Politico: Israel’s Brain Drain

Politico: Israel’s Brain Drain

November 2011


The tiny Middle East nation ships more advanced science and technology minds to the U.S. on a per capita basis with H1-B visas than eight of the most competitive tech innovation countries around the world, according to a study released Wednesday. That raised the question: Is this an example of Israel’s brain drain?

Tamar Guy, the executive director of the America-Israel Chamber of Commerce, chimed in almost instantly at a panel discussing the report: “It is.” But Eli Groner, the minister of economic affairs at the Israeli Embassy, told the small crowd at the National Press Club that Israel’s innovation sector has reaped countless benefits from shipping its best and brightest to U.S. universities and research labs. The key is getting them to come back home, he said. “It’s a touchy subject and a delicate balance,” Groner said. But “I’m not scared off by the H1 numbers.”

Groner added one more tidbit during the panel: Israeli companies — including high-tech firms— are increasingly rethinking the strategy of trading stocks on U.S.-based exchanges because of concerns with cost and regulatory hurdles.