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Daily Israel Report

Netanyahu to Visit Silicon Valley, Whatsapp Founder

US trip next week includes meetings with hi-tech figures to strengthen bonds with Israeli hi-tech industry.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 2/27/2014, 8:50 PM

Binyamin Netanyahu and Google
Binyamin Netanyahu and Google
Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is setting out for a visit to America next week. In addition to being pressed by US President Barack Obama into Israeli withdrawals as part of peace negotiations on Monday, Netanyahu plans to visit Silicon Valley, America's hi-tech heartland.

During his time in the Californian tech-paradise, Netanyahu is set to meet Jan Koum, founder of Whatsapp, according to Nana. The program is a cross-platform mobile application allowing users to exchange messages without having to pay telecom charges.

Just last week Koum sold his company to Facebook for the astronomical sum of $19 billion. Koum, a Ukrainian-born Jew, immigrated to America where he became an orphan at a young age, but nevertheless was able to pull himself up through the world of technology.

In addition, Netanyahu will meet the heads of websites eBay and Linkedin, as well as venture capital firm Sequoia.

Reportedly the visits are meant to deepen the ties between Israel's powerful hi-tech industry and its American counterpart, as well as to explore new fields of cooperation such as energy, water preservation, and agricultural advances.

Whatsapp has been used for some nefarious purposes in Israel lately; just this Monday three youths were arrested for organizing a drug ring among students in Jerusalem through the program.

On Wednesday, the IDF Information Security Department issued tough guidelines prohibiting soldiers from using the application on their smartphones to convey IDF-related information.