JVP founder Erel Margalit

Mind the Tech NY 2024
Erel Margalit: "It's time for a new deal for Israel and a new deal for our region"

“We need a diplomatic maneuver and a plan for the day after the war - and the day after Gaza needs to start today,” said JVP Founder & Executive Chairman, Erel Margalit

"Today I don't want to talk only about startups but about what the technology community needs to do. It's time to rebuild our country, to make a New Deal in Israel and the entire region," said Erel Margalit, founder and executive chairman of JVP and Margalit Startup City, at Calcalist and Bank Leumi’s Mind the Tech conference in New York.
"Today we mark 150 days since the terrible massacre on October 7. And where are we today? 134 hostages are still being held captive by Hamas, the IDF is still fighting on the ground, at sea, in the air and underground. Residents of the south and north of Israel are still evacuated, and 300,000 people are refugees in their own country. Moody's and other rating agencies downgraded Israel's credit rating because they do not see a clear plan going forward. They are looking for plans for the day after the war, not a military plan. A plan for Gaza that will not include Hamas, a plan that the army needs to win the war."
Margalit added that "the army took responsibility and admitted failure, and that is what allowed it to continue forward, the army fought one of the bravest wars in the history of modern history. We don't see that in the political field."
According to Margalit, "a war is not won with an army alone" and according to him, "we need diplomatic maneuvering and a plan for the day after the war. And it must begin today. Without a strategic plan for Gaza there will be no victory. Victory in the war in Gaza is beyond the battlefield. We need a plan, along with our international allies - the USA, Europe, the European Union, Great Britain and NATO, along with Arab countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. We need to make sure that Hamas is not the one to manage food, water, education, rehabilitation, and medical care."
Margalit claims that an action plan is needed for the day after in Israel, both in the south and in the north: "Israel needs a "New Deal" that includes a major economic initiative, a "New Deal" that will allow the high-tech sector to participate in a big way." According to him, "In 2011 and 2012 we established the cyber center we built in the southern city of Be'er Sheva, there are more multinational companies there than you can imagine. We need a big initiative for those cities and kibbutzim near the Gaza border." Margalit continued with the desired plan for the north: "Several years ago, we established Israel's foodtech and agtech center in the Galilee. Before October 7, 125 startups worked there, near Kiryat Shmona and Rosh Pina, and now they have all been evacuated. About a week ago, we consolidated the ecosystem, 75 startups, Dror Bin, head of the Israel Innovation Authority, heads of authorities, and military personnel. Amir Yaron, governor of the Bank of Israel, funds and impact investors, all came to show support for the Galilee and the ecosystem. Every month we don't return to the north, we lose 10% of the population who will move to another place in Israel."
In addition to the South and the North, Margalit also referred to investments that JVP made in Jerusalem that helped promote the city.
Margalit said that the creation of the "New Deal" and the plan for the day after Gaza, can lead to a "New Deal" in the region and an international alliance with the backing of international leaders and countries and with the backing of moderate Arab countries including Saudi Arabia: "The New Deal can include a security alliance and an economic alliance that will bring Israel into the bloc of countries in the region that oppose Iran. The high-tech sector is the key to creating the next phase of the Abraham Accords, with innovation and collaboration centers throughout the region, around AI, Cyber FoodTech, AgTech, ClimaTech, Healthcare IT, FinTech and many other areas, which will create new jobs and prosperity for so many people in our region." Margalit ended his speech by addressing the audience and saying, "You don't need to be the prime minister to make this change, each and every one of us can do it."
Watch his full remarks in the video above.