The Ministry of Finance, together with The Wall Street Journal, Barrons and the Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs, hosted a one-day conference in New York City discussing Israel's global impact as a leading exporter of technologies, ideas, innovations, and entrepreneurial spirit. The conference was moderated by the best Wall Street Journal journalists, as top-tier guests and panelists took a deep and critical look at how to keep this atmosphere thriving.
The Wall Street Journal is the largest daily economic newspaper in The United States, by circulation, and is delivered daily to over two million subscribers. With over 80% of American investors and over 50% of American decision makers exposed to the Journal daily, it has an outstanding influence on the American economy, making the choice of collaboration with the Ministry of Finance natural.
The conference hosted world economic decision makers, officials of firms invested in Israel, private equity owners and venture capitalists as well as global financial institutes and chief analysts. Among the keynote speakers were Rupert Murdoch, Chairman & CEO of News Corporation, Lewis B. Kaden, Vice Chairman of Citigroup Inc., Shai Agassi, the Founder of Better Place, and Nobel Prize laureate economist Daniel Kahneman.
The conference, held for the first ever time this year, is expected to attract foreign investments to Israel, displaying the attributes of its economy to the exclusive group of officials participating.
Finance Minister Steinitz: "Why is Israel not considered an investment opportunity? Because it is a small country - only eight million people live here. Another reason is the geopolitical situation. However, large corporations have been investing in Israel, such as Cisco, Google
and HP. These companies, apart from Apple, have been with us for years and now Apple is joining them and is going to set up its first R&D center outside of the USA in Israel. Chinese companies have also begun setting up R&D centers in Israel.
Why is it worthwhile to invest in Israel?
- First of all we have the best human capital - Israelis always think outside the box and therefore Israel is first in the world in startups per capita.
- Government incentives - corporate taxes for exports for firms in the Tel Aviv region are 12% and in the periphery they might be as low as 5%, which is the lowest tax rate in the modern world. The government constantly provides benefits in order to encourage exports.
- In addition, the Israeli economy keeps its macro-economic framework stable, which generates more investments in the country.
Israel is also known as a country that bounces back quickly after crises. For example, after the 2009 crisis and in the wake of the Second Lebanon War in 2006, unemployment in Israel was as high as 9.5%; today, it stands at 6.5% in contrast to the constant increase in unemployment in Europe."
Rupert Murdoch: "What differentiates Israel from other countries is the creativity. Israel is successful because it is one of several countries whose economy revolves around the human mind and it is really a light unto the nations. Bear in mind that everything that happens in Israel happens despite all the threats to the country."