TechNation: Iron Dome Antimissile System Named Top Israeli Invention of All Time

Israel is world’s fastest for internet page-download times; Uber committed to Israel despite government opposition to Night service; Technion slates initial $2.5 million to invest in startups by faculty, students, alumni.

An Iron Dome battery in action in July 2014 during Israel's war against Hamas in Gaza.
Tsafrir Abayov / AP

Poll names Iron Dome antimissile system as top Israeli invention of all time

Iron Dome, the antimissile system developed by the army and Israel’s defense industry, is the greatest Israeli invention ever, according to a poll released on Monday by the Science, Technology and Space Ministry. The poll found that 31 percent named Iron Dome as the top Israeli innovation and 30 percent named it among the top innovations. In second place was navigation app Waze, which 18 percent cited as the top invention and 32 percent as among the top. The USB flash drive, which was developed by Israeli startup M-Systems, was in third place: 11 percent called it the No. 1 invention and 31 percent said it was among the top inventions. Others on the list were the multiple sclerosis treatment Copaxone, made by Teva Pharmaceuticals (combined score of 32 percent); drip irrigation (28 percent); processors made by Intel’s Israeli research and development team (28 percent)’ Mobileye’s self-driving car technology (26 percent, see story on page 7) and computer firewall technology (17 percent). (TheMarker Staff)

Israel is world’s fastest for internet page-download times

Israel’s slowpoke internet connectivity caused a shock with a world-beating record for average page-download time for broadband connections, according to the latest survey by Akamai Technologies. The page-load times in Israel averaged just 1.4 seconds in the fourth quarter. Mobile page-download times were an even faster 0.9 seconds, making Israel No. 2 in the world after Saudi Arabia, although usually mobile download times are slower than landline. For average connection speeds, though, Israel was placed 27th in the world with an average speed of 14.4 megabits per second – although that’s a 24 percent improvement over the same time the previous year. Israel did slightly better – though still poorly – on mobile connectivity rankings, with an average speed of 9.4 megabits per second. It’s not quite clear why page-download times are so fast when network speeds are so creaky, but it could be because Israel’s internet service providers make efficient use of content distribution networks. (Amitai Ziv)  

Uber committed to Israel despite government opposition to Night service

Thibaud Simphal, Western European manager for Uber, told TheMarker this week that the company is committed to staying in Israel, even though it may face criminal proceedings over its Uber Night service. TheMarker reported last week that the Transportation and Road Safety Ministry was weighing criminal charges, on suspicions that the ride-sharing company was enabling drivers using the service – which matches riders and drivers – to make a profit in violation of the law. Simphal, who was in Israel last week, signaled that Uber would act patiently in navigating Israeli regulations and didn’t want a confrontation with the government, noting that officials worldwide were coping with the new models created by Uber and other shared-economy companies. Simphal warned that the government’s rejecting Uber’s services would send a message to other companies that it isn’t ready to welcome new services. (Oren Dori) 

Technion slates initial $2.5 million to invest in startups by faculty, students, alumni

The Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa will invest an initial $2.5 million in startups founded by its faculty, students and graduates under a new program called Drive, and hopes to supplement that with another $7.5 million from outside investors. Drive will put $100,000 each in 10 newly formed startups annually. The program also plans to set up an accelerator on campus that will provide expert advice from Technion researchers and alumni – including Gil Ben-Artzy, a cofounder of UpWest Labs, and David Ring, a cofounder of the blockchain startup Colu. Drive will focus on startups in digital health, augmented technology, fintech, robotics, driverless vehicles and materials. “The initial aim of the accelerator is to create a work environment and tools for faculty, students and graduates to make the crossover from lab research so they can eventually form a company,” said Prof. Wayne Kaplan, a Technion vice president. (Eliran Rubin)