Overview | History | Innovations | Opposition | Accusations | Controversial Issues
Israel is a hotbed of innovation and invention; new companies are continually emerging with fresh and exciting ideas and big improvements over existing ones. There are more Israeli companies listed on the US stock exchanges than any other country outside the US, except for Canada and China.
Such is the buzz around Israeli start-ups that venture capitalists from the US and elsewhere are flocking in to fund projects, and to buy out successful businesses. For example, Microsoft recently bought Tel Aviv-based Adallom for $320m for its novel way of tackling cyber security.
Some of the things coming out of Israel at the moment include windows which double as solar panels; an automatic irrigation and fertilization system; radiation and contact free breast cancer screening, combining ultrasound and MRI to remove tumors and cysts, and for neurosurgery; a universal influenza vaccine; and software which prevents the exfiltration and ransoming of data.
Previous Israeli inventions include:
- Drip irrigation – a highly efficient method of irrigation using minimal water, allowing farmers to cultivate the desert.
- USB flash drive – Israel was one of a few countries to independently develop this digital storage device, which was vastly superior to the standard of the time, the floppy disk.
- Pill cam – this miniature camera fits into a pill for the patient to swallow, allowing physicians to see inside their gastro-intestinal tract without any invasive tubes.
- The Emergency Bandage – a bandage with a special pressure bar, allowing effective compression of wounds, when emergency surgery is not an immediate option. It has saved countless lives, particularly soldiers on the battlefield
- Iron Dome – the first missile defense system to successfully intercept a rocket, it now steadfastly protects Israel’s citizens from frequent rocket attacks from Gaza and elsewhere.
- ICQ – the first stand-alone instant messenger and fully centralized service, complete with user accounts.
- Waze – a community-driven GPS system which is continually updated by its users. It was acquired by Google in June 2013 for $1.1 billion.
The major breakthroughs in microprocessor technology at Intel originated in Israel. The Intel 8088, the first microprocessor used for a PC, was developed at their Haifa research and development center; as was the Pentium M, which significantly reduced power usage while enhancing the computer’s performance paved the way for truly mobile laptops with longer battery lives; and also the first multi-core processor, the Core Duo. The Haifa center continues to be at the forefront of Intel’s technological advances.
Israel is a world leader in water technologies; due to its arid climate the government has invested in research and development in this area since the nation’s inception. Top companies include Netafim, the inventor of drip irrigation; Amiad, which creates cutting-edge water filtration technology; and IDE, which specializes in enhanced desalination facilities and industrial water treatment plants.
Israeli creativity has attracted hundreds of multi-national companies to set up research and development stations there. The industries include telecommunications technology; computer software including operating systems, security, and internet applications; computer hardware such as microprocessors, digital storage technology, and motion tracking systems; pharmaceuticals; medical treatments and technologies; and development of other electronic equipment.
It’s no exaggeration to say that the kind of innovation going on in Israel is critical to the future of the technology business.
— Bill Gates, founder, Microsoft