Payroll Platform Papaya Global to Pull Company Funds from Israel Due to Judicial Reform Controversy
Edited by: Fern Sidman
The CEO of HR-tech unicorn Papaya Global, Eynat Guez, tweeted on Thursday that the company plans to withdraw all its funds from Israel due to the impending judicial reform announced by the new government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to a report on the CalcalistTech.com web site.
“Following Prime Minister Netanyahu’s statements that he is determined to pass reforms that will harm democracy and the economy, we made a business decision at Papaya Global to withdraw all of the company’s funds from Israel. In the emerging reform, there is no certainty that we can conduct international economic activity from Israel, this is a painful but necessary business step,” Guez tweeted.
Calcalist Tech also reported that the payment platform, Papaya Global, was valued at $3.7 billion in September 2021 following its $250 million Series D. Papaya was founded in 2016 by Eynat Guez, Ruben Drong, and Ofer Herman. Calcalist Tech also reported that the company’s SaaS software unifies all workforce management tasks under one platform – from onboarding through payroll and payments – in over 140 countries.
“I fight for my children, but also for the high-tech sector, without which there is no economic justification for Israel’s existence,” Guez, who also spoke on stage during last Saturday’s protests, told Calcalist in an interview earlier this week. “If all of us, the heads of high-tech companies, withdraw in one day even just 20% of the money we keep here in the banks – they will collapse. Imagine also what this will do to the dollar exchange rate and the state of the shekel. And it is my right, and even my duty, to transfer the money to banks in democratic countries.”
Speaking to the AP, Guez said, “Bibi is determined but he also understands that we are a small country that is very dependent on the outside world. With all due respect to Bibi, that determination will hit a wall very quickly” when investors start to pull out, she said.
The AP reported on Thursday that Israel’s tech industry has long been the driving force behind the country’s economy. Now, as Israel’s new government pushes ahead, the industry is flexing its muscle and speaking out in unprecedented criticism against policies it fears will drive away investors and decimate the booming sector.
The public outcry presents a pointed challenge to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who champions Israeli technology on the international stage and has long boasted of his own economic prowess, according to the AP report. It also highlights how deep and broad opposition to the government’s policies runs, from political rivals, to top members of the justice system and military.
Tech leaders say that since the government took power last month, a cloud has emerged over their industry, with foreign investors spooked at what some say is a country regressing rather than striving for innovation, the AP reported. They fear the government’s plans to overhaul the judiciary and pledges by some top officials to advance discriminatory laws will imperil the industry that has earned the country the nickname Start-Up Nation and in turn, send Israel’s economy into a tailspin.
Israel National News reported that MK Yuli Edelstein of Israel’s Likud party decided to break his silence for the first time since the primaries in the party about six months ago.
In an interview with Channel 12 News in Israel, which will be broadcast in its entirety on Friday, Edelstein said that he strongly supports the judicial reform in order to restore trust in the judicial system, but is demanding that it be passed following broad negotiations and compromises, according to the INN report.
“Trust my experience. In a week or two or three, after everyone will have once again proven that they will not compromise on anything or back down and won’t give up an inch – after all this, people will calm down and start talking. There will be dialogue, there will be broad agreement and not 61 or 64 Knesset members who will support what will come,” said Edelstein, as was reported by INN.
On Monday, INN also reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu conveyed a message of reassurance to the US administration regarding the reform of the judicial system, Channel 12 News reported.
According to the report, during his meeting last week with US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Netanyahu said that “as far as I’m concerned, the legal reform will pass with broad consensus, it will not pass as it is presented now.”
INN reported that Sullivan told Netanyahu about the administration’s concerns over the reform as it was presented to the American officials. “The liberal-democratic public and we as an administration do not like the direction you are going in with regard to the legal reform. If there is a violation of democratic values, it will make it difficult for us to provide unwavering and unqualified support to Israel,” he said, according to the report.
The report further said that the advisor made clear to Netanyahu that the US administration sees him as a leader after he promised that he would lead the government “with both hands on the wheel, “ INN reported.
Meanwhile, Channel 13 News reported on Sunday that the US Ambassador to Israel, Tom Nides, has in recent weeks held several meetings with Israeli officials, among other things with current politicians, regarding the judicial reform, according to the INN report.
In one of the meetings held about two weeks ago, which also dealt with security aspects, Nides expressed a great interest in understanding the latest government moves, and according to one of those present in the room, and according to INN, he said there that “Israel’s internal moves are its business.”
In a January 26th op-ed piece titled, “The Torah and Judicial Reform” by Rabbi Steven Pruzansky that appeared on the Israel National News web site, he said:
“The Court here (in Israel) without authority usurped the role of the prime minister in choosing his cabinet, just as it routinely commandeers the role of defense minister by decreeing security strategy and tactics, just as it routinely appropriates the role of each minister by dictating policy when it is so inclined, just as it arrogates to itself the role of Knesset when the Court invalidates laws or preempts their enactment by leaking that, if passed, the law will be invalidated, and just as it seizes the function of the Chief Rabbinate when the Court deigns to determine conversion standards and which establishments should be deemed kosher.
Israel’s Supreme Court thus serves as a Super Minister (above the Prime Minister), a Super General (above the Chief of Staff), a Super Legislator (above the Knesset) and a Super Posek (above the Chief Rabbis). And it fills all these roles without statutory sanction and without being elected by or accountable to the people – and the Court even controls the selection process of its future members.
Thus, the Supreme Court controls the judicial branch of government and for practical purposes dominates the executive and legislative branches. “