Artificial intelligence can improve commercial crops


One trend that should be of concern is the growing rate of transfer of Israeli intellectual property, know-how and technology to foreign research centres. Fewer than half of patents obtained by inventors from Israel are owned by Israeli companies.  

Industry 4.0 is a growing priority, both in the start-up sector and in government policy more broadly. Through the Digital Israel initiative, the government is investing heavily in technologies that include AI and (big) data science, smart mobility and e-governance. The ambition is to leverage Israeli expertise in digital technologies to accelerate growth, improve inclusivity and strengthen governance.  

Israeli universities have established educational programmes and research centres in cutting-edge fields, such as the Centre of Knowledge in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.  

This focus on innovation and technology has fed into industrial policy. The government’s National Strategic Plan for Advanced Manufacturing in Industry (2018) outlines a framework for investment, skills development, infrastructure reinforcement and greater access to knowledge, with a focus on small and medium-sized enterprises. Over the past ten years, a vibrant auto-tech sector has emerged, supported by the Fuel Choices and Smart Mobility Initiative launched in 2010. There are now 25 research centres in the automotive sector. 

However, the quality and quantity of freshwater has declined in Israel, making it imperative to adopt new approaches to water management. Use of desalinated water is growing but has been associated with a magnesium deficiency in human diets and saltwater intrusion into aquifers. 

The message that sustainable development is a necessity, not a luxury, has resonated with policy-makers, who mainstreamed the Sustainable Development Goals across government strategic planning in 2019.

Selected data
Planned reduction in the distance travelled

by private vehicles in 2030, relative to the anticipated amount of kilometres

Planned reduction in electricity consumption

relative to anticipated consumption by 2030

  • Figure 16.1: Socio-economic trends in Israel 
  • Figure 16.2: Trends in research expenditure in Israel 
  • Figure 16.3: Trends in scientific publishing in Israel  
  • Figure 16.4: University graduates in Israel in science and engineering, 2012 and 2017 
  • Figure 16.5: Representation of Israeli women in academic fields, 2017 
  • Figure 16.6: Trends in innovation in Israel 
  • Box 16.1: Israel investing in smart mobility 
  • Box 16.2: Four Israeli pilot projects experimenting with industrial symbiosis 
  • Box 16.3: Israel is finding that desalination poses its own challenges