US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Petah Tikvah’s Mayor Itzik Braverman and Executives from Oracle.
(photo credit: ORACLE/EZRA LEVY)
The US ambassador to Israel welcomed Oracle’s expansion in the country on Tuesday, singling out official American support for Israel’s burgeoning hi-tech industry.
“Here’s special recognition to Oracle for having 20 years in the State of Israel,” Ambassador David Friedman said as he began his speech in heavily American-accented Hebrew before making a shout-out to the company’s CEO. “Please extend my best wishes to Larry Ellison, who’s a great friend to Israel.”
The largest cloud computing company in the world, Oracle is based in California. The company employs some 400 Israelis and just opened a sprawling new office complex in Petah Tikva.
“All the things done here have repercussions around the world. Israel really has so much to be proud of, from what it contributes to the world economy,” Friedman said, as he touted the country’s hi-tech and start-up scene.
The ambassador joked that had the biblical Moses turned right instead of left when leaving Egypt, the Jewish people would have held some 60% of the world’s energy reserves. But with climate change and technology offering alternatives to fossil fuels, Friedman added that today, human capital is more valuable.
“About 10 or 20 years ago, the State of Israel tapped into resources much more powerful than any energy resources. They were able to tap into their engineering ability, mathematical brilliance. It’s one of the most incredible economies the world has ever seen. It’s all because of the incredible strengths and qualities of the Israeli public,” he said. “I know a lot of books have been written about the Start-Up Nation. But I don’t think people realize until they drive down these streets, just how much modern technology is rooted – the development and research – is rooted in the State of Israel.”
The ambassador then toasted the company as a rabbi blew into the shofar – a ram’s horn – which is sounded daily during the month before the Jewish New Year.
Oracle specializes in cloud computing, in which information is stored and processed on remote Internet servers rather than saved physically on a personal computer. The company had revenue of $37 billion last year.
Petah Tikva Mayor Itzik Braverman and a number of CEOs of Israeli firms also attended the event.
One hi-tech businessman at the event touted Oracle’s expansion in Israel as vindication of the country’s hi-tech scene.
“Oracle coming here is a testament to Israel,” Reveelz CEO Gil Margulis said. “When these companies come, they think only about business. And the fact that more and more companies are coming here, these type of mega-players, means that Israel is a growing player on the map and they’re going to be devoting more and more resources to hi-tech in Israel. The connections between us and the US are only deepening economically and technologically.”
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