USIC Blog Archive

US Israel Center Blog

  • USIC 2014 Immersion Trip - Week 1

    December 19, 2014
    by Issa Moody

    Our group stayed at Nof Ginosar, a kibbutz hotel by the Sea of Galilee on Wednesday night. Staying at this hotel was a great idea. As you can see, the water was beautiful in the morning. It was nice to be able to observe a body of water so significant to Christians around the world.

    Al Bawader, the first company we visited, is a venture capitalist firm that focuses on investing in and mentoring Arab entrepreneurs. Jimmy Levy, the CEO also spoke a lot about Gaili Software, which is another company he founded in Israel. Although there are a lot of Arab engineers in Israel, unfortunately they face many challenges when seeking employment. As a result, the Arab population in Israel remains dramatically under-employed. For example, although the Arab population comprises 20% of Israel’s population, they contribute to only 8% of its GDP. Jimmy Levy has made a significant impact on the local community in Nazareth by promoting Arab entrepreneurship and by creating hundreds or thousands of jobs.

    Next, we had lunch at a very nice mall in in Haifa. I was in the mood for traditional American food so I ate at McDonald’s. After about one hour we went to Qualcomm, where we saw a presentation by an engineer in the development group and by a managing director. The technology was very impressive. For example, the television that was using Qualcomm’s 3DMark technology looked crystal clear. After seeing a demonstration by the development group, we heard from a director that explained some of the challenges of working closely with the San Diego location. Fairly often, the engineers and products managers in Israel have to work late in order to coordinate with the San Diego headquarters. The managing director also made it a point to mention that to an Israeli manager, their highest priority is to make a significant contribution to the company’s bottom line.

    Next, we went to Technion, which is described as the MIT of Israel. While there, we heard from two people, Professor Shlomo Maital and Professor Rafi Nave. Professor Shlomo Maital talked to us about the challenges that Israel faces regarding keeping talent within the country. He mentioned that although it’s great that a lot of startups are acquired, it’s unfortunate because many of the talented employees often leave the country afterwards. He also spoke about how the biotech industry in Israel needs to figure out how to generate revenue. Apparently, there are a lot of startup biotech companies in Israel but not many of them are making money. Professor Shlomo Maital challenged us to think about how to solve the problem. Professor Rafi Nave then spoke to us about a successful imaging startup that created a device that transmits images after being swallowed.

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    This is a group picture that we took while visiting the Technion.

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  • USIC 2014 Immersion Trip - Week 1

    December 17, 2014
    by Christina Littler

    The end of the first day in Israel has come and already the complexities and promise of our surroundings have revealed themselves...