By COLlive reporter
Intel Corp, the American multinational corporation and technology company, has announced that it will be investing $11 billion in a new factory and to expand its current operations in Israel.
“This is huge news for everyone who cares about the State of Israel, the Israeli economy and Israeli citizens,” said Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, calling it an “unprecedented decision.”
Intel said it would submit a business plan “for continued investment in the company’s Kiryat Gat manufacturing site” in Israel, but did not disclose details, including the schedule, costs and technologies, according to Reuters.
Moshe Mandelbaum, a professor of economics and former Governor of the Bank of Israel, shared in the past that it was the Rebbe’s idea that led to Intel’s — and dozens of other tech companies — investment in Israel.
Mandelbaum, who helped develop Israel’s Economic Stabilization Plan, met the Rebbe in 1967 at Lubavitch Headquarters – 770 Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, NY. It was a single meeting yet a fateful one.
Here is an excerpt from Mandelbaum’s interview presented in JEM’s “My Story” book:
“During the audience, the Rebbe questioned me extensively about my thesis, which centered on the need to develop Israel’s industry and what measures the government had to take in this regard.
“Israel’s interest rate is very high,” I told the Rebbe. “My thesis calls for lowering the rate and instituting tax benefits in order to encourage international companies to invest in our industry.”
“The Rebbe disagreed with this. He said, “Serious investors are not looking for cheap loans. They have good relationships with banks and can borrow at low rates at any time without the government’s help. But while cheap loans would not be enough of an incentive for them, outright grants would be.”
“I saw what a great idea this was and added it to my thesis immediately. And when I returned to Israel, I influenced members of the Knesset to pass a bill to that effect. This benefited the economy greatly, as large companies – Intel for example – opened offices in Israel, offering employment to thousands of Israeli workers.
“The Rebbe gave me other advice that proved invaluable. He had the amazing foresight to suggest that Israel’s economy should be founded on Jewish intelligence.
“The Rebbe said, “Generally, Jews are better at working with their heads. So rather than building up the manufacturing industry, try to encourage the brainpower industry.”
Mandelbaum says the Rebbe “was absolutely right and as we all know, hi-tech has made Israel an international force to contend with.”
California-based Intel Corp is today one of the biggest employers and exporters in Israel where many of its new technologies are developed, Reuters reports. Intel’s exports from Israel rose by $300 million in 2018 to $4 billion, while it bought $1.7 billion of products from local companies.
The expansion is expected to add 1,000 new employees to Intel’s workforce of nearly 13,000 in Israel, an Israeli official said.
Israel’s Economy Minister Eli Cohen said it was the biggest investment of its kind ever in the country, adding it would “strengthen the economy and employment in Israel”.