Facing Discontent, Tunisia’s President Blames the Jews

While the roughly 2,000 Jews currently living in Tunisia are but a fraction of the population of over 100,000 that was present at the end of World War II, they nonetheless constitute one of the largest and most secure Jewish communities in the Arab world. Given their small numbers, it is difficult to believe that they have much influence over the country. Tunisia’s president, however, seems to think otherwise, as Edy Cohen writes:

Ten years after the so-called “Arab Spring” began in Tunisia, that country is in the headlines once again. A series of violent demonstrations have taken place there against a backdrop of economic hardship. The Tunisian president Kais Saied, troubled by the demonstrations, employed the traditional means of gathering support and deflecting complaint away from himself: he blamed Israel and the Jews.

President Saied . . . stated on a recent visit to a Tunis suburb that the Jews are nothing but thieves. “We know very well who the people are who are controlling the country today,” he said to a crowd in a speech that was captured on video. “It is the Jews who are doing the stealing, and we need to put an end to it.” The accusation of theft is a well-known anti-Semitic slur that has been used against the Jews for centuries.

Saied was elected two years ago on campaign promises that he would maintain no ties with Israel, that normalization with Israel constitutes treason, and that he would bar Israelis from visiting the country. That being said, Saied has not issued any criticism of the four Arab states that signed peace agreements with Israel in recent months.

Read more at BESA Center

More about: Anti-Semitism, Arab Spring, Tunisia

Despite the Toll of War at Home and Rising Hostility Abroad, Investors Are Still Choosing Israel

When I first saw news that Google wasn’t going through with its acquisition of the tech startup Wiz, I was afraid hesitancy over its Israeli founders and close ties with the Jewish state might have something to do with it. I couldn’t have been more wrong: the deal is off not because of Google’s hesitancy, but because Wiz feared the FTC would slow down the process with uncertain results. The company is instead planning an initial public offering. In the wake of the CrowdStrike debacle, companies like Wiz have every reason to be optimistic, as Sophie Shulman explains:

For the Israeli cyber sector, CrowdStrike’s troubles are an opportunity. CrowdStrike is a major competitor to Palo Alto Networks, and both companies aim to provide comprehensive cyber defense platforms. The specific issue that caused the global Windows computer shutdown is related to their endpoint protection product, an area where they compete with Palo Alto’s Cortex products developed in Israel and the SentinelOne platform.

Friday’s drop in CrowdStrike shares reflects investor frustration and the expectation that potential customers will now turn to competitors, strengthening the position of Israeli companies. This situation may renew interest in smaller startups and local procurement in Israel, given how many institutions were affected by the CrowdStrike debacle.

Indeed, it seems that votes of confidence in Israeli technology are coming from many directions, despite the drop in the Tel Aviv stock exchange following the attack from Yemen, and despite the fact that some 46,000 Israeli businesses have closed their doors since October 7. Tel Aviv-based Cyabra, which creates software that identifies fake news, plans a $70 million IPO on Nasdaq. The American firm Applied Systems announced that it will be buying a different Israeli tech startup and opening a research-and-development center in Israel. And yet another cybersecurity startup, founded by veterans of the IDF’s elite 8200 unit, came on the scene with $33 million in funding. And those are the stories from this week alone.

But it’s not only the high-tech sector that’s attracting foreign investment. The UK-based firm Energean plans to put approximately $1.2 billion into developing a so-far untapped natural-gas field in Israel’s coastal waters. Money speaks much louder than words, and it seems Western businesses don’t expect Israel to become a global pariah, or to collapse in the face of its enemies, anytime soon.

Read more at Calcalist

More about: cybersecurity, Israeli economy, Israeli gas, Israeli technology, Start-up nation