Over 6000 attendees are registered for the upcoming OurCrowd Summit 2023 on February 15, and attendance hasn’t been affected at all by the unrest surrounding the new government's proposed judicial reforms, according to OurCrowd CEO Jon Medved.
The annual international event hosted by OurCrowd gathers investors from around the globe to address challenges facing hi-tech startups. This year, over 80 countries are slated to participate and more than 111 delegations from 30 nations are expected to arrive at the Summit.
While experts, industry insiders and hi-tech executives have all warned against the threat that the proposed judicial reform poses to Israel’s reputation among foreign investors, it doesn’t seem as though it has made an impact on the Summit’s foreign guest list, said Medved — “Not in the least.”
According to opponents of the legal overhaul, its minimization of the High Court’s power stands to gravely impact several key aspects of Israel’s economy, namely its reputation among foreign investors and its sovereign credit rating. Already several international finance organizations, including JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs, have expressed concern over how the reform will impact Israel from an investment perspective, and in January a representative of S&P stated that “A consistent tendency to weaken key and essential institutions or the system of checks and balances is liable to increase the risk of a reduction of Israel’s credit rating.”
Medved has concerns too
Medved told The Jerusalem Post that, as far as OurCrowd is concerned, the narrative surrounding the event is exclusively on investment, and not engaging in the currently boiling political narrative which surrounds it. “We're not talking about Israeli internal politics… we're focused on investment and not legal reform,” he said.
That isn’t to say that OurCrowd isn’t aware of the reform and how it will likely impact the Israeli economy, but at an organizational level, the company is playing things close to the chest. “It's something that we are watching, obviously, with great concern and individual feelings. But we're a big platform, and we don't have the luxury to take a political stance. We don't think that it's healthy for us. We have people coming from 80 countries, and if we started getting political, it would be a different kind of event and a different kind of company,” Medved said.
“We're staying away from that stuff,” he continued, adding that “We're supportive of the Israeli tech community.”
The past few weeks have seen significant protests against the reforms throughout the Israeli hi-tech community, manifesting as a series of strikes, public letters addressed to the government raising red flags and even several Israeli tech leaders and investment firms pulling out of the Israeli economy.
“We're very proud to be part of the tech community. It's a great thing that our tech community is so passionate,” Medved said. “We're excited about the fact that we live in a democracy. I hope and pray that it stays this way, and I'm confident that it will.”