(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
As a result of government cuts to research and development, more then 25,000 Israeli high-tech workers have moved to the United States during the last seven years, this according statement issued on Monday by Shraga Brosh, president of the Manufacturers Association of Israel.
Brosh further stated that these same budget cuts have resulted in US 10 billion dollars of lost export revenues, and that only by earmarking an additional NIS 2 billion for research and development in the 2008 budget will the situation begin to reverse.
According to Brosh, Israel is suffering from a "brain-drain," which is costing the country more than NIS 6.5 billion a year. He added that since 2000, government cuts amounting to NIS 4.5 billion have forced high-tech companies to move their activities overseas, where they receive better benefits and opportunities.
A study conducted by the Economic Department of the Manufacturers Association of Israel found that government support of the Israeli business sector currently stands at 5 percent, as opposed to 20% between 1990 and 1996. The study found the level of governmental investment places Israel 17th in the developed world, behind Poland, Italy, the Czeck Republic, France, Britain, the United States, Norway, Mexico, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, South Korea, New Zealand, and Portugal.
In light of these findings, the organization called on Finance Minister Roni Bar-On to add NIS 2 billion to the budget for high-tech research.