Monday, October 29, 2012

Israel Constantly Reinventing Itself

 Nurit Greenger

My mother used to say, "no one will knock on the door seeking you; you always have to be out there meeting the world."

Life is a dynamic course in living and is forever an introduction to new people, new ideas and new things. Only if you are out there doing the rounds with open eyes.

Last week was one of those learning moments.

In a meeting over a lovely Shabbat Dinner, catered by Factor's Famous Deli (, that took place in Los Angeles and organized by Jacob Segal of Southern California-Israel Chamber of Commerce (SCICC), a non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to fostering bilateral business, trade and investment opportunities between Southern California and Israel, I had the privilege to be introduced to the Merage Institute and the top officers of 18 Israeli Clean Tech Companies, who are taking a course at the Merage Institute.

The companies to have been introduced in this particular event are in the advanced stage of developing technologies for water treatment, recycling water waste, saving energy for wastewater treatment plant, oil spill absorption, solar air conditioning, energy conservation, maximizing the power generating for solar plants, environmental friendly filtration solutions, to mention a few.
So what do the SCICC, the Merage Institute and 18 Israeli Clean Tech Companies have in common?
The Merage Institute, Paul Merage, Founder, Chairman, and CEO, located in Newport Beach Southern California, ( promotes trade, as a vehicle to economic growth, between Israel and the United States. The way the institute accomplishes this goal is through a number of innovative initiatives, including specialized Leadership Programs concerning U.S. marketing strategies to Israeli executives in the life sciences, security, military, IT areas and more. The Institute also features an innovative business development component beginning with introductions to relevant U.S. entrepreneurs who may be interested in cooperating with value-adding Israeli businesses. The institute faculty members include professors from some of the finest business schools in America and highly respected CEOs and leading practitioners.
Since the heads of the Israeli companies are taking a course at the valuable Merage Institute, SCICC ( took upon itself to act as the conduit and introduce them to its members. SCICC conducts such meetings every so often, whenever there is an Israeli company in the city that needs an introduction.
What many do not know it that the secret lies in the new approach the state of Israel has taken.
Being constantly under political and also economic attack, by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement and its cohorts, Israel has been travelling on a new road.
In a meeting I recently attended at the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles, the Consul General David Segal told the attendees the following: "Whereas in the past Israel acted along the preaching approach, it is now on the path of the listening approach, to understand what is interesting and important to the different audiences and populations, and to see how Israel can be relevant to them. Israel is working to change the international discourse that delegitimizes and demonizes her, along reach out programs of cooperation. Whereas in the past Israel expected that the international community will come to her because 'we are Zionists, we are building a country and we are the cute Sabras,' now Israel is out to show the world it is competitive and it is worthwhile doing business with the Jewish State."
And that is how the triangle corners meet. Yishay Aizik, Executive Director of the Merage Institute, arranged for the Institute's students from Israel to arrive and meet a room full of SCICC members and tell them who they are, what their company does and what is its future goal.
In their book Dan Senor and Saul Singer already labeled Israel a Start-up Nation: 'Israel: Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle ( and a Leader in Business Innovation:
With limited resources Israel turned to the only non depleting resource, which is human brain and it is maximizing its capacity and thus makes at least one person proud, it is your writer herein.
More important, it is making the world a better place to live.

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