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Israelis should tread lightly between the US and China trade war

Israelis should tread lightly between the US and China trade war

As trade wars between the two countries show no sign of slowing down, Amiti Ventures’ Managing Partner and Founder Ben Rabinowitz urges Israel to lean into America

James Spiro | 09:03  16.01.2021
Managing Partner and Founder of Amiti Ventures Ben Rabinowitz has urged Israelis to look to the United States as the Biden Administration prepares to take office and the “big push” it is expected to give cybersecurity and environmental companies.

“The issues of the trade wars between the U.S. and China aren’t going away, even with the new Biden Administration,” he told CTech. “It’s getting to the point where we’re picking sides of favoring one, I would always say if you’re going to lean, lean towards the United States.”

Amiti Ventures’ Managing Partner and Founder Ben Rabinowitz. Photo: Amiti Ventures Amiti Ventures’ Managing Partner and Founder Ben Rabinowitz. Photo: Amiti Ventures Amiti Ventures’ Managing Partner and Founder Ben Rabinowitz. Photo: Amiti Ventures

Rabinowitz founded Amiti Ventures in 2010 and last summer it secured its third $110 million fund to invest in early-stage tech companies. Together with Modi Rosen and Maya Pizov, the firm is looking for the next big company with “the right team for the mission” and has already been behind the early investment and scaling of prominent companies like Valens, Vayyar, and Innoviz.

Rabinowitz, who called Israel a “dominant player” in industries pertaining to AI, Machine Learning, and Semiconductors, has urged entrepreneurs and local companies to keep an open mind about some of the business that might be coming up due to President-elect Biden. “I think the U.S. will shift as a result of the Biden administration in terms of companies focusing on privacy regulation, the importance of cybersecurity, environmental issues, AI... I think those will get a big push,” he said.

The decision between China and the U.S may seem clear to some, but others have felt a dilemma when choosing where to expand. Chinese construction companies have started bidding on infrastructure projects in Israel, helping the country with its 5G and telecommunications networks. The Chinese are also expected to invest billions of dollars into Israeli technologies, which may lure Israelis into doing business with the Chinese but also something that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has explicitly warned against.

“We don’t want the Chinese Communist Party to have access to Israeli infrastructure, Israeli communication networks,” he said, according to Foreign Policy. “The kind of things that endanger the Israeli people and the ability of the U.S. to cooperate with Israel.”

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Already, there have been ample examples demonstrating that the U.S., particularly its government, could benefit from Israel’s cybersecurity technologies - largely considered to be some of the best in the world. In recent weeks, there has been an increase in cyber attacks against the U.S. government and American businesses. In December 2020, the U.S. Department of Energy, which is responsible for managing the country’s nuclear weapons, confirmed it was hit by a cyberattack believed to have been conducted on behalf of the Russian government.

“Governments need to do a much better job, we saw clear evidence of that in the last few weeks,” Rabinowitz said. “Now governments have to set standards and play a role in protecting companies...because of how software and infrastructure are changing and the threats are increasing.”

Of course, another benefit of America versus China is how the new administration will make it once again easier for Israelis to go back and forth to the U.S. if employees need to relocate. “The U.S is the number one early adopter of technology in the world and that’s the place to stay focused,” he affirmed.

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