New Article: Meiton, Electrifying Jaffa

Meiton, Fredrik. “Electrifying Jaffa: Boundary-Work and the Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict.” Past & Present (early view; online first).




In the summer of 1923 the Russian-born Jewish engineer Pinhas Rutenberg threw the switch at Mandate Palestine’s first electrical distribution system, lighting up a portion of Allenby Street in Tel Aviv. It was the first step in an endeavour that, according to Rutenberg, was ‘destined to become the most important instrument for the sound development of the country’. The local British government in Jerusalem agreed, as did Whitehall. Major Hubert Young of the Middle East Department predicted that ‘the successful inauguration of Mr. Rutenberg’s schemes will do more than anything else to pacify Palestine, facilitate immigration, and develop the country’. The excitement was echoed among Tel Aviv’s Jewish residents. To them, the roadside pylons could not multiply fast enough. To the Palestinians in neighbouring Jaffa, however, the grid’s expansion was a mixed blessing. The high-tension cable wound its way into town with promises of modernity and the creature comforts of civilized life, but it also signalled the encroachment of Jewish nationalism on Arab Palestine. A significant portion of the Palestinian Arab community was staunchly opposed to Rutenberg’s electrification, and a few weeks before the lights went on along Allenby Street, an angry crowd made its way through the city chanting ‘The lamp-posts of Rutenberg are the gallows of our nation’.

This article argues that electrification played a part in making Palestine an object of nationalist contention, and that properties of the technology itself had a fundamental and lasting impact on the character and strategies of both Zionism and Palestinian nationalism. Far from being part of a neutral backdrop, then, the process of electricity generation and distribution was inherently political.



New Article: Kan and Kislev, Corporatization and Price Setting in the Urban Water Sector under Statewide Central Administration

Kan, Iddo, and Yoav Kislev. “Corporatization and Price Setting in the Urban Water Sector under Statewide Central Administration: The Israeli Experience.” In Use of Economic Instruments in Water Policy: Insights from International Experience (ed. Manuel Lago et al.; Cham: Springer, 2015): 135-46.






As in many European countries, all water sources in Israel are public property, and are centrally managed by the government. This is to facilitate correction of market failures associated with externalities, natural monopolies and equity considerations. The economic policy instrument (EPI) considered here comprises two aspects of the centralized approach: (1) an institutional reform: local services that were formerly provided by municipal water departments became the responsibility of corporations; (2) a price-scheme reform: urban water prices are set by the regulator subject to the constraint of overall cost-recovery at the national and municipal levels, combined with an egalitarian policy; the latter is realized in identical municipal end-users tariffs. We evaluate the environmental, economic and institutional aspects of these reforms, and point out two main conclusions. First, with respect to EPI implementation from the regulator perspective, the lesson learned can be summarized by the phrase “grasp all, lose all.” EPI reformation, in this case the establishment of regional corporations, should take account of unattainable objectives: “sanitizing” the political factors from involvement. The second lesson is associated with the challenge of designing a pricing mechanism that simultaneously achieves several potentially contradicting targets: costs recovery, creation of incentives for efficiency, and equality. Also here the mechanism was distorted by political pressures. According to the social norms as they are reflected by the resultant policy, equality overwhelms efficiency.



New Book: Tabansky and Ben-Israel, Cybersecurity in Israel

Tabansky, Lior, and Isaac Ben Israel. Cybersecurity in Israel. New York: Springer, 2015.

Cybersecurity in Israel

This SpringerBrief gives the reader a detailed account of how cybersecurity in Israel has evolved over the past two decades. The formation of the regions cybersecurity strategy is explored and an in-depth analysis of key developments in cybersecurity policy is provided.
The authors examine cybersecurity from an integrative national perspective and see it as a set of policies and actions with two interconnected goals: to mitigate security risks and increase resilience and leverage opportunities enabled by cyber-space.
Chapters include an insight into the planning and implementation of the National Security Concept strategy which facilitated the Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) agreement in 2002, (one of the first of its kind), the foundation of the Israeli Cyber-strategy in 2011, and details of the current steps being taken to establish a National Cyber Security Authority (NCSA).
Cybersecurity in Israel will be essential reading for anybody interested in cyber-security policy, including students, researchers, analysts and policy makers alike.


Table of Contents

Pages 1-8

Geopolitics and Israeli Strategy
Pages 9-14

The National Innovation Ecosystem of Israel
Pages 15-30

Mid-1990s: The Prequel for National Cybersecurity Policy
Pages 31-34

The Israeli National Cybersecurity Policy Focuses on Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP)
Pages 35-41

Seeking Cyberpower: The National Cyber Initiative, 2010
Pages 43-48

The National Cyber-Strategy of Israel and the INCB
Pages 49-54

Towards Comprehensive National Cybersecurity
Pages 55-61

Striking with Bits? The IDF and Cyber-Warfare
Pages 63-69

Conclusion: From Cybersecurity to Cyberpower
Pages 71-73



Thesis: Schaap, The Commercialization Gap for Cleantech Innovation in Israel

Schaap, T.A. An Explorative Study on Factors outside the Influence of the Entrepreneur that can explain the Commercialization Gap for Cleantech Innovation in Israel, MA Thesis, Delft University of Technology, 2015.




The research is executed as a master thesis for the MSc program Management of Technology at the TU Delft and is conducted in collaboration with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the state of Israel in Tel Aviv. The researcher has spent six months in Israel to perform this research and was subsidized by Climate-KIC to execute this research.


Problem statement and research question
This research is an empirical exploration of the influence of external factors on the commercialization process for cleantech Technology Based New Ventures (TBNVs) in Israel after these ventures have received seed funding. External factors are defined as factors outside the influence of the entrepreneur.
Literature has described the progression of TBNVs in different stage-based models, although these mainly describe the organizational development. This thesis uses models of Kazanjian et al (1989) and Vohora et al (2004) to describe the growth process of cleantech TBNVs and zooms in on the processes which cleantech TBNVs have to execute after they passed the credibility threshold (Vohora et al, 2004). This milestone reflects in the research by only considering cleantech TBNVs which have received seed funding and where thus deemed credible enough by their investors.
Previous research has named Israel the most innovative country in cleantech, but showed that there is a lack of commercialization of this innovation. The purpose of this research is to explore explanations for this phenomenon and test whether the factors distilled from the literature study can be found in practice and explain the phenomenon. Ten factors were determined based upon a literature study and these were tested by conducting field interviews and studying research reports. The overall research question for this study is:
Which factors, outside the influence of cleantech TBNVs, have consequences for the progression of cleantech TBNVs to the sustainable returns phase after seed funding has been received?

Research Process

Three angles were chosen in the literature study to determine external factors – markets, resources and policy. These factors served in general as a good framework for the practical exploration of the influence of external factors on the commercialization process of cleantech technology based ventures in Israel. The studied factors are accessibility of international markets, the need for high-paced growth, the need for an international network, availability of financial and human resources, risk tolerance of available financial resources, competition for financial resources with other fields of technology, the formal institutional regime for new innovations, the formal institutional regime for new sustainable innovations and perceived stability of the governmental policy by investors.
Empirical research was done in the form of two rounds of data collection. The first data collection contained semi-structured interviews with ten respondents who were (in)directly involved with cleantech in Israel. These respondents were from four different areas – business development, government (policy), late stage finance and venture capitalists and were interviewed about the aforementioned factors. The results from these interviews prompted a second data collection in two specific topics that were thought to hold more explaining value about the observed commercialization gap. These two topics included the availability of financial resources and related factors, the policy for innovation in Israel in general and the policy surrounding cleantech innovation. The second data collection contained another four semi-structured interviews on these specific topics and the study of reports on the topics.


Findings and conclusions
The results of the empirical research showed that all the proposed factors were relevant and influenced cleantech TBNVs in Israel, although the influence of some factors is more explicit than that of others. Especially the availability of financial resources which can be used to invest in technology development of cleantech TBNVs were found to be lacking. This can be explained by the high financial costs of technology development for cleantech TBNVs. The investment in such a project bears a lot of risk, which only a few types of investors can cope with – namely specialized, early-stage Venture Capitalists, business angels and the government.
Moreover, many cleantech TBNVs develop technologies related to the field of infrastructure which is a tough market for a start-up. Finally, the shift in policy relevant for cleantech TBNVs can be expected to offset investors, which also contributes to the lower amount of available financial resources.


Scientifically, this study contributes evidence to the validity of the applied theories in a specific setting – namely development of cleantech TBNVs in Israel. The conceptual model used in this study would be useful to explore similar research problems in other countries although a zoom into specific topics remains necessary. In this research the specific topics included policy relevant for cleantech TBNVs and the needs for funding for cleantech TBNVs.
Practically, this research has implications for entrepreneurs and investors in this field and for governments both in Israel and Europe. Entrepreneurs and investors in this field should realize themselves that they are in a precarious position due to factors like the high costs of technology development and instable policy that heighten the already high amounts of uncertainty that is currently surrounding the process of cleantech TBNV development. Risk reduction strategies should be high on the priority list of these actors.
Governments should realize that investors make investments with a five to ten year horizon and regulatory stability is therefore an important factor to take into account if one aims to increase in the sector. Especially the case which described the instability of the solar sector in Israel is an example of an increase in investment insecurity by governmental decisions.
Moreover, the financial resources necessary for most of the cleantech start-ups are momentarily simply not available. The Venture Capital investment model is only suitable for those start-ups that can achieve high growth rates, which can be difficult for cleantech start-ups. Making different financial resources available tailored to the needs of cleantech TBNVs, for instance via debt financing instead of equity financing should be a priority for the governments both in Israel and Europe. Previous research of EIM showed challenges in Europe to be similar to the challenges that have been found in this research.