Intel CEO flies to Israel to test self-driving car

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich arrived in Israel for a two-day visit. His aim was to spend one day driving around Israel in an autonomous vehicle along with Mobileye co-founder and CEO Amnon Shashua. Mobileye expects serial production of autonomous cars to start by 2021.

UST Global’s cybersecurity center

Multinational IT service company UST Global has announced that its recently launched Tel Aviv development and service center will handle all its cybersecurity activity.  UST Global provides end-to-end IT services for 1,000 companies and has over 14,000 employees worldwide.

Israel’s growing whisky industry

There are now three Israeli distilleries producing single-malt whisky, and plans for two more.  Milk and Honey in Tel Aviv, Golan Heights in Katzrin and Pelter, also in the Golan.

Tech fund to promote Haifa startups

The Israeli city of Haifa is to sponsor a new tech fund focusing on early stage startups that commit to establishing their operations in the city. Haifa currently hosts only 4.5% of Israeli startups. Proposals from private investors have committed up to $52 million to the fund.

Easier to hire non-Israeli tech experts

Israel has cut the red tape involved in hiring non-Israeli experts. Tech companies can now get a license of up to one year for their non-Israeli contracted experts, compared to the previous 45 days a year maximum. Their spouses can now work for any Israeli employer.

Productivity training for managers

Israeli companies with up to NIS 100 million turnover and/or up to 100 workers will be granted a workshop for senior management on how to improve productivity. Those companies will also get a government grant of NIS 10,000. Google will help implement changes with another NIS 10,000.

Loan guarantees for startups

Israel’s Innovation Authority is to provide government guarantees for bank loans to Israeli startups. The loans will enable cash-strapped startups to raise funds without resorting to foreign venture capital funds or investors that often pressure the startup to relocate its activities abroad.

Public transport fares to be cut by 40%

The Israeli government plans lowering public transport fares on inter-urban routes by 40% in 2018. Daily and monthly tickets will also be available for unrestricted travel throughout the country.

Egypt buys $15 billion worth of Israeli gas

I reported previously on the desire by Egypt to buy natural gas from Israel. Now finally, Egypt's Dolphinus Holdings has signed agreements to purchase 64 billion cubic meters of gas from Israel’s Tamar and Leviathan fields. The 10-year deal is worth $15 billion.

$5 billion expansion of Intel’s factory

Intel, the global chip-making giant, is planning a $5 billion expansion of its Kiryat Gat cutting-edge manufacturing facility in Southern Israel. It follows the company's $6 billion investment in 2016 to upgrade the facility to produce advanced 10 nanometer chips.