"Facebook was amazed by the amount of talent in such a small country like Israel," Facebook VP EMEA Nicola Mendelsohn told President Shimon Peres today, following Facebook Inc.'s acquisition of Onavo Ltd., which will become Facebook's development center in Israel.
"It was a momentous decision for Facebook to open its first R&D center outside the US. We chose Israel in the knowledge that the best talent is found here. Onavo, the Israeli company that we acquired with all its know how in data compression, will help Facebook achieve its vision of linking the largest number of users possible in the world, including, of course, Africa and the Middle East. We are waiting impatiently for the establishment of the Facebook Israel team in the coming months and years."
Asked how other countries could emulate Israel's technological and development achievements, Peres told Mendelsohn that Israelis' outstanding character traits were chutzpah and dissatisfaction, which encouraged innovation and thinking outside the box. "Israelis always strive to learn, investigate, and break borders. Israeli Chutzpah does not rest, entrepreneurship is in our DNA."
Peres added, "The establishment of a Facebook development center in Israel will contribute greatly to Facebook. Out of Israel's lack of natural resources, the best brains grew and built a thriving high-tech industry. Your investment in Israel is just the start. Israeli start-ups have huge potential for international innovation and Facebook."