Texas-Israel Alliance Delegation to Israel
Led By Texas-Israel Alliance Chairman George Seay
February 16 - February 23
In February 2019, Texas-Israel Alliance Chairman George Seay led a trade delegation to Israel to strengthen business ties between the Lone Star states. The economic relationship between Texas and Israel has enormous potential, yet it is far under-leveraged. The purpose of the Texas-Israel Alliance's trade mission is to identify and build opportunities for win-win economic partnerships.
Business begins with strong relationships, and therefore trade delegations are an essential way to identify and build long-term strategic connections.
The Texas-Israel Alliance delegation to Israel was a tremendous success, with a myriad of meetings with leaders across Israel to discuss Texas-Israel economic and strategic initiatives in diverse sectors, including energy, cybersecurity and AI, water and agriculture, life sciences, aerospace & defense, and real estate.
Dinner with US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman
Private dinner with the Honorable US Ambassador to Israel Mr. David Friedman to discuss how Texas plays a unique role in the US-Israel commercial relationship, as the second-largest and most diverse economy in the United States with a very pro-business environment.
Avi Dichter, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in the Knesset
Private briefing with Avi Dichter, a member of the Knesset from the Likud party. Dichter is currently the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in the Israeli Parliament AKA The Knesset. Knesset Member Dichter is a former Minister of Public Security, Minister of Home Front Defense and Director of the Shin Bet – the Israel Security Agency.
Texas-Israel Alliance meeting: Discussion on security and political trends throughout the Middle East, including the wide range of current threats to the State of Israel. We also discussed the scarcity of resources in Israel vis a vis its neighbors, and how the context of insecurity and scarcity has allowed Israel to overcome its obstacles.
Marius Nacht, Chairman of CheckPoint and aMoon
Meeting with the current Chairman and co-founder of major cybersecurity company Check Point Software Technologies, Marius Nacht, who recently founded aMoon, a Venture Capital Fund focusing on healthcare technology.
Texas-Israel Alliance meeting: Discussion centered on Texas-Israel Alliance's healthcare initiative and upcoming technology conference focused on opportunities for Texas-Israel business in technology benefiting the health of people worldwide. Texas boasts the largest medical center in the world in the city of Houston, and Dallas-based UT Southwestern is a leading medical institution that has been awarded 6 Nobel Prizes since the 1980s. The Israel-Texas Science & Education Foundation (affiliated with the Texas-Israel Alliance) and its founder David Wiessman (former Chairman of the Texas-Israel Alliance) have fundraised millions of dollars to support research exchange between UT Southwestern and Rabin Medical Center.
AT&T Innovation Center "Foundry" in Israel
Strategic meeting with the Head of AT&T's innovation center Foundry in Raanana, Ofer HaCohen. AT&T engages in significant innovation in Israel, and the technology introduced in its Israeli Foundry supports AT&T's operations worldwide.
Texas-Israel Alliance meeting: Discussion centered on how AT&T leverages the Israeli start-up ecosystem to generate solutions for the company's international operations. AT&T's leadership in Dallas is highly supportive of its two innovation centers in Israel, the Foundry and the R&D lab. The Texas-Israel Alliance honored AT&T for its Texas-Israel connection with CEO Randall Stephenson, and Texas-Israel Alliance board member and SVP Igal Elbaz at an event with the Mayor of Dallas in October 2018.
Private breakfast in Tel Aviv with Chemi Peres, son of Shimon Peres, and serial entrepreneur and investor. He is currently managing General Partner and Co-Founder of Pitango and Chairman of the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation.
Texas-Israel Alliance meeting: Discussion on the momentous impact of applying the Israeli approach to innovation to the important economy of Texas. Discussion centered on how Israel became the Start-Up Nation, and how the investment and start-up community engage successfully together to create a holistic system of innovation in Israel. Texas has a $1.67 trillion dollar economy and 30 million people, whereas Israel is only a nation of 9 million people and a GDP of $351 billion.
Microsoft in Israel
Visit to Microsoft with one of the company's heads of office to discuss how major technology companies source innovation and talent from Israel.
Texas-Israel meeting: Discussion centered on how 350 major multinational companies currently have major innovation centers in Israel in order to harvest Israeli talent and introduce Israeli start-ups into their global business pipelines.
Team8, Think-Tank and Venture Creation Foundry
Meeting with Yuval Shachar, Executive Chairman at Team8. Team8 is a group that builds companies to develop transformative technologies, rooted in cybersecurity and data science, that drive enterprises forward. Team8 is made up of former leaders of the Israeli Defense Force's technology and intelligence Unit 8200. It operates like a think tank, and is backed by major companies such as Walmart and Microsoft.
Texas-Israel Alliance meeting: Discussion centered on creative business practices, and the importance of companies understanding problems before creating solutions. Team8 participated in the Texas-Israel Cybersecurity Conference in May 2018, where Team8 executive Nadav Zafrir spoke on the future of cybsersecurity threats and the importance of Texas-Israel partnerships in this regard.
Gaza Strip & Iron Dome Briefings
Visit with Grisha Yukobovich overlooking the Gaza Strip. Colonel Grisha Yakubovich (Res.), is the former Head of the Civilian Department in the IDF's Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) unit. In that capacity, he led and facilitated strategic dialogue with the international community, Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority on matters of economics, infrastructure and foreign affairs. He also served as the Mayor of Gaza.
Tour of an Iron Dome facility, an air defense system developed by Rafael Advanced Defense System, designed to intercept short-range rockets and mortar shells.
SOSA, Global Open Innovation Platform
Private briefing with SOSA with its founder Rami Beracha. Founded in 2013 by 25 leading Israeli investors and hi-tech entrepreneurs, SOSA, the open innovation platform, bridges the gap between the supply and demand of corporate innovation.
Texas-Israel Alliance meeting: Discussion centered on how SOSA has set up an operation in New York in partnership with the State of New York, and how Texas could leverage this platform to service large industries centered in the Lone Star State.
The Technion, Israel Institute of Technology
The Israel Institute of Technology AKA the Technion is an internationally recognized university whose graduates represent 70 percent of the high-tech workforce in Israel, and which boasts 3 recent Nobel Prize Laureates in its faculty.
At the Technion, the Texas-Israel Alliance visited with Jacob Nagel, Alex Furman, and VP of External Relations Boaz Golany.
Brigadier General Jacob Nagel, head of the Center for Security Science and Technology (CSST): Discussion on how the Israeli government works with academic institutions to innovate security and defense technology in Israel.
Professor Alex Furman, Director, Grand Water Research Institute: Discussion on the Texas-Israel Alliance's Water Initiative, and the Texas Legislature's Bipartisan passage of legislation supporting our work promoting Texas-Israel collaboration in water management. The Texas-Israel Alliance has assembled a water advisory committee of leaders in water innovation in Israel and in Texas and produced the Texas-Israel Water White Paper for the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB).
IDF's Operation Good Neighbor with Marco Moreno
Briefing by Marco Moreno, architect of the IDF's Operation Good Neighbor Project in Syria. Lt. Col (res) Marco Moreno is a special consultant working with organizations dedicated to providing humanitarian assistance to Syrians.For twenty-five years Marco served in the Israeli Defense Forces, legendary Intelligence Unit 504 which specializes in operating of human agents (Humint). Between 2012 -2016, Lt. Col Moreno served as the head of the 504 unit in the IDF’s Northern Command. During that time, fluent in Arabic with a keen understanding of Arab society and culture, with a history of high-risk positions, Marco was tasked with a complicated and sensitive mission - to develop and cultivate a relationship between Israel and Syrians across the Syrian border in the Golan Heights.
The Texas-Israel Alliance received a briefing on the border to Syria in a former military barrack regarding the Syrian conflict, its impact on the State of Israel, and how the Israeli government has engaged in humanitarian missions in Syria despite Syria's refusal to recognize Israel as a State.
Water Desalination Plant
Tour of the Ashkelon water desalination osmosis plant, one of Israel's 5 major seawater desalination plants. Seawater desalination provides 70% of drinking water in Israel. With a capacity of 330,000 m3 per day, the plant produces around 13% of the country’s domestic consumer demand at one of the world’s lowest prices for desalinated water.The project included membrane desalination units and facilities for seawater pumping, as well as brine removal, raw water pre-treatment, and product water treatment.
Texas-Israel Alliance meeting: Discussion on how seawater desalination and reverse osmosis can be applied to Texas to manage water in the state.
OurCrowd, Venture Capital Firm
OurCrowd is a leading crowd investing platform led by serial entrepreneur Jon Medved. OurCrowd vets and selects opportunities, invests its own capital and brings these startups to its membership. OurCrowd has raised over $750 million in equity crowdfunding for its 150+ portfolio companies.
The Texas-Israel Alliance hosted OurCrowd Founder Jon Medved in Dallas in January 2019. During the Texas-Israel Alliance delegation to Israel, holding companies were discussed further as well as prospective investment opportunities in the State of Texas.
Cybersecurity Center in Beersheva
Special visit to the Cyber Industrial Park, the Israeli National Cyber Bureau in the Prime Minister's Office, and partners in Dell EMC and Ben Gurion University to discuss the Texas-Israel Alliance's Cybersecurity Alliance. The Texas-Israel Cybersecurity Alliance was launched in May 2018 with Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, then Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee Congressman Michael McCaul, then Chairman of the Cybersecurity Subcommittee Congressman John Ratcliffe, the founder of the IDF's Cyber Command Nadav Zafrir, and the Director of R&D at Ben Gurion University Professor Dan Blumberg.
Brigadier General Effi Eitam
Private dinner with Israeli politician and former military commander Effi Eitam. Eitam is a Brigadier General (reserves) in the Israel Defense Forces, and is considered a war hero having earned Israel's Medal of Distinguished Service in the Yom Kippur War for stopping Syrian tanks from penetrating the Golan Heights. He also participated in Operation Entebbe, during which he commanded the Sayeret Golani. He also commanded an infantry battalion in Operation Litani and an officers' school battalion during the 1982 Lebanon War. During the first Intifada, he commanded the Givati Brigade.
The Knesset Christian Allies Caucus
Meeting with the Israeli Knesset's Christian Allies Caucus leader Josh Reinstein, and Caucus Member of Knesset Rabbi Yehuda Glick, who survived an assassination attempt in 2014 by the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine.
The Knesset Christian Allies Caucus is a caucus within the Israeli Knesset that seeks to build a direct line of communication, cooperation and coordination between the Knesset and Christian leaders around the world.
Meeting with Zvi Hausner, former Cabinet Secretary for Prime Minister Netanyahu (2009-2013), and current member of a political coalition competing in Israel's April elections.
Texas-Israel Alliance meeting: Discussion centered on creating more Texas-Israel projects through initiatives in the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) and in the Prime Minister's cabinet.
Peres Center for Peace & Innovation
VIP tour of the Peres Center for Peace & Innovation, and private briefing in the office of its founder, the late Shimon Peres, former Prime Minister of Israel.
This center develops and implements impactful and meaningful programs with a focus on promoting a prosperous Israel, nurturing and highlighting Israeli innovation, and paving the way for shared-living between all of Israel's citizens and lasting peace between Israel and its neighbors. The center's Chairman is Chemi Peres, Shimon's son and prominent serial investor in Israel.
Texas-Israel Alliance meeting: Visit centered on the history of Israeli innovation, the current high-tech ecosystem in Israel, and predictions for the future of Israeli high-tech. We also discussed the need for entrepreneurship and creativity not only in business, but also in finding solutions for peace. The Texas-Israel Alliance is one such creative solution, a mechanism for economic diplomacy through shared economic partnerships.