Tech Investment in Israel Outstrips All of Europe

If you ask Jon Medved, CEO of the Jerusalem-based Our Crowd venture capital group, the “issue” of Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria is no more relevant to the international business community than they would be if they were located on the moon.

“Are you kidding?” he laughs. “Listen to me: It is a non-issue. No one even knows how to spell it. It may be a big issue for diplomats and the United Nations, but it is completely orthogonal to what we are doing. It’s like a different planet.”

Speaking to TPS about Our Crowd’s equity crowdfunding platform and the state of technology investment in Israel, Medved said that since opening for business in 2013 the company has raised $400 million, invested in 110 companies and had had 13 successful “exits”. Even more significantly, he said the scope and breadth of international interest in and support for the local technology sector means the current numbers will grow exponentially in the coming years.

“Israel is hotter than ever, growing at a rapid pace. $4.8 billion was invested in Israeli technology companies last year, of which 85 percent came from abroad.

“Compare that to Europe – $13.6 billion last year for their 700 million people, compared to our 8.5 million people. So we’re about 30-to-1 over them in the tech sector. It’s not an exaggeration to say that people simply can’t get enough of it,” he said.

Both in order to ramp up the level of investment in Israeli tech companies and to facilitate investment opportunities for investors around the world, Our Crowd has created an investment platform to match local start-ups with small-to-medium investors by adapting the crowdfunding model to the hi-tech sector.

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“Moderate” Muslim Brotherhood Mourns Terrorist’s Death

Calls for revenge and glowing eulogies for Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman by the Muslim Brotherhood and its followers dealt a blow to efforts to paint it as a moderate group.

Abdel Rahman, known as the “Blind Sheikh,” died Saturday in a U.S. prison where he was serving a life sentence for a seditious conspiracy to launch what prosecutors called a “war of urban terrorism” against targets around New York City. He also helped plot the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993 that killed six people and injured 1,042.

“May Allah’s blessings be upon him, the deceased of the Islamic call, who was imprisoned by different repressive regimes, who was falsely and unfairly accused of terrorism by the Unites States of America, while being old and blind Sheikh, it also prevented him from receiving medical care until he met his Lord, Oh Allah please accept him and have mercy upon him,” the Muslim Brotherhood General Office said.

Andrew McCarthy, who prosecuted Abdel Rahman, noted in a National Review Online column that the “Blind Sheikh” was proud of being a terrorist. This fact ought to raise red flags about the character of the Muslim Brotherhood.

McCarthy cited this Abdel Rahman statement as an example: “Why do we fear the word terrorist? If the terrorist is the person who defends his right, so we are terrorists. And if the terrorist is the one who struggles for the sake of God, then we are terrorists. We . . . have been ordered with terrorism because we must prepare what power we can to terrorize the enemy of Allah and your enemy. The Koran says ‘to strike terror.’ Therefore, we don’t fear to be described with ‘terrorism.’ . . . They may say, ‘He is a terrorist, he uses violence, he uses force.’ Let them say that. We are ordered to prepare whatever we can of power to terrorize the enemies of Islam.”

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Nikki Haley’s First Hurrah

Four months ago, when South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley was nominated by the president-elect as US ambassador to the United Nations, I wrote that there was reason to hope she would live up to the legacies of Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Jeanne Kirkpatrick and John Bolton as “shining beacons in the Midtown Manhattan snake pit.”

Though at the time, I could not judge whether she was the right person for the job, it appeared that she possessed the kind of moral clarity – and tough skin — required in an arena filled with people whose key purpose is to cloud the distinction between good and evil. Indeed, it takes a special kind of envoy to maneuver the Orwellian universe in which the international body operates, where Western values are on a lower hierarchical rung than third world culture. And where a mockery is made of the concept of human rights, the championing and upholding of which the organization was originally established to safeguard.

One indicator that Haley seemed to fit the bill was that she, the daughter of Indian immigrants who went through legal channels to become Americans, signed a law to crack down on illegal immigration. Another was her introducing legislation to outlaw boycotts, divestment and sanctions “based on race, color, religion, gender, or national origin of the targeted person or entity.” Since Israel has been the focus of BDS campaigns everywhere, it was clear what she had in mind. No wonder her appointment caused Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations Riyad Mansour to flinch.

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Mansour was right to be worried, just as I now believe my high hopes were well-founded, when Haley was confirmed.

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U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley Rips Security Council’s ‘Breathtaking’ Anti-Israel Bias

Newly seated U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley pretty much tore up the Security Council while delivering recent remarks, ripping into members for their blatant and biased anti-Israel views and putting them on notice that the America under President Donald Trump won’t stand for such rhetoric.

Haley made the comments after emerging from her first regular meeting of the Security Council, which gathers monthly.

She opened by asking the members to respect her views, and assuring that she would display a similar courtesy for theirs.

Then she said this: “I have to admit, it was a bit strange.”

She was speaking of the Security Council’s discussions, which she had thought were going to focus on international security, Iran’s nuclear development, terrorism from ISIS, Syria’s Bashar Assad and his murderous acts against his own people – topics she said were proper for the global body to consider.

“Instead,” Haley said, “the meeting focused on criticizing Israel, the one true democracy in the Middle East.”

And then came the warning.

“I’m here to say the United States will not turn a blind eye to this anymore,” she said. “I’m here to underscore the ironclad support of the United States for Israel.”

From there, she brought up the “breathtaking” biases of the Security Council.

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Le Pen refuses to wear headscarf, walks out of meeting with Grand Mufti

Far-right French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen cancelled a meeting with Lebanon’s Grand Mufti after refusing to wear a headscarf.

“You can pass on my respects to the Grand Mufti, but I will not cover myself up,” she told reporters.

The front National leader was told by Lebanese officials that she would have to wear a veil for her audience with Grand Sunni Muslim Mufti, Sheikh Abdel-Latif Derian.

Video footage shows Ms Le Pen at the entrance to his office shaking her head.

Ms Le Pen said that in a meeting in Egypt with the Grand Imam of al-Azhar – considered by some Muslims to be the highest authority in Sunni Islamic thought – and she had not been forced to cover her head.

“He did not have this demand,” said Ms Le Pen. “But it’s not a problem, you can pass on to the Grand Mufti my considerations, but I am not putting the veil on.”

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US Ambassador to the UN comes out swinging on Israel bias

In her first press briefing, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley came out swinging.

After sharing with reporters impressions from her first Security Council meeting on Middle East issues (“it was a bit strange”), Haley vowed that the US would no longer turn a blind eye to the UN’s outrageous bias against the Jewish state.

“We will not repeat the mistake of [Security Council] Resolution 2334 [which castigated Israel for settlement building], instead we will push for action on the real threats in the Middle East.”

Haley mentioned Hezbollah’s illegal buildup of rockets in Lebanon, the money and weapons Iran provides to terrorists, strategies for defeating ISIS, and holding Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad accountable for the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of civilians.

None of these issues was raised at the meeting, Haley noted, yet the council did find the time to castigate Israel.

Throughout her short comment, the former governor of South Carolina articulated her criticisms respectfully, never once deviating from polite Southern etiquette.

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