Israel-Indiana A Winning Team

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The Consul General of Israel to the Midwest is relocating to Indianapolis this week for a Pop-up Consulate, highlighting and strengthening the unbreakable bond between Israel and Indiana.

In a conversation with my good friend and fellow basketball enthusiast, Gov. Eric Holcomb, I told him we would move the Consulate General of Israel to The Midwest, located in Chicago, to Indiana when the U.S. Embassy will be moved to Jerusalem. Last year, the first condition was fulfilled so I had to follow through. Though not relocating permanently, this week we are having a pop-up Israeli Consulate in Indianapolis. This will include Israeli business initiatives at Cybertech Midwest, briefings with local government officials and journalists, a pastors roundtable, an Israeli movie screening at the Indiana State Museum, and academic dialogues with Indianapolis universities and much more.

Israel is a swish for Indiana! And I am not just talking about the two Israeli women on the University of Indianapolis basketball team, Shira and Mickey Sasson and Tel Aviv-born Pacer T.J. Leaf. Just like in basketball, teamwork is key. I am proud to say Israel is on Indiana’s team. Literally. Last year, the Pacers signed a multiyear extension with Israeli tech firm Physimax, specializing in the detection of functional movement impairments and injury risk.

Moreover, according to Gov. Holcomb, "Indiana and Israel are tech and agbiosciences powerhouses, and there are abundant opportunities for academic exchanges, mutual investment and cross collaboration between our two states." This claim is edified by the fact that Israeli companies employ over 500 Hoosiers. Indiana exports over $100 million dollars’ worth of goods to Israel each year, an increase of more than 160% in the last decade.

Our partnership is having a fast break! After Gov. Holcomb’s, visit to Israel in 2018, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) and the Israel Innovation Authority, are fielding investment proposals for joint research projects focused on developing high-tech solutions in agbiosciences and cybersecurity. Existing Israeli companies are already enacting a full-court press on Indiana.

Israeli companies want to work one-on-one with Indiana. Jim Schellinger, Indiana Secretary of Commerce, stated, "Israel… understands that’s Indiana’s location, business climate and skilled workforce are ideal for designing and building products that are used globally." MCP, an Israeli manufacturer of ready-made meal trays, is locating its North American headquarters to Portage, creating up to 60 new jobs by the end of 2019. Polyram Group, an Israeli producer of raw materials for the plastics industry, is locating its first U.S. production facility in Evansville, creating more than 50 new jobs by 2022. Omen, an Israeli manufacturer of die cast aluminum parts for the automotive industry is working to add 100 new jobs in Richmond, investing  $15 million into the Indiana economy in the process.

Israel assists the growth of Hoosier businesses. Following the visits of several officials from the Midwest with our office to Cybertech Israel, a huge innovation conference, the organizers of Cybertech Israel have decided to bring Cybertech to the Midwest. After several meetings all over the region, the State of Indiana was chosen as the host of three Cybertech Midwest conferences. The second conference, taking place this week, will showcase the revolutionary technologies of American and Israeli companies to thousands of attendees.

Hoosiers are taking note of Israel’s impact too. Israeli tech firm Essence Group recently won the innovation award at the ESX Security show in Indianapolis this past winter for its Radar Fall Technology, a 3D imaging system that can detect falls, empowering seniors to live alone without fear. This is just one of thousands of innovations coming out of the Start-up Nation that helps others engage in Tikkun Olam, repairing the world. In the true spirit of partnership, Indiana also helps keep Israel safe. The entire ambulance fleet of Magen David Adom (the national organization for emergency medical response in Israel) is manufactured in Elkhart, Indiana, creating jobs for Indiana and life savers for Israelis.

Our mutually held belief in education and multiculturalism is deepened through collegiate opportunities for Hoosiers to study alongside their Israeli peers through Indiana University’s study abroad partnership with The Rothberg International School at the internationally renowned Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The University of Notre Dame has two permanent academic institutions in Jerusalem: a Global Gateway for undergraduates and The Tantur Ecumenical Institute for the study of religion with study abroad programs, as well as visiting professors program between ND and Tel Aviv University.

Like an alley-oop, we need each other. Through the United Front partnership, established in 2012, Israeli Defense Force’s Home Front Command shares expertise with the Indiana National Guard on search and rescue techniques at annual training sessions rotating between Indiana and Israel. In June, a delegation of Israelis traveled to Camp Atterbury and Muscatatuck Urban Training Center to promote interoperability between our forces.

In conclusion, The Israeli Pop-Up Consulate is a great way to show that the Indiana-Israel collaboration is a slam dunk! As we continue to drive towards the basket, it is clear that when we work together there is no game we can’t win, together. 

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