While there is settlement building, there’s also the importance task of economic development – which Israel continues to do an amazing job of.

The Israeli business and entrepreneur spirit continues to be well celebrated.

From Moovit which raised $28 million in December to entrepreneurs who brought Vemma to Israel, to Mobileye, which expects to sell 1.5 million this year that raised $400 million in new capital in July, in 2013, the start-up nation continues to develop, grow and thrive economically.

Some highlights of 2013:

• “Israel’s tech boom is good for Israel and for the global economy. The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange lists 616 companies, meaning Israel has one public company for every 12,500 citizens.” Forbes.com

• “Israel is quickly becoming an innovation giant. With just over 7.7 million people, Israel has an estimated 4,800 startups, many of them high tech.” Gary Shapiro

Vemma Nutrition Company, which a few months ago announced that sales reached $20 million per month have recently opened offices in Ra’anana.

• “Facebook will acquire a Tel Aviv technology start-up company and open its first office in Israel, the social networking giant announced yesterday. The deal to acquire Onavo, which reportedly cost Facebook between $100 million and $200m., was far from the largest acquisition of an Israeli tech company.” JPost.com

• Israel’s economy is on track to grow at a 3.4 percent rate for the second straight year in 2013 – this in a time of shrinking economies worldwide.

• “Waze created a navigation app that won over tens of millions users and put paid to the old husband-wife debate about whether to check a map or ask directions. Google paid more than a $1 billion to buy Waze in June, a giant deal that enhanced Israel’s place on the global high-tech map.” Haaretz.com

• “Israel continues to innovate and change worldwide markets – even as it’s a tiny nation under continual attack.” Ron Hershco

• “What I believe sets us second only to [Silicon Valley] are our risk-taking, no shame in failure, along with having 30 years of [high-tech] experience behind us. No shortcuts when it comes to culture and experience.” Roi Carthy

• “Rivaling Wix as one of Israel’s biggest Internet companies, Conduit makes web and mobile engagement tools for a variety of companies from Time Warner Cable to Travelocity. The company counts more than 250 million users in 120 countries and was measured to be worth $1.5 billion in its last valuation.” US News

Simply remarkable to continue to watch the desert economy of Israel flourish.