Eynat Guez speaking at a protest.

“We fought hard. We lost. We leveled up. We keep on fighting”

In an open letter to investors in Israeli tech, Eynat Guez, CEO of Papaya Global, vows that Israeli entrepreneurs will continue to fight for Israeli democracy

We fought hard. We won’t stop. As Israeli entrepreneurs we never perceived democracy to be a risk factor within our industry. When we did SWOT analysis, none of us thought that operating from Startup Nation would be detrimental to our ability to succeed.
We focused on developing the most innovative technologies, hiring the best talent, identifying our product market fit and go-to-market strategy. Now we realize we must find our nation’s market fit.
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עינת גז מנכ"לית פאפאיה גלובל פאפיה גלובל בהפגנה ברחוב קפלן נגד ההפיכה המשפטית ב21 בינואר
עינת גז מנכ"לית פאפאיה גלובל פאפיה גלובל בהפגנה ברחוב קפלן נגד ההפיכה המשפטית ב21 בינואר
Eynat Guez speaking at a protest.
(Photo: Shaul Golan)
Investing in Israeli tech was never something that was taken for granted. There aren’t many countries in the world where team members serve 10-60 days per year in army reserve training, prioritizing the country’s security needs over business. There aren’t too many places in the world in which you’re rudely awakened by alarms and reports of military operations just a 30-minute drive from your home. There aren’t too many countries whose routine requires taking Zoom calls in bomb shelters.
Naively, we thought of Israel as an amazing playground for tech – with amazing talents, highly driven people, and a lot of creativity.
We never imagined investing time, effort, and energy fighting for democracy in 2023. But that’s our reality. We tried to make rational claims. We tried explaining – to our own government- how crucial it is to maintain the confidence in the Israeli tech ecosystem. We tried to argue the importance of nurturing investors’ trust in the growth potential of Israeli companies.
We fought hard. We lost. We leveled up. We keep on fighting.
We took to the streets. We marched, we chanted, we cried. We realized that Israel has been hijacked by a group of fanatics - Ben Gvir, a convicted terrorist, is now in command of the police. Simcha Rothman, a settler, an attorney, and a misogynist. Bezalel Smotrich, who claims Jewish supremacy by encouraging pogroms in Arab villages. And the Haredi politicians including Arye Deri, convicted of bribery, Moshe Gafni, and others, who value learning Torah over anything and everything, including basic math.

This is the gang surrounding Benjamin Netanyahu. Once known as a keen economist, Netanyahu is no longer the Prime Minister who cares about the Israeli economy or about its defense and deterrence abilities. He cares about his own survival and is willing to sacrifice Israeli democracy to secure it.
All tech investments carry risk, it’s part of doing business. For us, operating in a democratic society with a distinguished high court was never part of the risk assessment. It was a given.
Following this political overhaul, Israeli entrepreneurs will set up entities abroad. It’s simply too risky to expose investors to a shady judicial system, with no real oversight, in which they have no protection and no legal remedy. This is clear and present danger and the consequences will be harsh.
But we will continue to champion democracy. We are tenacious. We are vigilant. We are fighters.
Eynet Guez is the CEO and co-founder of Papaya Global