We must not imagine the departure of the Jews to be a sudden one. It will be gradual, continuous, and will cover many decades. The poorest will go first to cultivate the soil. In accordance with a preconceived plan, they will construct roads, bridges, railways and telegraph installations; harness rivers; and build their own dwellings; their labor will create trade, trade will create markets, and markets will attract new settlers... The spirit of enterprise must, indeed, be encouraged in every possible way. Development of industries will be promoted through a logical tax policy, by the employment of cheap raw material, and by the creation of a board to collect and publish industrial statistics…”

Theodor Herzl, The Jewish State, Vienna, 1896

In the words above, it was Herzl who envisioned, if you will, the Israeli startup. He foresaw governmental support policies for entrepreneurial technologies, and even the Central Bureau of Statistics. Perhaps he was a bit off here and there, but the Zionist enterprise, and later on, the State of Israel, made the words of The Jewish State come to life.

Long before there was a country here, when buses and even carriages ruled the roads, the pre-state Jewish settlers succeeded in developing industry and agriculture. In the first half of the 20th century, agricultural research was being established, which over time produced the now-famous Israeli agriculture, as well as Israel’s leading export sector. At the same time, while the British were ruling Mandatory Palestine, a weapons industry was developing, which during the first few years of statehood grew into the defense industries — one of the main factors in Israel’s technological development.

All these enterprises laid the groundwork, and ever since, Israeli technology has grown and prospered. Today, 53 years after the Declaration of Independence, the key to Israel’s economic independence lies in the high-tech industry.

Published by Israel's Business Arena on May 3, 2001.

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