I recently read an article in The Economist – Israel‘s technology industry – Punching above its weight (November 12th-18th, 2005). The article begins by making the statement that “… Israel is second only to Canada in the number of companies listed on the NASDAQ, and (that) the country attracts twice the number of venture-capital investments as the whole of Europe, …”. Several reasons are given for the development of their technology industries, the most intriguing is the army. According to the article, universal conscription has allowed the army to select those individuals that “… have a glimmer of potential, catalyses(ing) their transformation into engineers or scientists”. After their service in the army, these individuals arrive at university with “… practical experience and a problem-solving mentality.”
“Israel has 135 engineers per 10,000 employees, compared to 70 in America, 65 in Japan, and 28 in Britain.” “Tech giants such as IBM, Motorola and Cisco have research centers in Israel, which is also where Intel developed its Centrino chip.” New competitor!? Apparently not … apparently they have been there for some time.