PM Netanyahu: Israel punches 200 times above our weight

PM Netanyahu speaks speaks to conference of Argentinian and Israeli businesspeople, says innovation and the right environment create wealth.

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Binyamin Netanyahu announces Turkey reconciliation deal
Binyamin Netanyahu announces Turkey reconciliation deal
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Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday night, addressed a special economic event in Buenos Aires, attended by Argentinian businesspeople and an Israeli business delegation.

"This is the first time ever that an Israeli Prime Minister visited Argentina as Prime Minister or visited any country south of the United States," Netanyahu said. "This is actually astounding when you think of it, so obviously it's a new age in our relations with the world and with Latin America."

"It's not by accident I chose to begin it here at the kind invitation of my friend [Argentinian President] Mauricio Macri. He is transforming Argentina and I think we are transforming together the friendship between our countries. It has solid foundations because we are both democracies, because we have a vibrant Jewish community and also because we have a keen interest in seizing the future.

"The future belongs to those who innovate. Israel is an innovation nation. The power of innovation is endless. New industries are created from thin air literally. They create wealth very rapidly.

"This meeting, this event today marks this change in our ability to cooperate, so I want to make it clear that we welcome all Argentinian companies to come to Israel with the Deputy President and subsequently later on in the second half of the year with the President. We welcome all Israeli companies to come to Argentina and share the ability to produce value.

"Governments typically do not think that wealth is created by private sector. They think that wealth is created by governments. But it's not, it's just spent by governments. To create value you need entrepreneurs and to create entrepreneurs you need freedom. Freedom, freedom from bureaucracy, freedom from over regulation, freedom from excessive taxes.

"This is an important message that I don’t need to bring to the President of Argentina because he understands it perfectly."

Economic growth, Netanyahu said, is "very hard to do."

"There is every reason in the world not to do this unless you have this conviction inside," he said. "I see that conviction in President Macri. This is why I think Argentina has a great future, a great future, and it could grow very rapidly and achieve things that were unimaginable."

"We in Israel are doing this... Technology by itself does not do it. You can have enormously gifted people in technology. You can have the greatest scientists and you could have the greatest mathematicians and you can have the greatest physicists, I'll tell you one country that had them- it's called the Soviet Union. Didn’t do much, did it? But if you took one of these physicists and you brought him to Palo Alto, then within three weeks he's producing tremendous value.

"Remember that the basic addition of value in an economy is given by the private sector. Unless you couple free markets or I should say freer markets, with technology, technology alone does not work. This is the fundamental change that we made in Israel... In Israel this means that we create new industries from scratch.

"I'll give you an example. We recycle 87% of our wastewater. The next country to recycle, the second country in the world, is Spain with 17%. We have 20% of the world's global investment in private cybersecurity, 20%. Since we are 1/10 of 1% of the world population, this means we're punching 200 times above our weight. It's as if Israel were a country of 1.6 billion people.

"Waze is an Israeli company. It was sold to Google for a mere $1 billion. Very stupid deal. It's worth a lot more. But now, now we have a company in Jerusalem that was sold to Intel for $15 billion for autonomous vehicles, and we have 500 tech startup companies that receive each year $3.5 billion regular investment for automotive technology because transportation is changing.... We're moving into that... We had nothing to do with it. We didn't do anything! It happened by itself. By itself! If you create the right business environment. And the same thing is happening everywhere.

"When you have drones looking at fields and you have agriculture that is suited to the plant. The plant! Not the field, the plant! You can actually water and fertilize up to the level of the individual plants and reduce your spent, your cost, to produce crops, and enormously increase productivity. And so on."

The Israeli government is also tracking 98% of the population's health records.

"We are now engaging in a digital health project in Israel," Netanyahu explained. "We have 98% of the population in a computerized record that every person has with a little card, and they know what their medical record is for the last 20 years... We will take 100,000 of these people and we're going to give them a genetic test, you know, a swap. And then we're going to take 2,000 of these people and we're going to put sensors on them to monitor their physical activity. So we now have a database of the entire population going down to medical records, going down to genetic composition, going down to physical performance."

"I don't know what this will yield, but I think, practically speaking, that this can produce both preventive medicine and personalized medicine and many, many, many companies that will develop from this.

"Every field is becoming technologized. The confluence of big data, connectivity and artificial intelligence is creating vast wealth and vast opportunities to improve life for people in Israel, for people in Argentina... and for people anywhere. I think that we should have a partnership in seizing the future.

"This is what I came to Argentina for and this is what I leave Argentina with: President Macri and I decided to join hands and deliver to our peoples the future they deserve. But in the end, we're just politicians.

"You have to do the job, and I trust you will."