Erel Margalit

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Erel Margalit
Erel Margalit.jpg
Date of birth (1961-01-01) 1 January 1961 (age 56)
Place of birth Na'an, Israel
Knessets 19, 20
Faction represented in Knesset
2013–2015 Labor Party
2015– Zionist Union

Erel Margalit (Hebrew: אראל מרגלית‎‎; born 1 January 1961) is an Israeli politician and a high-tech and social entrepreneur. He is currently a Member of the Knesset on behalf of the Labor Party. Previously, he was the founder and managing partner of the Jerusalem-based venture capital firm Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP). In 2005, Forbes international business magazine selected Margalit as the top-ranking non-American venture capitalist on its prestigious "Midas (The Golden Touch) List.” [1] In 2010, The Marker Magazine named him the best venture capitalist in Israel.[2] Margalit is a founder of the Avoda Now movement in 2011 which aimed to rehabilitate the Labour Party following the split by Ehud Barak and the creation of HaAtzma'ut Party. In 2013, Margalit was elected to the 19th Knesset as a representative of the Labor party.[3] Margalit currently serves as a member of the prestigious Finance Committee and the Science and Technology Committee. He chairs the Parliamentary Task Forces for Economic Development in the North and the Negev, Cyber Protection and Combating Living Costs in Israel, and co-chairs the Parliamentary Task Force for Small and Medium Businesses, Integrating the Ultra-Orthodox in the High-Tech Sector, Employment for the Arab-Israeli Sector, 40+ Employment, and the Task Force for the City of Jerusalem.


Erel Margalit was born in Kibbutz Na'an the eldest of three siblings. His father, Itzik Margalit, was one of the founders of Moshav Kfar Haim, and his mother, Mickey, was a founding member of Moshav Avihail. In 1969, the family was sent on a mission to Detroit, Michigan where his father was head of a local Hebrew school.[4] While in high school in Michigan, Erel became a point-guard on a local basketball team. After returning to Israel in 1971, he attended Rene Cassin High School in Jerusalem where he continued to play basketball. Recognition of his talent led to an offer to join the Israeli youth team, but he declined in favor of serving in an IDF combat unit.[5] He served in the Golani Brigade's "Orev" unit as an operations officer, reaching the rank of sergeant major. As a reservist in 1982, he fought in the First Lebanon War with the IDF's airborne anti-tank division.

Margalit studied philosophy and English literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he met his future wife. In 1985 Margalit moved to New York to attend Columbia University where he continued towards a doctorate in philosophy and logic. During his studies he was exposed to Michael Porter's "The Competitive Advantage of Nations," which influenced his doctoral dissertation on the subject, "The Entrepreneur as a Leader in the Historical Process."[6] which he completed in 2007.[7]

In response to the First Intifada and the anti-Israel activities on American campuses, Margalit organized a dialogue group between Israeli and Arab students. Together with other Israeli doctoral students, among them Yossi Dahan and Yossi Bachar, he established groups on eight leading campuses.

Margalit is married to Debbie and has three daughters: Tair, Eden, and Maya.[8]


Jerusalem Development Authority[edit]

Returning to Israel in 1990, Margalit began to work at the Jerusalem Development Authority under Uzi Wexler, promoting business development and technological entrepreneurship in Jerusalem. During this time, he worked closely with Teddy Kollek.[9] He also worked in cooperation with American governors, among them Mario Cuomo of New York, Pete Wilson of California, James Florio of New Jersey and Rodney Wallace of Massachusetts. Margalit helped to attract dozens of technology companies to Jerusalem with the aim of turning the city into a high-tech capital for Israel. In three years, he succeeded in bringing in 70 large technology companies, including Digital and IBM. In June 1994, Margalit left the JDA and embarked on an independent career.[10]

Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP)[edit]

JVP Media Quarter in Jerusalem

In 1993, Erel Margalit founded the JVP venture capital fund. He created a new model that integrated an active management approach with a strategy of forming an international market. Under his leadership, JVP has been instrumental in building dozens of high-tech startups into global corporations operating in Israel, the United States, Europe and Asia. Under his leadership, the JVP Fund currently runs investments of approximately 850 million dollars in eight funds, and specializes in investments in media, internet, mobile telephony, advertising and gaming industries. Erel has personally led seventeen successful exits, including the sale of Chromatis Networks, to Lucent Technologies in 2000 for $4.82 billion, the highest amount ever paid to an Israel company and the IPO of Qlik Technologies, which as of April 2011 was valued at over $2 billion.[11][12]

The Media Quarter[edit]

In 2006, Erel Margalit formed and developed the new Media Quarter in and around the historical train station compound in Jerusalem. The Media Quarter, JVP Media Labs, a technological incubator, and The Lab, an arts incubator for Jerusalem performing artists, operate side by side. Currently over 300 young employees work in the Media Quarter, including engineers, artists, authors, filmmakers, and cultural figures. The Media Quarter has become one of the most innovative cultural and business scenes in Israel.[13]

Social entrepreneurship[edit]

In the Community (Bakehila)[edit]

In 2002, Marglit founded the social organization Bakehila (בקהילה "In the Community" in Hebrew) as a means of reducing the socio-economic gap affecting disadvantaged children in Jerusalem. Bakehila runs educational programs in lower socioeconomic neighborhoods of Jerusalem with the goal of raising the students' academic achievements, and promoting the children's personal and interpersonal growth. Thousands of students from Jerusalem have attended the program during its first eight years.[14] In 2012, Bakehila opened an educational enrichment center in the Arab neighborhood of Beit Safafa.[15]

The Lab (Hama'abada)[edit]

Following the events of the Second Intifada and the massive departure of young artists from Jerusalem, Erel Margalit created The Lab (Hama'abada) to keep and attract young artists in Israel's proclaimed capital. The Lab provides support and assistance to these artists, providing venues for young Israelis to create, perform, and receive feedback on their work.[14]

Political activism[edit]

2005 elections[edit]

During the 2005 election campaign, Margalit was one of the first businessmen to support Amir Peretz in the general elections. He joined the Labor Party and expressed his support of Peretz's social agenda. Margalit promoted his vision of economic growth whereby the ultra-Orthodox and Arab populations would be integrated in the labor market in Israel, thus taking them out of poverty and alleviating pressure on the middle classes. In addition, Margalit presented a plan for bringing the communities of Israel's geographic periphery closer to the center of the country, both economically and socially.[16]

Avoda Now Movement[edit]

Since his initial support of the Labor Party, Margalit grew disillusioned with the direction of the party and its leadership. On January 17, 2011, the Chairman of the Labor Party, Ehud Barak, announced his resignation from the Labor Party and the establishment of a new party – "Atzmaut" (Independence Party).[17] Two days after this announcement Margalit helped to found the "Avoda Now" movement together with prominent members of Israel's business, technology, and cultural community, calling for a revival of the Labor Party. The movement launched a public campaign calling the people to join the Labor party lines; with the aim of renewing its institutions, restoring its social values, and choosing a new, dynamic leadership.[18]

On April 27, 2011, saying he could "no longer watch from the sidelines as the political situation in Israel deteriorates", Margalit announced his intention to run for the chairmanship of Israel's Labor Party.[19]

In the Knesset[edit]

On February 5, 2013 Margalit became a Member of the Israeli Knesset[20] and currently serves as a member of the prestigious Finance Committee and the Science and Technology Committee. He has been called the richest member of the Knesset.[21] Margalit was especially active in the 2013 budget discussions criticizing its lack of economic growth engines (See Video on YouTube), and called to cancel the bi-yearly budget.[22] He also led the Opposition on the discussions of the "HARIKUZIUT" bill, aimed to target the over-concentration and centralization in the Israeli economy.[23][24] Margalit chairs the Parliamentary Task Forces for Economic Development in the North and the Negev,[25] Civilian Cyber Protection and Combating Living Costs in Israel, and co-chairs the Parliamentary Task Force for Small and Medium Businesses, Integrating the Ultra-Orthodox in the High-Tech Sector, Employment for the Arab-Israeli Sector, 40+ Employment Video on YouTube, and the Task Force for the City of Jerusalem where he often criticizes the Israeli Government's policy of worrying about Jerusalem's borders but ignoring its content and neglecting its poor economic status.[26]

In the Israeli Labor Party primaries to be taken place on November 21, 2013 Margalit, alongside MK Eitan Cabel and MK Merav Michaeli, announced his support for the candidacy of MK Isaac "Buji" Herzog for chairman.[27][28]


  1. ^ "Forbes". The Midas List. Forbes Publishing. Retrieved May 2, 2011. 
  2. ^ "מלך האקזיטים: אראל מרגלית - איש ההון סיכון בעל מגע הזהב". The Marker. Retrieved May 2, 2011. 
  3. ^ Meet the MK:Erel Margalit
  4. ^ Meet the MK:Erel Margalit
  5. ^ Prince-Gibson, Eetta (May 2, 2011). "Erel Margalit's powerful visions". Israel21C. Retrieved May 2, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Israeli Business Forum of New York". Speaker: Erel N. Margalit — Founder & Managing Partner, Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP). Retrieved May 2, 2011. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Israeli Business Forum". PIONEERING ISRAEL'S NEW SOCIAL-ECONOMIC ERA:The Role of the Creative Class. Retrieved May 2, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Giving Wisely". Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) Community. 
  10. ^ Prince-Gibson, Eetta. "Erel Margalit's powerful visions". Israel21C. Retrieved May 2, 2011. 
  11. ^ "JVP Venture Capital". About. Retrieved May 2, 2011. 
  12. ^ "CrunchBase". Erel N. Margalit. TechCrunch. Retrieved May 2, 2011. 
  13. ^ "JVP Venture Capital". About the Media Quarter. Retrieved May 2, 2011. 
  14. ^ a b "About". JVP Venture Capital. Retrieved May 2, 2011. 
  15. ^ Beit Safafa education center dedicated
  16. ^ Andromidas, Dean. "Lebanon Wire". Political Upset in Israel: Labor Leader To Follow Rabin. 
  17. ^ Post Staff Report (January 18, 2011). "Barak dumps Labor". New York Post. 
  18. ^ "PR Newswire". Erel Margalit Announces His Candidacy to Lead the Labor Party. Reuters. Retrieved May 2, 2011. 
  19. ^ "Erel Margalit Announces His Candidacy to Lead the Labor Party". Reuters. Retrieved May 2, 2011. 
  20. ^
  21. ^ Jerusalem Post, June 10, 2016]
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