A photograph: while more than a thousand Hamas rockets launched from Gaza were falling on Israeli territory, the IPO of Similar Web (deal worth 1.6 billion dollars) was completed on Wall Street, the data giant NTT opened a new hub in the country and Google announced the first moonshot lab in Israel, the only one outside the United States.
We talked about it with Jonathan Pacifici, General Partner, Sixth Millennium, president of the Jewish Economic Forum and author of the book “Unicorns Don’t Take the Crown”, which tells how the pandemic hasn’t stopped Israel’s economic growth.
The country actually emerged from the pandemic earlier than the others and represents an example for the return to normality, thanks to a massive vaccination campaign, then the sudden outbreaks of war in recent days. How do you see the situation from your Jerusalem-based business man observatory?
Let’s start with the vaccination campaign. It is not just a matter of the quantity of vaccines available. The real lesson, which Italy should also learn, is the computerization of healthcare. In Israel we were able to go without fail to every single citizen to be vaccinated, knowing his health situation. In Italy I have personal experiences of patients who in one day, in an emergency situation, were subjected to four scans, in four different hospitals, because there is no single database and the structures do not speak to each other. As for the dramatic hours we are experiencing these days, what guides and saves us is always the same thing: technological innovation, I am thinking of the Iron Dome system which is capable of intercepting 90% of short-range missiles. Something that before it was done in Israel seemed impossible, even to advanced countries like the United States.
Here, we often talk about start-up nation and it is known that Israel is now driving the global technological development in various fields. What was the winning recipe?
It is a mix of cultural and economic factors. Which then, the two aspects are deeply interconnected. Our people have a real passion for knowledge, or rather, for knowledge, which has deep religious roots. On these roots, in the last twenty-thirty years a combination of skills has been grafted, from a public system composed of schools – but also from Defense – deeply interconnected with the business world to a culture of problem solving, courage, meritocracy . For us there are no impossible challenges, but problems to be solved, and the example of Iron Dome is very indicative of this Israeli psychological-cultural characteristic.
There is talk of Abraham’s agreements endangered by the ongoing clashes. How do you see the future in the short and medium term?
I think that an Israeli kid who dreams of opening a start-up has a lot in common with a peer from the Arab Emirates with the same dream. I would have already said everything. I hope and think that those in progress are the last upsurge of an ancient world and overtaken by facts. If the large amount of money that came to Gaza had been invested in development, rather than in weapons, tunnels and missiles, the population would be much better off and today there would be peace. Many moderate Arab countries have understood this, they are hungry for development and growth. On this basis the agreements of Abraham are born, and my opinion is that, despite the tragic events of these days, this is the future. A better future for everyone.