OpEd: Amid Conflict, Israel’s Tech Sector Embodies Resilience and Innovation

By Avi Hasson, CEO Start-Up Nation Central 


As Israel grapples with the horror unleashed by Hamas, the extraordinary resilience and steadfastness of our high-tech sector is galvanized for the war effort. The tech industry, a cornerstone of our national identity and a key driver of our economy is showing the world that even in the shadow of conflict, innovation doesn’t pause; it perseveres. 

The current crisis has deeply personal ramifications for the tech community. With 15-20% of our sector’s professionals, translating to approximately 60,000 individuals, called up for reserve duty, the human resources of our tech companies are significantly strained. These are not faceless soldiers; they are our colleagues, friends, and family members, integral to the creativity and energy that fuel our renowned start-up ecosystem. 

Despite this, there’s been a remarkable continuity in operations. Tech companies are maintaining their service commitments to global customers, a feat that speaks to the sector’s robust emergency protocols and the deep commitment of those who remain on the job. This resilience is sending a powerful message to the world: the Israeli tech sector is built to withstand even the most severe disruptions. 

However, the impact of the conflict on the sector extends beyond human capital. The ripple effects are causing delays in product launches, disruptions in R&D schedules, and slowdowns in fundraising activities. For early-stage and seed startups, particularly vulnerable to market uncertainties, the situation is even more precarious. There’s a genuine concern that the prolonged conflict and the accompanying economic instability could jeopardize a generation of innovation, setting back our tech sector’s growth. 

Yet, it’s precisely in these challenging times that the Israeli entrepreneurial spirit can be a source of strength and inspiration. Startups are displaying remarkable agility, pivoting their business strategies to adapt to the new reality. We’re seeing an acceleration in innovations geared toward security, remote work technology, and communication solutions — areas of immediate relevance. 

Furthermore, the crisis has galvanized unprecedented levels of support from international business communities. Global tech giants, many of which have significant operations in Israel, are offering assistance in various forms, from financial to logistical. Private equity firms, venture capitalists, and individual investors are exploring ways to keep the funding pipeline open, especially for early-stage startups that are the most vulnerable. 

At Start-Up Nation Central, we are aware that our role in the ecosystem is more critical than ever. We’re actively working to connect Israeli tech firms with a broad spectrum of global resources, ensuring they have the support needed to navigate these turbulent times. Our initiatives are providing a lifeline to startups, facilitating everything from emergency funding to strategic advice. 

One of the most heartening aspects of this period has been the tech sector’s self-mobilization. Volunteer groups comprising tech professionals are offering their skills where they’re most needed, whether it’s developing emergency response software, creating communication platforms for families affected by the conflict, or providing cybersecurity solutions to counter increased digital warfare. 

As we look to the future, the path to recovery will undoubtedly be challenging. The economic aftershocks of this conflict will reverberate for years, and the tech sector, so crucial to Israel’s economy, will need sustained support to regain its momentum. But if history has taught us anything, it’s that the Israeli spirit of innovation and resilience is indomitable. 

In these darkest days, our tech sector is a source of hope and resilience. With each challenge overcome, and each new solution developed, we’re not just sustaining an industry; we’re reinforcing our national resolve to thrive against all odds. The world looks to Israel for technological leadership, and even amid the debris of conflict, we continue to forge a path of innovation, solidarity, and enduring strength. 

Avi Hasson is the CEO of Start-Up Nation Central, a Tel Aviv-based non-profit organization that promotes Israeli innovation around the world. Hasson previously served as Israel’s chief scientist and the founding chairman of the Israel Innovation Authority and as an investor in many Israeli technology companies. 

First published in USA Today, October 23rd, 2023

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