Ramat Gan general view.
(photo credit: RAMAT GAN MUNICIPALITY)
After years of reaping the fruits of proper investment into its hi-tech ecosystem, the so-called Start-Up Nation may be on the brink of turning a corner, according to Avi Hasson, who heads the Office of the Chief Scientist in the Economy Ministry and the newly formed National Authority for Technology and Innovation, or NATI.
“As a result of the extensive activities that took place in Israel in the last two decades, we have achieved exceptional things,” Hasson said Wednesday while presenting the second annual Innovation Report to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “But it seems that the ‘seven years’ of plenty have ended, and that we are nearing our glass ceiling,” he added.
Hasson’s warning alluded to a biblical story, in which Joseph interprets the dreams of Egypt’s Pharoah, correctly predicting that seven plentiful harvest years will be followed by seven years of famine.
Several indicators, the report said, showed a weakening of Israel’s hi-tech industry relative to the global industry.
In receiving the report, Netanyahu agreed that Israeli could not rest on its laurels, and said that there are some proposals in the upcoming budget to address the issue.
“Some of them require a new vision, a much broader vision, on the primary resource that pushes innovation, and that is our manpower,” he said.
According to the report, one of the most pressing problems Israel’s technological sector faces is that the work force lacks the proper skills to keep up with the technological sector’s needs.
The government, it added, has reduced its support of R&D as a share of GDP by a “significant and worrying” amount, and needs to find new support tools to encourage industrial innovation, such as reducing regulations for testing and implementing technologies in Israel.