The Start Up nation has done IT again

by Phil Schneider

Israeli innovations are a major part of the IT solutions that the entire world is benefiting from.  Many refer to Israel today as the Start Up nation.

How did Israel come to be known as the “Innovation Nation” or the “Start-Up Nation?”
The modern lifestyle that we are now accustomed to living by today is largely due to tech advancements originating in Israel. There are more per capita hi-tech startups in Tel-Aviv than anywhere else in the Middle East.

A Look Back

However, first – let’s take a look back at recent modern Israeli history. David Ben-Gurion declared the existence of the State of Israel in May, 1948.  At the time, the young fledgling State was clearly about to be attacked on all sides. So, why declare a State?  Why not wait a few more months or years when perhaps the timing would be better?  There were indeed voices in the pre-State Cabinet who said exactly that.

But, Ben-Gurion and others in the Cabinet realized that if they didn’t act, they would perhaps miss out on the opportunity that arises once in a millenia.   And Ben-Gurion stood up and declared the State.  This was not a simple move.  A provisional government was set up.  Sure enough – as if on cue – all 5 Arab Armies attacked the State of Israel.  Out of around 600,000 Jewish people who lived in the brand new State of Israel, 6,000 were killed by Arabs during Israel’s War of Independence.  That means that a full 1% did not survive the War of Independence.

The Ingathering of the Exiles

But, Israel emerged victorious on almost all fronts and the State that had just barely survived its birth, could now grow and prosper.   It did just that.  In a few years, the State of Israel would triple its size.  The young State absorbed more than 1,500,000 immigrants – largely from Middle Eastern descent – from Morocco, Iraq, Yemen, Iran, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, and Lebanon.

Turning Point

For around 10 years in the 50’s, Israel’s economy was under so much stress that it needed to ration food on a national level.  The 60’s were not much better – but the Six Day War in 1967 changed everything.

From then on, Israel developed and gradually became a modern country along the lines of many other smaller European countries.

But, in the early 1990’s, a major revolution occurred.  A massive wave of Russian Jews moved to Israel and the internet became a major player on the world scene.  Israel’s small hi-tech centers became world famous, and some mammoth hi-tech buyouts of a few Israeli companies took place.    Before long, young people began flocking to the hi-tech scene, and the Start Up Nation was born.

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