"Jerusalem hi-tech is different from Tel Aviv hi-tech. I'm not saying that it is good or bad, but it is different. Jerusalem is a city of drama, a city that creates contradictions and lives on contradictions. We need to take Jerusalem's contradictions, Jerusalem's difference, and Jerusalem's drama as a positive drama of cooperation and not as a negative drama of conflict," said Erel Margalit, Chairman and Founder of Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) and Margalit Startup City. Margalit was speaking at the opening of Calcalist's and Bank Hapoalim's JerusalemTech Conference on Wednesday.
Margalit went on to talk about the difficulty and uniqueness of Jerusalem. "Just a month-and-a-half ago the tension on the streets turned this city into a battlefield. We need to take that tension, the drama, and passion between the people and turn it into a strength.
“Jerusalem is also a spiritual and religious place, and also a place in which movies are made and hi-tech companies are built. A place in which people study at a university, the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, film school, and a yeshiva. People pray in mosques, synagogues, and churches, and these connections are Israel's biggest and most successful startup. Jerusalem can lead in hi-tech that connects between Jews and Arabs, the secular and religious and be a gate to the Middle East. If Tel Aviv is the most fascinating city in Israel, Jerusalem will be the most fascinating city in the Middle East over the coming years."
According to Margalit, innovation is the key to rebuilding cities from a financial, cultural, and social aspect, in Jerusalem, the Galilee, and the Negev. "That is what we did with Margalit Startup City and I'm calling on the government to join our program in Jerusalem and in the seven new growth areas in Israel, a plan that takes Israeli tech out of the Tel Aviv borders and to the Galilee, Negev, Haifa, the Western Negev, and Jerusalem."
Jerusalem mayor Moshe Lion spoke of the advantages Israel's capital provides for tech companies. "Every company that respects itself and wants the best possible future will find its place in Jerusalem. We have the law to encourage investments that results in companies paying less tax once they make a profit, a huge supply of employees, and training programs," Lion said at the event. "The words ‘Jerusalem’ and ‘hi-tech’ have become more and more synonymous over recent years. Terms like ‘innovation’ and ‘technology’ are becoming part of Jerusalem's DNA. Israel's capital is also establishing its place as the hi-tech capital and we plan on strengthening this trend as much as we can."
Participants in the event included: Reuben Krupik, Bank Hapoalim Chairman, Hasan Abasi, co-founder and CEO of HAAT, a delivery platform headquartered in Umm-al Fahm, Zada Haj, CEO of DANA Accelerator, and Yael Fainaro, SVP Security at Synamedia.