- Sep 30, 2009
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We win. You lose.
Investor's Business Daily: How Free Israel Prospers As Islam Remains In The Dark
Israel, a New Jersey-sized nation of 7.5 million people (1.7 million of whom are Arab) filed 7,082 international patents in the five years ending in 2007. By contrast, 28 majority-Muslim nations with almost 1.2 billion people 155 times the population of Israel were granted 2,071 patents in the same period. Narrowing the comparison to the 17 Muslim nations of the Middle East from Morocco to Iran and down the Arabian Peninsula, the 409 million people in that region generated 680 patents in five years.
This means that the Arab and Iranian world produced about one patent per year for every 3 million people, compared with Israel's output of one annual patent for every 5,295 people, an Israeli rate some 568 times that of Israel's neighbors and sometime enemies.
The awarding of Nobel Prizes in the quantitative areas of chemistry, economics and physics shows a similar disparity, with five Israeli winners compared with one French Algerian (a Jew who earned the prize for work done in France) and an Egyptian-American (for work done at Caltech in California).
But wealth isn't the sole explanation for this disparity in intellectual innovation. Saudi Arabia enjoyed a per capita income of $24,200 in 2010. Yet the Kingdom averages an anemic 37 patents per year compared with Israel's 1,416 per year and there are 3 1/2 times more Saudis than Israelis, meaning that Israel's per capita output of intellectual property is 132 times greater than Saudi Arabia's.
The telltale signs of Israel's economic rise can be seen in the Tel Aviv skyline and the new office complexes around Jerusalem. International giant Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. was founded in 1901 by three pharmacists in Jerusalem. Today it employs 40,000 around the world. Teva has a market cap of $44.2 billion the most highly valued company based in Israel and the ninth-largest firm traded on the Nasdaq
A few miles from Teva's gleaming office campus west of the Old City sits the former national mint building for the British Mandate. Built in 1937, this renovated building, along with the old Ottoman Empire railway warehouses next to it, houses the JVP Media Quarter and 300 entrepreneurs.
The complex hosts Israel's leading venture capital firm, Jerusalem Venture Partners, as well as 35 startups and a performing arts center for good measure. JVP, which has helped launch 70 companies since 1993, has more than $820 million under management with seven active venture capital funds.
The Media Quarter concept was created in 2002 when JVP founder Erel Margalit wanted to create a media-focused incubator that combined technology, culture, art and business. JVP has shepherded 18 initial public offerings, mergers and acquisitions, including some of the largest Israel-based companies: Qlik Technologies, Netro Corp., Chromatis Networks, Precise Software, Cogent Communications.
Less than 300 miles separate the purposeful creative buzz in the JVP Media Quarter from the restive streets of Cairo, where the Muslim Brotherhood tells Egypt's unemployed that their plight is the fault of corrupt capitalists and Jews. It doesn't take a Nobel Prize-winning economist to figure out where these two economies are going.