משה פרל
Moshe Pearl
Attendees at a high-tech conference in Jerusalem

Israel high-tech sector's success has gone to its head

Opinion: At times when Israeli high-tech firms splurge millions on eye-popping company events, the wealth gap between the flourishing sector and the rest of the Israeli public keeps widening, and the anger is growing

Moshe Pearl |
Published: 09.24.21, 14:22
At the peak of the past summer, when many Israelis were still reeling from the economic crisis spurred on by the pandemic, high-tech companies were throwing lavish parties to please their spoiled employees.
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  • Some of these parties were even conducted simultaneously in several time zones, so that company workers all over the world could celebrate together. This phenomenon seems to become an ironic symbol of a national problem: our high-tech success got to our head.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    Attendees at the JerusML conference in Jerusalem, Nov. 11
    Attendees at the JerusML conference in Jerusalem, Nov. 11
    Attendees at a high-tech conference in Jerusalem
    (Photo: Daniel Hanoch)
    These events are part of a campaign in which high-tech companies are trying to attract and impress potential candidates to come work for them. In an era where the money invested in the sector is beyond the scope of imagination, many rapidly growing companies constantly find themselves short of employees.
    Therefore, as recruitment challenges grow, so does the appetite for more employees, and the race to lure possible candidates becomes more and more ridiculous. As a result, we seem to approach the point of no return in the relationship between our thriving high-tech sector and the rest of the Israeli public.
    On the one hand, the Israeli economy can't survive without high tech since its contribution, in all aspects, is vital. On the other hand, as the high-tech sector splurges top dollar on eye-popping company events, a crisis in Israeli society's relationship with it is only a matter of time.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    The Gav-Yam Negev High-Tech (Advanced Technologies) Park in Be'er Sheva
    The Gav-Yam Negev High-Tech (Advanced Technologies) Park in Be'er Sheva
    The Gav-Yam Negev High-Tech (Advanced Technologies) Park in Be'er Sheva
    (Photo: Lahav Dekel)
    For instance, how do you think an Israel Border Police officer — who spent years risking their life at checkpoints — feels when they can't even get a mortgage, while their friend at Israeli Intelligence Corps Unit 8200 makes millions right after their discharge from the army and is being sought after by real estate developers.
    This issue begs the question — is someone who served three years in a combat unit less deserving to enjoy the fruits of their labor than those who served in intelligence or technology units?
    When these kinds of questions are raised, the high-tech sector is taking a step closer to the place where the real estate sector in Israel was 50 years ago or the financial sector 30 years ago. They are getting one step closer to being hated by most of the Israeli public.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    Police forces question Palestinian workers near the border crossing into the northern West Bank on Tuesday
    Police forces question Palestinian workers near the border crossing into the northern West Bank on Tuesday
    Border Police officers question Palestinian workers near a border crossing in the northern West Bank
    (Photo: AFP)
    This scenario already happened in Jerusalem in the 1980s. The city's elites, who were mostly government officials and academics, started to feel unwelcomed. As a result, they began to relocate to other cities like Modi'in or Mevaseret Zion, and this move crushed Jerusalem economically.
    All of us need to look at the events in Jerusalem as a metaphor and help stop this depraved, greedy and immoral behavior of the high-tech industry before it's too late. Because throwing lavish parties to impress candidates while the rest of the country is still dealing with the effects of the pandemic does the exact opposite.
    It's like chocolate — when you eat it in moderate quantities it's great, but when you eat too much, you feel sick. And eventually, the Israeli public will get sick of the high-tech sector.
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