Tzahi Weisfeld.

Intel VP warns: "We must stop the madness. We are a moment away from high-tech disappearing from here"

Tzahi Weisfeld, Intel Vice President and GM of the company’s Ignite startup program, who emphasized that he is not speaking on behalf of Intel but only on his own behalf, candidly voices his opinions about the dangers of the impending judicial coup: "In the last few weeks, something in me broke, and I'm not alone. I know I'm jeopardizing my professional future, but the future of my children is more important”

"I can no longer remain silent, I have a great responsibility for my children and our future, we are losing it at a great rate. I told my children that I will not forgive myself if I do not stand up and speak, no matter what the results will be. We must stop the madness that is happening here," Tzahi Weisfeld, Intel Vice President and GM of the company’s Ignite startup program, told Calcalist.
The multinational corporations based in Israel, who employ tens of thousands of people, have to date been largely absent from the demonstrations organized by the high-tech sector against the judicial coup. Corporations like Microsoft, Google, Intel, Meta and others are very concerned about potential payback from the current government. The chip giant Intel, for example, employs over 12,000 people in Israel.
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צחי וייספלד מנ"כל Microsoft for Startups  מיקרוסופט
צחי וייספלד מנ"כל Microsoft for Startups  מיקרוסופט
Tzahi Weisfeld.
(Photo: Amit Shaal)
Weisfeld, who emphasized that he is not speaking on behalf of Intel but only on his own behalf, is one of the veterans of the industry. He was one of the founders of Microsoft's development center in Israel and founded the company's startup program. He is the first senior Israeli executive from among the technology giants to openly oppose the judicial coup. "I know I'm risking my professional future, but the future of my children is more important to me."
According to him, "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has met many managers of huge international companies, Economy Minister Nir Barkat lives and knows the high-tech industry and understands the irreversible damage that can happen. I do not understand how Barkat is not stopping this madness and is lending a hand to the destruction of what we have built here for years. We have built an amazing industry and it cannot be that the Prime Minister is not stopping this madness.
"I've been in the industry for 30 years and I've seen everything. I founded Microsoft's startup program with huge budgets when they didn't understand why their manager was based in Israel. I helped found many huge companies in Israel. I did it from here because I'm a Zionist and a proud Israeli, and committed to the industry. I was always able to explain why everything must be managed from here. Many times I have been called upon to convince managers of multinational companies why they should come here. In the last few weeks, something has broken in me and I am not the only one experiencing this."
Weisfeld says that "for people like me in the multinational companies it is not trivial to speak up and people do not understand the magnitude of the danger of losing what I and others like me represent. Among the factors that led me to speak up and come out of my shell were the calling of people like Eynat Guez (CEO of the unicorn Papaya Global ) and Tom Livne (founder of the startup Verbit) 'traitors' and people telling them to 'get out of Israel' after they dared to speak in condemnation of the judicial coup. It infuriated me. People do not understand what they are saying. If people like Eynat Guez and her ilk take their companies away from here, this is the beginning of the end."

According to him, "I returned here after many years because I wanted my children to grow up here. If I leave, it means that there will no longer be a need for our offices and jobs here in Israel. The decisions I have supported here, and in the past also at Microsoft, were decisions worth hundreds of millions of dollars that will no longer reach Israel. The multinational companies that employ tens of thousands of people here will slowly begin to disappear. Multinational companies will prefer other places. We may be at a point where we can no longer stop it. It will not stop with me and it will only start here and go up to all the managers. We are at a moment just before the disappearance of high-tech from here. People don't understand the damage that will be caused if this coup takes place."
Weisfeld says that "the conversation among investors I talk to includes a lot of questions on their part. The state of high-tech is very sensitive and it is difficult to explain why the few investments that are being made should still be made here. We want to fix the situation but we are close to the point of no return where there will be no more high-tech coming to Israel."
He adds that "we had a wonderful life overseas but we brought the children back here because we wanted to. Now we feel that it has been destroyed and I have the option to choose. I would not want any of the companies in Israel to make decisions based on the political situation in Israel. In 2023 and 2024 the world will be in a reality that it has not been in for many years, which will include difficult decisions of cutbacks. I do not want the collection of considerations to include 'let's reduce risk to Israel'. If it enters decision-making it will be very difficult to stop it and we are very close to that in the next two years. Israel becomes very dangerous for these companies at a time when the entire economic world is in turmoil."