Israeli entrepreneurs that you do not hear about outside Israel, because…..
There is much talk these days of the potential of a widening boycott against Israeli businesses, because……well, it sounds politically correct.
Israeli advocates point to the hypocrisy of the situation. The boycott campaign proponents (BDS) do not advocate an equivalent boycott of China or elsewhere. Two Israelis, resident in New York, have just concluded a US$100 million property contract on behalf of the government of Qatar, no problems there apparently. A Palestinian survey reveals that 70% of respondents declared a preference for Israeli products. And for all the controversy of Scarlett Johansson’s advert for SodaStream during the Superbowl and the subsequent venom of Oxfam, Palestinians clearly enjoy working for Israeli employers in the West Bank.
OK, but what about encouraging the Arab sector in Israel?
Well, in the past two years, the Prime Minister’s Office has initiated a couple of seminars promoting the issue. Further, a technology incubator has been created in Nazareth, a city combining Jews, Moslems and Christians. Similarly, so few people know about the Al Bawader investment fund, set up in 2010 through an initiative of the Israeli government and the Israeli venture capital group, Pitango. It has a fund of over US$50 million to invest specifically in Arab ventures within Israel.
Al Bawader has a current crop of seven start-ups on its books. A typical example is Ms. Mass Watad, born in 1980 and who studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She currently owns a chain of diet clinics and in addition has developed a massage therapy. She intends to set up a series of franchises in the Arab world.
Datumate Ltd, very clearly in the high-tech sector, was founded by Dr. Jad Jarroush. Employing ten people and benefitting from the marketing reach of Pitango, it offers software applications for customers in the area of land surveying, civil engineering and architectural planning.
As I write this, there is a very active television campaign in Israel, rejecting racism in all its forms. So few of Israel’s detractors will tell you about this prime-time effort. So few will report on the successes of Al Bawader. There again, so few of them reside in countries with similar adverts.