Islamic State: The Contagion Spreads

The upsurge of terrorism and unrest in Israel is not solely a product of the fallout of the Gaza war or the failures of the peace process. Rather, argues Jonathan D. Halevi, it is also tied to the successes of Islamic State (IS):

In the new Middle East, increasingly Islamic in character, the winds of jihad are sweeping the masses, and would appear to be the main driving force behind the recent wave of Palestinian violence, not born of political or economic despair but rather hopeful of cracking Israeli confidence and realizing the dream of the liberation of Palestine from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River, with Jerusalem as capital city of the caliphate. These are also the principles expressed by leaders of the Islamic Movement within the state of Israel who identify with the Muslim Brotherhood.

The more the Islamic caliphate [established by IS] continues to boost its rule in Iraq and Syria and looks certain to destabilize Jordan, the greater are the chances of the collapse of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and the expansion of Palestinian violence toward Israel in its various names—popular intifada, armed intifada, or terrorist assault.

Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: ISIS, Israeli Security, Palestinian terror

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