Afternoon Tea in Jerusalem Blog

Life in Israel

Israeli commercial life and society

In addition to my work as a business coach, one of my interests is blogging about life in Israel. This is a country full of contrasts – over eight million citizens living in an area the size of Wales. You can see snow and the lowest place on the globe in the same day. Although surrounded by geopolitical extremes, Israel has achieved a decade of high economic growth. My work brings me in contact with an array of new companies, exciting technologies and dynamic characters. Sitting back with a relaxing cup of strong tea (with milk), you realise just how much there is to appreciate in the Holyland. Large or small operations, private sector or non profit, my clients provide experiences from which others can learn and benefit.


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Israeli entrepreneurs that you do not hear about outside Israel, because…..

There is much talk these days of the potential of a widening boycott against Israeli businesses, because……well, it sounds politically correct.

Israeli advocates point to the hypocrisy of the situation. The boycott campaign proponents (BDS) do not advocate an equivalent boycott of China or elsewhere. Two Israelis, resident in New York, have just concluded a US$100 million property contract on behalf of the government of Qatar, no problems there apparently. A Palestinian survey reveals that 70% of respondents declared a preference for Israeli products. And for all the controversy of Scarlett Johansson’s advert for SodaStream during the Superbowl and the subsequent venom of Oxfam, Palestinians clearly enjoy working for Israeli employers in the West Bank.

OK, but what about encouraging the Arab sector in Israel?

Well, in the past two years, the Prime Minister’s Office has initiated a couple of seminars promoting the issue. Further, a technology incubator has been created in Nazareth, a city combining Jews, Moslems and Christians. Similarly, so few people know about the Al Bawader investment fund, set up in 2010 through an initiative of the Israeli government and the Israeli venture capital group, Pitango. It has a fund of over US$50 million to invest specifically in Arab ventures within Israel.

Al Bawader has a current crop of seven start-ups on its books. A typical example is Ms. Mass Watad, born in 1980 and who studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She currently owns a chain of diet clinics and in addition has developed a massage therapy. She  intends to set up a series of franchises in the Arab world.

Datumate Ltd, very clearly in the high-tech sector, was founded by Dr. Jad Jarroush. Employing ten people and benefitting from the marketing reach of Pitango, it offers software applications for customers in the area of land surveying, civil engineering and architectural planning.

As I write this, there is a very active television campaign in Israel, rejecting racism in all its forms. So few of Israel’s detractors will tell you about this prime-time effort. So few will report on the successes of Al Bawader. There again, so few of them reside in countries with similar adverts.

Comments (3)

  1. Michael,

    I was impressed by your article on Arab/Israeli business ties.

    I am beginning to create, together with Christian Friends of Israel, future advocacy workshops and seminars based in Israel. Christian leaders will come to Israel for a week of advocacy training. The aim is to send them back as trained advocates of Israel in many fields, not just the Bible.
    Your website gave me the idea to include a session on business, commerce, and investment.

    Barry Shaw

    1. Ellen Wachtel

      Barry Shaw.
      Your idea to create workshops and seminars based in Israel is interesting. I hope word spreads of how Israel is giving back to our friends that will unconditionally go to bat for Israel. Perhaps Fox News can pick up on your efforts when your project comes into fruition.
      I live near Netanya. My husband and I are active in animal rescue. I have Christian friends in Israel and the U.S.. Perhaps you will need English speaking volunteers to help as you reach out to friends. The fact that you will provide useful instruction and accurate feedback for those that attend your projects will build better ties with the western world. So many folks in the U.S. feel helpless because we need clarity and skills to live with the challenges of a changing world. Elly Wachtel

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