During its long history, Jerusalem has been attacked 52 times, captured and recaptured 44 times, besieged 23 times and destroyed twice. The oldest part of the city was settled in the fourth millennium B.C., making Jerusalem one of the oldest cities in the world. A city that has stood for at least 3,000 years in the ancient walled area, a sacred site revered by three religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Although religious politics seem to dictate almost everything that happens in the city, from municipal infrastructure projects and residential housing developments to security concerns and social interactions, Jerusalem offers MICE planners and business travelers 5-star hotels, state of-the-art meeting venues, delicious Middle Eastern cuisine and profound museums. Add to these a stunning landscape bathed in a light so ethereal it leaves even the most jaded traveler with a life-lasting memory.
In the past decade, a vibrant, high-tech startup environment emerged in Jerusalem and throughout Israel that equals that of any country in the world. Israel boasts more companies listed on the tech-heavy NASDAQ stock exchange than any country outside the United States, except for China. In 2017 Intel purchased one of Israel’s high-tech firms, Mobileye, a leader in software for autonomous driving, for more than $15 billion; and Google bought the Israeli navigation firm Waze a few years before that.
An average of 600 new startups establish businesses every year in Israel, many in Jerusalem, and 307 multinational R&D centers reside in — or within an hour’s drive of — Jerusalem, including sites for Intel, Google, IBM and Apple. According to Startup Genome LLC, which monitors more than 1 million companies across 150 world cities, Jerusalem currently boasts 600–900 startups, averaging about $2.6 billion in total revenue.
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I know a man whose family moved to the United States from South Korea when he was elementary school age. He has vivid memories of feeling as if something had been torn away; an abrupt disconnection from the culture he loved and the life that made sense to him. He was replanted in a country, neighborhood, and school where everyone spoke a language he had not mastered. He was harassed and mistreated by the other children because he didn’t look like them.
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