Led by AICC Vice President Jonathan Zucker, a 24-strong person delegation from South Carolina spent last week in Israel cultivating connections with companies and research institutions in the Jewish State. This year’s AICC organized mission, the third since 2011 for South Carolinians, featured a special twist: sponsorship of and participation in the Globes Israel Business Conference, the largest general business conference held in the country. Globes, Israel’s premier business publication, brings together over three thousand Israeli business leaders annually to learn about the most significant economic opportunities and challenges, both globally and locally. This year, the opportunities to do business in and with South Carolina was a major highlight of the conference.
AICC’s South Carolina-Israel Collaboration, chaired by Zucker, brought together the Palmetto state’s major academic institutions, economic development agencies and private businesses to collectively invest in the Globes Conference sponsorship. The sponsorship provided the delegation with a full-day of the conference in which to present seminars describing the state’s business cluster foci and the general benefits for Israelis to do business with and in South Carolina. The seminars highlighted the recently signed South Carolina – Israel Cooperative Industrial R&D Agreement.
In addition to participation in their own seminars, the delegation had the opportunity to hear addresses made by Israel President Shimon Peres, Finance Minister Yair Lapid, Defense Minister Moshe Ayalon, former Israel Bank of Israel Chair Stanley Fischer, and a host of other leading Israeli and global business leaders. The South Carolinians also took advantage of the Globes Conference, held in Tel Aviv, to hold individual meetings with Israeli companies in the area. The group filled the remainder of the jam packed week with business meetings and touring in Be’er Sheva, Jerusalem, Haifa, Herziliya and Misgav.
The trip, the first to Israel for over half of the delegation, also featured a reception hosted by the BIRD Foundation at the residence of US Ambassador to Israel, Daniel Shapiro, and special guest speakers who joined the delegation for dinners. The delegation’s final dinner was highlighted by an address to the group by David Ivri, former Israeli Ambassador to the US. Ivri described in detail the attack on the Iraqi nuclear facility in 1981 which took place during his tenure as head of the Israeli Air Force.