Israel is the Mother of three religions – Judaism, Islam & Christianity. Having rich culture and heritage values in the pre-historic era, yet, in the recent past, it is a well-known disputed region, surrounded by the enemies at all sides of the border. Often this place has seen devastating battles. The holiest land on the earth is turned as war-zone. The nation freed from colonial status in 1948. Since then it witnessed all sides of life – Poverty, struggle, fierce battle, corruption, crime, the rise of technology.
What Israel has done differently than other countries to produce the maximum number of Start-ups per capita? The major contribution of the development has resorted to advance technology. We witnessed the dominance of Israel in the invention, innovation and technology in the last five centuries. Here are a few points that differentiated Israelis from the rest of the world.
- Immigration Policy
- Training & Experience – Military culture
- Standardisation v/s Experimentation mind-set
Unlike other countries, which had very tight citizenship criteria and security front, Israel welcomed Jews from all around the world & granted nationality and citizenship to the person and family on the spot. This policy is exactly opposite to that of other countries. As a result, many Jews immigrated from poor countries like Ethiopia, for the government ensured their living cost and employment.
On the other side, Jews of the west were tech-savvy. For them, it was not about money and the lavish lifestyle of the west. But, it was the strong connection to their Motherland. The government granted full freedom to build an open and transparent culture like, “Everybody knows everybody.”
Migrated folks were highly unemployed because of a lack of education and skill. The government of Israel foresaw a profound need to develop skills and offer world-class education to its populace. As a result, the education institutes of Israel is one of the best in the world, and perhaps the best outside the USA.
Training & Experience – Military culture:
Israelis mandated military training for one and a half years. Virtually every man had to be on the war-field. This was primarily intended for the strong defense being a part of war-zone, however, later it turned as a game-changer. For, it rendered leadership lessons at an early age during the war. Many led the huge team and were given full charge of the mission. On the field, within seconds, the decisions of life and death to be taken. Each time forward and out of the box thinking was forced. This inculcated risk-taking ability and improved leadership skills. In Israel, each entrepreneur was once a military officer.
Standardization v/s Experimentation mindset:
Israel consciously followed an open and transparent culture rather than a hierarchical approach. The special debriefing session was held, if survived in war, before the team, from junior most to the apex officer. Others would leave the judicial mind and appreciate and learn from the mistake. THERE WAS NO FEAR OF PUBLIC FAILURE. They moved from one task to another. The previous task did not work was very normal amidst the subject of Israel. Hence, the number of experiments in the field of Agriculture to Defence increased in abundance. Other countries like Singapore and Korea did not produce as many start-ups as Israel, because although they possessed advanced technology as good as Israel, their operating standard was from a rule book of standardization. On the other hand, Israel mostly relied on research & development and experiment basis.
Few miracles of the Israel:
- First electric car and infrastructure to support Electric car.
- Invention of Rewritable memory card.
- Data chip development including famous C2D chip.
- One of the largest human planted forests (over four million tress) in the arid region – Yatir forest.
- Drip irrigation technology.
- Development of Jetfighter plane to match French Rafael.
- Invaluable contribution in NASA space missions.
- Drip irrigation technology to yield the agricultural productivity.
P.S. The article is based on the intensely researched book, Start-up nation – the story of Israel’s economic miracles by Dan Senor and Saul Singer.