NGN’s Abramowitz Loves Israel, Hates Its Leaders

Ken Abramowitz, managing partner of healthcare venture firm NGN Capital, caused a stir at yesterday’s Jerusalem Investing Conference. As part of a panel discussion, the New York-based investor reportedly said:

“Israel boasts many advantages for foreign investors… But I have never seen a lower caliber of government than you have in this country. Your foreign ministry is staffed with low quality people and a low quality leader. The Supreme Court is a collection of far-left activists who then appoint more far-left activists to join them on the bench. It feels like all the smart people in the country have started their own companies, and the rest have been left to run the country.”

Ouch Ken. Guess who’s not getting an invite to foreign minister Tzipi Livni’s next Purim party…

But Abramowitz isn’t a total Israel hater. In fact, he lauded the nation’s “vibrant business climate,” and plans to put his money where his mouth isn’t: NGN plans to close a $350 million fund later this year with a 10% allocation to Israel, which is up from the 2% alllocation in NGN’s current $250 million fund. Among NGN’s Israel wins to date has been Haifa-based SightLine Technologies Ltd., which was sold in 2006 to Stryker Corp. for $50 million (plus up to $90m in earn-outs).