High-tech giant becomes first company to withdraw funds from Israel over judicial reforms, prompting outrage from its own board

“If she wants to engage in politics, then she should finish her position at Papaya Global.”

By World Israel News Staff 

The CEO of Papaya Global, a Tel Aviv-based global payroll and payment management platform unicorn, announced on Thursday that her company plans to withdraw all of its funds from Israel in protest of the government’s judicial reform plans, prompting one of the company’s backers and a member of its board to call on her to resign her position.

Papaya co-founder and CEO Eynat Guez responded to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks about the importance of reforming the judiciary, writing on Twitter that her company was taking the “painful but necessary business step” of withdrawing all of the company’s funds from Israel.

“It is unclear if we can conduct international economic activity from Israel,” Guez wrote.

“No investor will put money in a state where democracy is crumbling.”

“The startup nation can’t exist without democracy,” she added.

Dovi Frances, a financial services entrepreneur who is a Papaya board observer and the founding partner of Group 11, an LA-based venture capital that invested in Papaya, called on Guez to resign.

“If she wants to engage in politics, then she should finish her position at Papaya Global,” he told Channel 12 news.

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“The money is not hers, but the Israelis’ who invested in the company,” he said.

He said that while he has “respect” for Guez, the move would only further split Israeli society.

“I really do not support this move, in my view this is not the way to express a personal political position, in my view it only leads to the continuation of the division in the nation,” he said.

Frances clarified that “it is true that the CEO has full right to manage the company’s funds in any bank they see fit, and the board is usually not required to be involved in such a decision. But this does not mean that a bank account can be used as a tool for disputing and making a political statement.”

On Tuesday several hundred high tech employees took to the streets in Tel Aviv to protest the government reforms.

Papaya, which is a payroll management platform, has more than 700 employees around the world and a valuation of some $3.7 billion.