Accessibility Links

Upcoming legal hotspot: Israel

Posted by: Laurence Simons 26/11/15

Israel has long been recognised as a fast emerging economy. Not only is its vibrant tech sector blossoming, but increased investment from China and a growing M&A catalogue mean that lawyers are in higher demand than ever.

Alan Sacks, head of international Herzog Fox & Neeman, explains: “Although the large US hi-tech firms continue to be active in the M&A market in Israel there is no question that Chinese firms are become increasingly important in all fields, with Chinese companies making significant investments in food, insurance and infrastructure. Their influence is felt most strongly in the hi-tech field, with large Chinese strategic partners involved in a significant number of investments in some of Israel’s most promising start-ups. In addition, we are seeing a big uptick in Israeli companies making significant acquisitions in Israel and abroad, especially in the technology field. This reflects a change in the exit strategy once automatically adopted by most Israeli hi-tech start-ups.”

Developments within tech – particularly cyber security, the Internet of Things and Big Data analytics – are attracting increasing amounts of international investors, particularly in the wake of rising levels of cyber crime. Already saturated by innovation, it is this growing sector interest which is fuelling its fires of development as stakeholders inject long needed cash into organisations.

In other news, the recent decision to grant a US-Israeli conglomerate in the natural gas industry immunity from antitrust regulations has caused uproar. As Boaz Golan, founding partner of B Golan Law Firm, comments: “A provision in the main antitrust law allows the Minister of Economy to exempt a restraint of trade for reasons of foreign policy or national security. For the first time ever, and due to a unique set of circumstances, the minister is contemplating applying this provision with respect to the natural gas market.

These circumstances include: that the competition agency has withdrawn a consent decree it had agreed with the relevant parties; that the agency had refused to align its policy with a government team that reached a consensus on the regulation of the natural gas market; and that the gas market is of an extreme importance as it determines Israel’s energy policy for decades to come, including with regard to exporting gas to neighbouring Arab countries.”

So with Israel securely on the road to a stronger economy, it offers strong prospects for lawyers.