Article - Manufacturers’ Association of Israel Centennial
In 1921, local industrialists founded the “Association of Manufacturers and Employers” to promote the establishment of independent manufacturing companies in Eretz Israel. Over the past 100 years, the Association has successfully worked to grow a dynamic manufacturing sector in Israel despite limitations such as the country’s size, its small target clientele and a lack of resources. Today, this sector is Israel’s central growth engine, leading the export realm and recovery from economic crisis. Since the establishment of the State in 1948, Israel has become renowned worldwide in many fields - hi-tech, security industries and more. Thanks to their unique quality and innovation, these industries have made a global mark in leading technological products. Israeli developments are known throughout the world in areas ranging from chemistry to metals, from textiles to food, from hi-tech to commodities, from construction to infrastructure and more.
For one hundred years, Israeli industry has proven that it is not afraid of the future but rather it creates the future. Through innovation, vision and initiative Israeli manufacturers have successfully coped with many challenges, such as the weapons embargo on Israel, the Arrow anti-ballistic missile project, production of the Iron Dome air defense system, development of the Merkava tank and threats of international boycott. They have also demonstrated the ability to provide food security to the population of Israel throughout the past century, making it the largest employment sector in the country’s outlying areas. Manufacturing and hi-tech drive Israeli economic growth, with 500,000+ direct employees and more than one million indirect employees.
Israeli industry currently also leads the economy in productivity growth. It draws foreign investors, establishes and acquires companies abroad and constantly exports locally made products to customers around the world. The revolution that has taken place in Israeli industry is reflected in its extraordinary numbers: the annual sales volume of Israeli products has skyrocketed from $900M in 1948 to approximately $81B in 2007; concurrently, manufacturing exports have increased from $5M per year to an annual $34B today. Industrial exports have been a major contributor to the growth of the economy as a whole. Some of this contribution is indirect and manifests in other areas like construction, food services, transport, cleaning, security, lawyers, accountants, etc.
The Covid-19 pandemic has made the past year one of most economically challenging years that Israel has ever faced. A sense of unity and public responsibility led Israeli industry to take immediate and critical action. The Manufacturers’ Association of Israel guided Israeli manufacturers as they converted production lines to handle the needs Covid-19 and provide protection solutions from masks, swabs and ventilators through unique Covid-19 quick-testing stations with no exposure between patients and testers. Thanks to this widespread action, manufacturing continued with no disruption and there were no shortages of essential products. In collaboration with the Ministry of Health, the Association set guidelines for Israeli manufacturers to prevent Covid-19 infection. These guidelines were also translated into English and distributed to similar organizations in other countries.