How Elite Military School Feeds Israel’s Tech Firms
Christopher Rhoads writes in the Wall Street Journal:
After graduating from high school in 1993, Arik Czerniak entered a secretive Israeli military program called Talpiot. The country’s most selective institution, it accepts 50 students a year and trains them in physics, computers and other sciences. Its mission is to create innovative, tech-savvy leaders capable of transforming Israel’s military.
Upon graduating from the nine-year program, Mr. Czerniak took a different route: He helped launch Metacafe Inc., an online company that lets users post short videos, such as a clip of an acrobatic squirrel and one of a bikini-clad woman making a snow-angel. Now 32 years old, Mr. Czerniak spends most of his time in the Israeli company’s new offices in Palo Alto, Calif.
Three decades after Talpiot was founded to modernize the Israeli army, the program has created an unforeseen byproduct — a legion of entrepreneurs that has helped turn Israel into a technology juggernaut.
With fewer than seven million inhabitants, Israel has more companies listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange than any country except the U.S. Its start-ups attracted nearly $2 billion in venture capital over the past two years, equal to the amount raised during that time in the much larger United Kingdom.