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After Davos, Foreign Tech Firms Head to Israel

Netanyahu says Google, Yahoo and others were mainly interested in local cybersecurity.

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Back from the World Economic Forum summit in Davos, Switzerland last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the cabinet yesterday that his campaign to promote the country’s innovative capabilities had aroused interest on the part of high-tech multinationals to set up shop in Israel, particularly in cyber security.

Netanyahu’s cabinet remarks came amid a flurry of news of planned multinational research and development centers in Israel by the U.S. companies Lockheed, EMC as well as China’s Haier and France’s Technicolor.

Netanyahu used the Davos conference — an annual gathering of the world’s corporate and political leaders — to highlight Israel’s high-tech prowess, devoting the first half of an address on the subject. With the government investing heavily in the area, Israel intended to become one of the top three countries for cyber-security, he told his audience at the World Economic Forum.

“We met [in Davos] with the largest firms — Google, Yahoo, Cisco, Microsoft and with various cyber-security companies in group and individual meetings,” Netanyahu told the cabinet. “The expectation is that due to our special circumstances, Israel can provide a wide range of solutions in this field.”

On Sunday, the American aerospace, defense and technology company Lockheed Martin, along with EMC, a U.S. storage technology firm, announced plans for a joint R&D project to be located at the advanced technology science park in Be’er Sheva. Via partnerships with Israeli industry, government and academic institutions including Ben-Gurion University, the venture will focus on cloud computing, big data and cyber-security communications technology. The initial investment in the venture is to be $1 million, the two companies said.

“From the Talmud to Einstein, Jewish people were always asking questions,” the prime minister said. “The questioning mind is something in our culture and adds very much to our capacities. We’re very small, everything is close by, and everyone competes and collaborates with each other.”

“This is an invitation to innovation nation, it’s open for business, it’s open for your business, please come join us,” he stated.

Read more at www.haaretz.com/business, or watch the speech below:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uB1gPj6m-D0[/youtube]