Foreign investors should have confidence in investing in Israel today, even amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, former US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.
Mnuchin came to Israel on a business trip for the first time since the October 7 massacre with his business partner, former US ambassador David Friedman. The two men, who served under former US president Donald Trump, started the Liberty Strategic Investment Fund in 2021 and have an office in Tel Aviv.
The fund is worth $3 billion, of which it has invested 30% so far, Mnuchin said. He said he is in Israel to put more money into Israeli tech.
“Having been here on the ground, seeing things, I think the country is slowly returning to a more normal economic environment,” Mnuchin said. “Technology opportunities in Israel have always been a big focus of ours. Lately, many people have asked us whether we think Israel is still the technology hub it once was. I think the answer is yes.”
Strategic business meetings at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange
Mnuchin and Friedman held multiple strategic business meetings this week with companies mainly in the country’s center. They also met with the head of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
Mnuchin said the fund has recently increased its interest in defense software technology, including a company it learned about before the war, whose tech is now being used on the battlefield.
“I think there is no question that defense-related technology is going to be a big opportunity here” after the war, Mnuchin added.
Tourism to Israel has been on a steep decline since the Hamas war began, the Tourism Ministry announced this week. Most people visiting Israel have been philanthropists or organizations delivering aid or showing solidarity with the state. Mnuchin also expressed his support for Israel and said he feels the pain the country is suffering. But he is also glad to see “a sense of trying to get the country back to business” after the initial shock.
As Israel recovers, he said, his fund plans to continue investing. “We’re still very long-term bullish on the opportunities here.”