The Israeli and US governments are jointly investing an additional $8 million in energy R&D; Israel’s cabinet has approved the latest phase of the “Digital Israel” program being promoted by the Ministry of Social Equality; Israel’s unemployment rate fell to 4.1% in July, and much more.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
US-Israel energy R&D budget triples
The Israeli and US governments are jointly to invest an additional $8 million in energy research and development, in addition to the $4 million already invested through the BIRD Energy Fund since 2009. New research fields include fuels, smart grid, desalination and energy cybersecurity.
Israel’s cabinet has approved the latest phase of the “Digital Israel” program being promoted by the Ministry of Social Equality. It aims to narrow social and geographical gaps, reduce the cost of living, promote rights in healthcare and welfare, stimulate growth and improve access to government services.
July unemployment rate at 4.1% – a new low
Israel’s unemployment rate fell to 4.1% in July, down from 4.3% in June. Participation in the labor force for the 25-64 age group rose from 79.8% in June to 80.1% in July.
OECD praises Israel’s growing economy & low unemployment
The Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) issued a new laudatory report on the Israeli economy. Low unemployment and 2017/8 growth of 3.25% was good and would increase with Finance Ministry budget plans.
Israel is a cybersecurity powerhouse
Ambassador Yoram Ettinger writes that Israel has 300 cybersecurity startups, exporting $6.5 billion in 2016. Three are among WSJ’s top 25 tech companies to watch. 2017 Israeli cybersecurity investment and exits are huge. Israel and the US have set up a cybersecurity bilateral group.
Israeli-founded biotech exits for $11.9 billion
US giant Gilead has just bought Kite (a biotech founded by Israel’s Arie Belldegrun) for $11.9 billion. Kite’s CAR-T technology was developed by Weizmann Institute’s Professor Zelig Eshhar. A patient’s own immune system T-cells are genetically engineered to attack tumors.
Mazor Robotics strengthens alliance with Medtronic
Israel’s Mazor Robotics entered into a strategic agreement with US giant Medtronic in 2016. Medtronic is now assuming exclusive worldwide distribution of the Mazor X surgical assurance platform for spine surgery. It is also investing a further $40 million in Mazor.
Racing for cheaper sports goods
6,000 Israelis attended the opening of a huge Decathlon sporting goods chain branch in Rishon Lezion – its first in Israel. Decathlon’s business model is to provide good value prices, mainly through private brands and own-name sporting goods, rather than through leading well-known brands.
Build your own mobile app in a snap
Israeli startup AppsVillage is the Wix of smartphones, helping small businesses build an app quickly. AppsVillage has already attracted some 1,000 customers in the past three months, mainly in Israel, and is now launching its service in the US.
Diamond tech is priceless (almost)
Israeli ecommerce and diamond technology company R2Net has been bought by Signet – the world’s largest diamond jewelry retailer – for $328 million. R2Net’s Segoma Imaging Technologies has developed 360° diamond display, the virtual ring sizer and the ring try-on mobile app.
Skoda opens Israeli tech office
Car maker Skoda is to open an Israeli Digilab office, to search for advanced smart car technologies and investment opportunities that can be included in the brand’s technological systems. Skoda said its Israeli presence will give it direct access to innovative projects, high-tech startups, and IT talents.
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