The Hard Life in Israel Also Leverages Achievements
Among the world’s leading economies, Israel is ranked second in the category of business growth environments. Grant Thornton, the company that conducted the GDI – Global Dynamism Index research, wrote: “Did you know, for example, that Israel has the highest concentration of hi-tech companies in the world outside of Silicon Valley? Or that Israel has more scientists and technicians per capita than any other economy?”
True, Israel has a lot of smart, innovative people. But reaching these impressive standings and succeeding big-time requires big ambition as well, and that’s something that often stems from adversity.
Objectively speaking, Israel does not have it easy. The World Bank report Doing Business 2017 ranks Israel in 52nd place worldwide out of 190 countries regarding the general ease of conducting all aspects of business, far behind the U.S. (8th), New Zealand (1st), Denmark (3rd) and Britain (7th). The World Bank also ranks Israel 98th in the world for the paying taxes indicator and 89th for enforcing contracts.
Surveys aside, there are also the facts on the ground. Israel is a tiny country surrounded by enemies. Israeli businesspeople know that the local market share is limited. It is not possible to travel to neighboring states to do business with them, either; this isn’t Europe. So, from childhood on we are taught to think big, to understand the paramount value of English as a second language, and to create products that are already suited to the global market from their inception.
Sure, it would be nice if we were Switzerland or New Zealand, but here in the State of Israel, grappling with challenges propels us forward to success. Living in little Israel are many individuals who are prepared to take a risk and that, in conjunction with almost infinite ambition, leads to triumphant coping with the difficulties along the way and becoming the cream of the crop in their fields. On a practical level, when you encounter an obstacle, you must delve into the essence of the reality you’re facing as well as the essence and feasibility of your own desires. Believe me, when you grow up constantly having to sink or swim, you learn to swim really well.
Dr. Amit Goffer, founder of the ReWalk robotics company, had to deal not only with the difficulties involved in setting up a new company in Israel but also with the personal tragedy that rendered him a quadriplegic and spurred him to develop the ReWalk wearable exoskeleton.
One day in 1997, Dr. Goffer – an electronics engineer and medical equipment entrepreneur, set out for his first and last ever ride on an ATV. The vehicle was faulty and slammed into a tree trunk, breaking Dr. Goffer’s neck and leaving him paralyzed. His condition inspired him to work relentlessly, day and night, trying to find a way to avoid being stuck in a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
After conceiving the product and learning there were over a million quadriplegics in the Western world who could potentially benefit from it, he got the new company up and running, so to speak. Unfortunately, so far Dr. Goffer has personally been unable to take advantage of the product he developed, but ReWalk is providing hope and improving lives for hundreds of disabled persons the world over. The U.S. government even purchases the Israeli product for its paralyzed soldiers.
Bruce Lee famously once said, “To hell with the circumstances, I create opportunities!” And that’s who we are in the Israeli culture: we create opportunities; we exit the bubble of difficulty and enter the creative world, where we take chances and don’t give up. Israelis created the Smart Dripper to address the matter of irrigation in a semi-arid climate. Israelis developed the Iron Dome system in response to incessant missile attacks on our civilians. Israelis wrote the WAZE navigation app due to the endless traffic jams in our crowded little country. We take lemons and make million-dollar, world-changing lemonade…
If you want to learn more about the State of Israel and how to do business effectively with Israelis, you can purchase the Amazon bestseller Israeli Business Culture at https://www.amazon.com/Israeli-Business-Culture-Effective-Relationship/dp/9659250401/, and if you’re interested in personal consulting, workshops or lectures on bridging cultural gaps, speaking to multicultural audiences, relocation or any other cross-cultural communication subject, you’re more than welcome to browse www.olm-consulting.com and to contact Osnat Lautman at firstname.lastname@example.org.