Google chief praises Israel's 'world-class' high-tech sector

By Jennifer Lipman, June 26, 2012

One of the most influential figures in technology has praised Israel for its emphasis on science and engineering and has predicted that the country would punch above its weight as high tech continues to develop.

Eric Schmidt, the chairman of Google, posted his thoughts after visiting Israel.

On his Google Plus page, he said the country felt "very peaceful, and very much like Silicon Valley".

"To see the tiny Old City of Jerusalem, crucially important to three world religions, is to understand why people have fought over centuries for this land," he wrote.

Mr Schmidt said he believed the Jewish state would have "an oversized impact on the evolution of the next stage of the technology we all use" and praised it for its "world-class" achievements.

He gave four reasons for Israel's disproportionate influence on the high-tech sector, naming its commitment to scientific education as one reason, and suggesting that the "Israeli [military's] push in cyberintelligence will generate many new network security startups".

He also noted that the internet boosted Israeli business because it took away the traditional geographic borders. "There are a number of "under the radar" Israeli firms serving customers in Turkey, China, and other Asian countries, where they would never have been able to operate before."

Mr Schmidt highlighted the "live for today" attitude of Israelis due to the security situation, which he said could encourage entrepreneurs to take more risks.

"We should expect much more investment in high technology in Israel, and many more startups as the next generation of the Internet unfolds," he said.

Last updated: 11:25am, June 26 2012