Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett took to Facebook on Friday to commend the $900 million purchase of Israeli app Viber by a Japanese Internet services company.
Bennett said the deal was “the answer to those who tremble from boycotts,” referring to Israel’s increased attention lately to boycott threats from around the globe.
Though Viber is registered in Cyprus, he admits, the deal will still generate tax revenue for Israel.
“Instead of talking about boycotts, we can engage in innovation,” Bennett said in the post.
The Orthodox Jewish Home party leader had been highly critical of US Secretary of State John Kerry for suggesting earlier this month at a security conference in Munich that Israel faced an increasing delegitimization campaign and threats of boycotts.
Bennett and other right-wing politicians described Kerry’s remarks as “offensive” and “intolerable.” Bennett even accused Kerry of incitement and of serving as a “mouthpiece” for anti-Semitic elements attempting to boycott Israel.
Viber allows users to make free phone and video calls within its network and has over 200 million users all over the world, including many in Arab countries – exceptional for an app that was created in Israel. Although the company is currently based in Cyprus, its R&D center remains in Israel. Viber was released about three years ago and positioned by company CEO Talmon Marco as an alternative to Skype.