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Wiz Pulling Money from Israel to Protest Netanyahu’s Judicial Reforms

Assaf Rappaport CEO and Co Founder Wiz (Company Photo)

Assaf Rappaport CEO and Co Founder Wiz (Company Photo)

Wiz, an Israeli cloud security startup and a unicorn, is now the latest Israeli firm to take financial action in protest over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government’s proposed judicial reforms. The reforms would greatly limit the authority of Israel’s Supreme Court and its attorney general, leading the country’s opposition leaders to accuse Netanyahu of moving to harm Israel’s democracy. This has led to many, including the governor of the Bank of Israel, to say that the reforms could harm Israel’s economy.

The company’s leaders have been among many to be vocal in their condemnation of the proposed reforms. Wiz recently took part in a national “strike” or “work stoppage” held by Israeli high-tech firms that halted all work at midday to protest the government’s policies. But the move is one that some might also be making soon, even if they support the proposed judicial reforms.

Speculation abounds that should the planned reforms go through then the world – i.e. investors – would lose confidence in Israel and so investments in its high-tech sector would dry up. And according to Israel’s Channel 12 News, Wiz has millions of Dollars in Israeli banks that it could move abroad. Even just moving money out of Israeli banks – as opposed to ending investments – would harm the country’s economy, depriving it of needed hard foreign currencies as the foreign cash gets moved abroad and Shekels are exchanged for other currencies. This could cause the Shekel to crash against the Dollar.

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Wiz was founded in March 2020 by the team that led Microsoft’s Cloud Security Group and built the security stack in Azure. CEO Assaf Rappaport, CTO Ami Luttwak, VP Product Yinon Costica, and VP R&D Roy Reznik, have worked together for more than 15 years and previously founded Adallom (acquired by Microsoft for $320 million), which is now the #1 Cloud Access Security Broker in the market.

Wiz states that it delivers the first cloud visibility solution for enterprise security, offering a “360° view of security risks across clouds, containers and workloads. No agents. No sidecars.”

The move comes just a week or so after Israeli startup Papaya Global, a fintech unicorn that offers a cloud based platform for companies to handle their payrolls, decided to divest itself of Israeli banks due to the judicial reform plan proposed by Benjamin Netanyahu’s government. And that move came after the Governor of the Bank of Israel himself warned Netanyahu that the plan could harm foreign investment in Israel since it would weaken Israel’s democratic system.

And major American firms like JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs have also expressed concerns about the future of Israel’s economy should the proposed judicial reform plan go through. The warning from JP Morgan came in the form of an internal memo titled “Israel Strategy: Domestic volatility flares up” that was revealed by Israeli media. The memo stated that “the volatility across Israeli local assets has notably increased recently, as renewed geopolitical tensions were added to investor concerns over the government’s potential judicial reforms.”

Goldman Sachs issued its own warning that the judicial reforms proposed by Benjamin Netanyahu’s government could harm Israel’s economy and cause the Shekel to drop in value.

Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition government’s proposed judicial reform plan would dramatically curtail the powers of Israel’s Supreme Court and attorney general. So, opponents say that this would leave the government free to do whatever it wants in the absence of any oversight.

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