President Isaac Herzog regarded the ongoing controversy and debate surrounding the new government’s proposed judicial reforms today during the opening plenary session of the OurCrowd Global Investor Summit on Wednesday, calling for both sides of the conversation to attempt to reach a suitable compromise.
“I think the same way you see the innovative spirit of the State of Israel, you also see it in this debate and I am very proud of my brothers and sisters ‒ the Israelis taking an active role in the debate from all of its sides. All I can say about myself is that I'm doing my best to direct this debate into a constructive dialogue that will lead to an agreed-upon result that will strengthen, and foster, and protect Israeli democracy,” said Herzog.
“I think the same way you see the innovative spirit of the State of Israel, you also see it in this debate and I am very proud of my brothers and sisters ‒ the Israelis taking an active role in the debate from all of its sides. All I can say about myself is that I'm doing my best to direct this debate into a constructive dialogue that will lead to an agreed-upon result that will strengthen, and foster, and protect Israeli democracy.”Isaac Herzog
Herzog’s address to the audience at OurCrowd’s Summit is particularly relevant, as one of the primary criticisms of the proposed legal reform is that weakening the system of checks and balances within Israel’s judicial system by undermining its High Court of Justice will frighten foreign investors from putting their funds into Israel.
This fear has proven to hold water, as official reports from several global finance organizations such as JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs have acknowledged the potential risk that the reform poses toward both foreign direct investment and the nation’s sovereign credit score.
“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,” stated a representative of S&P in January.
During an interview with The Jerusalem Post, OurCrowd CEO Jon Medved commented on the reform controversy, saying “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.”
“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.”Jon Medved
The Israeli hi-tech community — which depends heavily on direct foreign investment — has raised a significant kerfuffle in protest of the reform in recent weeks via a series of strikes, public letters addressed to the government and Israeli tech 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.”
Life According to Abraham
Over 9,000 investors, entrepreneurs and tech executives from over 81 countries around the world were in attendance at the Summit, which began with a joint press conference on the Abraham Accords. Since their ratification in 2020, businesses in Israel and its Arab neighbors — particularly the UAE and Morocco — have been rapidly enriching their relationships with one another via a bevy of MOUs, business agreements and deals.
OurCrowd — the world’s leading online venture investing platform, with over $2.1B in commitments, deployed capital in 380 portfolio companies and 42 funds around the world — has been a forefront player in those post-Accords business dealings. “The Abraham Accords are now facilitating significant progress on technology, business, and investment between Israel and its Arab neighbors and we are proud to be playing a catalyzing and facilitating role in this remarkable development,” said Medved during the conference.
“The Middle East is coming together today at the OurCrowd Summit with large delegations from the UAE, Morocco and more countries from the region. The presence of dozens of startups, investors and government officials from these and other countries represents a huge vote of confidence in the future,” he added.
Dr. Sabah al-Binali, Executive Chairman and partner of OurCrowd Arabia, also spoke during the press conference, noting the importance of distinguishing the various challenges presented by forging brand-new business relationships between Israel and its new collaborating nations.
“The challenge is not about a firm being Israeli ‒ the challenges are about two new markets. If you look where we started in 2021, the Israeli VC system was being flooded with money from around the world; trying to build a relationship takes time,” Binali said. “The flip side is that when you look at the UAE, they have been deploying capital around the world already, so this is just another market that is opened up and [we’re] getting to know each other.”