Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Silicon Valley on Wednesday, where he met with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) CEO Tim Cook as well as other top tech-executives in hopes of forging closer ties between his country and hi-tech businesses.
On Wednesday in the Apple offices in Cupertino, Calif., Cook briefed Netanyahu on Apple’s activities in Israel, which have expanded since the company first invested in the country about two and a half years ago. To date, Apple has three R&D facilities operating in Israel.
In 2013, Apple purchased PrimeSense, an Israeli firm that develops 3D motion detection technology, for around $360 million.
Netanyahu was in Washington earlier this week, where he met President Barack Obama and discussed sensitive topics like Iran’s nuclear program and the current Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. Switching from politics to business, he then flew west -- where he met Californian Gov. Jerry Brown.
Netanyahu and Brown announced an agreement that would boost joint projects in the high-tech industry.
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Many U.S. companies like Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), Amdocs Limited (NASDAQ:DOX), Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB), and Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) have offices in Israel or have invested in Israeli startup companies.
In fact, Israel has more companies listed on the NASDAQ than any other country in the world other than the U.S., and many U.S. companies are looking to take advantage of Israel’s innovations.
"Israel specializes in high-growth entrepreneurship -- start-ups that wind up transforming entire global industries," Daniel Senor and Saul Singer wrote in their 2009 book “Start-Up Nation.” The Israeli economic model, they wrote, is based on innovation, and that can help the United States.
This past July, for example, Google acquired Waze Mobile, the world’s largest community-based traffic navigation app, at a cost of almost $1 billion. In February, Viber, an Israeli-founded video and chat company, was sold to Google for $900 million.
Netanyahu is not the only head of state to make a visit to Silicon Valley. In February French President François Hollande also flew to the region after a meeting with President Obama.