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Most multinational businesses upbeat about Israeli high-tech sector amid ongoing Hamas war

A view of the Herzliya business district in central Israel containing major global high-tech company offices. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Some 60% of multinational corporations (MNCs) that are operational in Israel, expressed confidence in the country's tech sector despite the nearly 4-month-long war with Hamas, according to a fresh poll conducted by the global accounting business Ernst & Young.

Known internationally as the Start-Up Nation for its technological innovation, Israel has attracted some 430 global technology companies that employ around 86,000 Israeli workers, which represent close to 20% of the total Israeli tech workforce. They include global giants such as IBM; Intel Corp. Google, Microsoft, Nvidia, Apple and Hewlett-Packard. The vast majority of the multinationals are American but there are also global companies from China, Great Britain and Germany.

The Israeli tech sector is concentrated around the coastline from Haifa in the north to Tel Aviv in the south. In addition, there are some tech companies in the capital Jerusalem and in Beersheva, nestled on the northern edge of the Negev Desert.

No less than 60% of the international companies surveyed believe the Iron Swords War against the Hamas terror group would have a minimal impact on their daily operations. Close to one-third, 30%, admitted that the war had a limited impact on their businesses. Only 10% of the companies predicted severe consequences for their respective operations.

Prof. Yossi Matias, CEO of the Google Research and Development Center in Israel, expressed long-term optimism amid the current challenges.

“Looking ahead to 2024, despite the challenging period, part of our essential role, is to be optimistic as some of us impact what will happen in the future, and I allow myself to be optimistic despite the difficulties and despite what we are going through and experience,” Matias said.

The senior Google official emphasized the importance of continued focus on partnerships and research.

“I believe that through further collaboration, partnership, focus on education and research, working through the complexities and, of course, supporting our people – those in reserves, too – and by putting in the necessary effort, we will be able to retain our strength, grow and come out of this challenging year even stronger,” Matias assessed.

Following the brutal attack in Israel by Hamas on Oct. 7, Israel mobilized more than 300,000 reservist soldiers within merely 48 hours. Many of these reservists play crucial roles in the Israeli technology industry and its interaction with global businesses. While the tech sector was affected by such a large number of reservists temporarily leaving the workplace to defend the state, tens of thousands of reservist soldiers have recently been released from active service and are gradually returning to civilian life.

While speaking at a business conference, Israeli President Isaac Herzog urged the multinational companies to continue supporting their local employees, who are currently in the process of returning to work.

“Returning from the front, removing the uniform, and resuming work, while their memories and perhaps even traumas remain in Gaza, are substantial events and, as such, I call upon you, at every opportunity and at all times, to preserve the rights and standing of those who have been away for three months,” Herzog said.

Following the Hamas massacre of more than 1,200 Israelis and the abduction of some 240 others into Gaza, thousands of Israeli tech professionals have volunteered to join the daunting task of searching for missing Israelis.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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