Go to Israel and chances are you'll install some new apps on your phone, just to keep up. A few years ago that might have been the navigation and transportation ones Waze and Moovit. More recently it may well have been photo editors Facetune and Enlight. All Israeli developed, all global successes and just a tip, albeit a visible one, of the country's high-tech iceberg.
High-tech is usurping the place once held by Israel's founding myths, the ones about the kibbutz collectives and making the desert bloom. Nowadays it's all "Start-up Nation" and "Silicon Wadi". In fact, some say high-tech is even replacing the archetypal Jewish mothers' wish for their child to be a doctor or a lawyer; today's Israeli moms supposedly brag about the number of employees in their kids' start-up.
Inevitably such success is shot through with hyperbole but it rests on very solid and tangible numbers. $15.3 billion is one of them, representing the biggest high-tech business deal in Israel's history and the sum that Intel paid in March for autonomous driving firm Mobileye.
And instead of packing up the company and moving it to the U.S., Intel is establishing it as its global autonomous driving hub and R&D (research and development) center. There are over 300 international firms with a high-tech research center in the country, including giants such as Microsoft, IBM, Apple, Cisco, HP and older Intel centers, to name but a few.
"Over the last couple of weeks, since the Intel-Mobileye transaction, all hell has broken loose," says Jon Medved, CEO of OurCrowd, an Israel-based crowdsourcing platform for accredited investors.