Although Israel continues to find itself in the midst of regional conflict, global companies and investors still see the country and the Israeli people in a much different light than is portrayed by the latest ominous news headlines; a country filled with endless creativity, passion and ingenuity and a population with the drive and persistence that have led many to call Israel the second Silicon Valley.
Confirming the sentiment, Arutz Sheva spoke to Sandy Hammer, a promoter of Israeli start-ups, at a conference sponsored by the Israel Export Institute which brought together Israeli start-ups and tech producers with investors and billion-dollar companies from around the world.
"Israel is considered the second Silicon Valley today. Everybody wants our products," said Hammer. "Today, the first thing we say when we go into international companies is that we're from Israel."
Israeli start ups raised $2.14 billion in 2011, an 11-year high, and many investors see Israel as an incubator of technological ingenuity.
For such a tiny country in a conflict zone, that fact that Israel is seen as a competitor to the behemoth that is Silicon Valley might shock outsiders, but for Israelis the success can be chalked up to any number of factors that make the country so unique. "I think the army does have a tremendous level of influence in young people here in israel," said Hammer. "it gives them the power and the enthusiasm and the courage just to keep going every day…we plan for tomorrow…and that's how we sell."
Hammer said Israeli companies are at times subjected to boycotts and investors refuse to do business with these companies, but opposition is usually voiced by Europeans, while massive Asian and American tech companies are more than eager to invest in Israel.
"We've come a long way," said Hammer, speaking of the respect Israel has earned in the global tech sphere, a level of respect that many are predicting will only continue to grow.