From Oranges Nation to Startup Nation
With the establishment of the State, the citrus industry was the main export industry, with Yafo (Jaffa) oranges brand becoming identified with the young country.
The changes in Israel’s export were, some might say, revolutionary. According to the Research & Economics Administration (hebrew), In 1955, Israel’s food beverages and tobacco industry was about 7% of all industrial exports (not including diamonds). This number decreasd significantly to only 2% in 2014. Meamwhile, export of chemicals and plastics (including pharmaceutical) increased dramatically from 11% in 1955 to 34.5% in 2014.
The economic growth is also shown in the changing fiugres of import. In 1960, Israel’s imports from the E.U. totaled 2.3 billion dollars. In 2014 the import reached 24.1 billion dollars, multiplied by almost 10.5. Of course that the number of countries in the EU have increased substantially, but there is no doubt that Israel’s purchasing power increased significantly.
Becoming a “Startup Nation” is reflected in many aspects. First, R&D expenditure as a of GDP in 2014 was 4.2%, more than South Korea, Japan, or even Germany. Secondly, IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook for 2014 ranks Israel 19th out of 58 countries before Finland, South Korea and Japan. Finally, one of the World Competitiveness factors is the innovative capacity in which Israel stands out.