Last week, Justice Minister Yariv Levin visited the home of the founder of the Viola venture capital fund, Shlomo Dovrat, to meet with some of the leading figures in Israel’s tech industry. These figures included Facebook Israel chief executive Adi Soffer Teeni, Wix chairman Nir Zohar, Fiverr co-founder and CEO Micha Kaufman, and founding partner of venture capital fund Disruptive, Tal Barnoach, who is the one of the main voices of protest against judicial reform.
For the five technology leaders, as well as ironSource CEO Tomer Bar-Zeev, who was not present at this meeting due to a trip to the United States, this was another one of a series of frustrating meetings. The group previously met with Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy Minister Ron Dermer, a close confidant of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee Chairman MK Simcha Rothman , and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich.
Polite language but dialogue of the deaf
Levin, Rothman, Smotrich and Dermer listened to tech leaders on their choice to set up companies overseas and on the beginning of a wave of foreign investors leaving Israel and on the expected emigration of engineers and on the budget of the state which encourages large populations not to learn English and mathematics and on the general direction which they believe will lead to destruction.
In all meetings, polite language prevailed and reasoned positions were presented. But it was a dialogue of the deaf. Tech executives talked about the economy and received legal answers. They talked about foreign investors, and politicians responded with examples from other modes of governance or claims on the will of the people. A person familiar with those present noted that for them it was “a meeting without accomplishments. They left more worried than they entered”.
Except for the president, the only one who listened was Ron Dermer
The only one who listened to tech leaders, except for President Isaac Herzog, was Dermer, who bridges Netanyahu’s relationship with the Republican Party in the United States, and expressed sympathy for tech leaders and his willingness to help.
A spokesperson for the tech leaders declined to comment.
Published by Globes, Israel business news – en.globes.co.il – March 5, 2023.
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