Selected Programs and Key Activities Summary
- The U.S.-Israel Business Initiative hosted a briefing on Capitol Hill on Israel’s energy transformation with the leadership of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
- The U.S.-Israel Business Initiative held its Annual Meeting, with keynote remarks from Israeli Minister of Economy Naftali Bennett. The inaugural gathering of the USIBI Board of Directors took place at this time as well.
- The U.S. Chamber hosted Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant for a Mississippi-Israel Business Forum in Tel Aviv.
- The U.S.-Israel Business Initiative hosted Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer for a business roundtable in Houston, TX.
- The U.S.-Israel Business Initiative hosted a conversation with Yael Andorn, Director General of the Ministry of Finance, and Yoel Naveh, Chief Economist of the Ministry of Finance, on ways to upgrade the economic dialogue between the U.S. and Israel.
- The U.S.-Israel Business Initiative hosted a conversation with the leadership of the Israeli Embassy on the political and economic developments in the Middle East. Both Reuven Azar, Deputy Head of Mission, and Moshe Bar Siman Tov, Economic Attache, participated in the conversation.
- The U.S.-Israel Business Initiative hosted a conference call with Ambassador Itamar Rabinovich and Anat Katz, Commercial Attache at the Israeli embassy to give member companies insights into the economic impacts of the fighting in Gaza.
- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce led a business delegation to Israel to connect U.S. companies with Israeli business and government leaders for discussions on advancing the bilateral economic relationship on June 15-16. Headed by the Chamber’s Vice President for Turkey and Middle East Affairs Khush Choksy, the delegation coincided with the annual U.S.-Israel Joint Economic Development Group (JEDG) meetings led by Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Charles Rivkin.
- The Chamber relased a series of policy recommendations to both governments on actions the public sector can take to encourage the bilateral commercial relationship.
- The U.S. Chamber hosted the Israel-U.S. Bilateral Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation’s annual reception. American and Israeli officials, including Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA) and Amit Lang, Director General of the Israeli Ministry of Economy, spoke about the importance of the bilateral relationship.
- The Chamber hosted Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer on April 10 for a discussion on the U.S.-Israel economic relationship. Dermer detailed how Israel had become a 21st century economy, and added that market reforms from the past 20 years have positioned Israel to be a world leader in developing technologies serving the cyber security, energy, and a host of other sectors.
- The Chamber hosted a working lunch with Harel Locker, Director General of the Office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to discuss new ways the Government of Israel can support and enhance opportunities for the American business community.
- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce hosted a dinner with Israeli Minister of Finance Yair Lapid on the evening of October 10 in Washington, D.C. Minister Lapid engaged with a conversation on a wide range of issues, including the government’s innovation strategy and tax regime, and energy development.
- Khush Choksy, Vice President for Turkey, Middle East and North Africa Affairs at the Chamber and Josh Kram, Senior Advisor for Turkey, Middle East and North Africa Affairs returned from a trip to the region in August. While there, they met with key Israeli government officials and private sector leaders. Choksy and Kram met with U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro at the U.S. Embassy
- Myron Brilliant, Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Khush Choksy, Vice President of Turkey, Middle East and North Africa at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce spoke at the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in New York City.The forum was hosted by Malcolm Hoenlein and Robert G. Sugarman, the Executive Vice Chairman and Chairman, respectively, of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, along with Israel’s Consul General in New York, Ido Aharoni. The conference brought together professional and lay leadership from the organized Jewish community. Brilliant and Choksy met with leaders at the conference to discuss areas that the Chamber and the American Jewish community can work together on bilateral economic issues.
- USIBI hosted companies and Israeli officials in the cyber security field. Throughout the week, the delegation had high-level discussions and interactions with their U.S. counterparts from both government and industry. Israel is a global leader in developing innovative cyber security solutions to combat terror and crime. The country’s experience fighting terror combined with cutting edge high tech capabilities have enabled many companies to develop innovative products, systems and services.At a roundtable discussion on U.S.-Israel Cooperation on cyber security, Rami Efrati, Deputy Head of the Israeli Cyber Bureau in the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office, and Christopher Painter, Senior Director for Cyber Security Policy at the U.S. Department of State, spoke about the shared threats facing business and government on both sides of the Atlantic as well as creating the right policies and standards to promote enhanced cooperation.
- A delegation from the U.S. Chamber visited Israel to meet with the new Israeli leadership in charge of economic affairs. In discussions with Yair Lapid, Minister of Finance, and Naftali Bennett, Minister of Economy and Trade, among other key officials, we reaffirmed the Chamber’s strong commitment to Israel and to the advancement of bilateral investment and trade. The Chamber group also met with corporate leaders from the Israel-America Chamber of Commerce to expand the partnership between AmCham Israel and the U.S. Chamber.
- U.S.-Israel Business Initiative hosts Israeli Finance Minister Dr. Yuval Steinitz for a luncheon and discussion at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Steinitz discussed Israel’s strategy of combating the effects of the global recession by encouraging economic growth through policies designed to promote private sector investment, support entrepreneurship, and emphasize the importance of advanced education in science and technology.
- Also attending the event was Jose W. Fernandez, United States Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy, and Business Affairs.
- The Chamber’s National Security and Emergency Preparedness Department and the U.S.-Israel Business Initiative are teaming up to lead a Senior Level National Security Trade Mission to Israel from November 11th-14th. The mission will focus on cybersecurity, securing the smart city, critical infrastructure protection, emergency management, ports of entry, aviation, and border security.
- U.S.-Israel Business Initiative hosts the U.S.-Israel Joint Economic Group for bilateral discussions.
- U.S.-Israel Business Initiative hosts Shaul Tzemach, Director General, Israel’s Ministry of Energy and Water Resources.
- U.S.-Israel Business Initiative announced the launch of a new program to enhance U.S.-Israel energy cooperation/ Chaired by Noble Energy, the largest investor in Israel’s growing natural gas sector, the program aims to enhance the Israeli government’s understanding of the global energy sector while establishing robust and mutually rewarding commercial ties between Israel’s hydrocarbon sector and U.S. businesses.
- The U.S.-Israel Business Initiative participated in the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, Texas, including participation in a separate Israel track of the conference. Tens of thousands of people participated in the OTC, which focuses on the development of offshore energy resources. The forum also highlighted a delegation of senior Israeli government officials, including Uzi Landau, Israel’s Minister of Energy and Water Resources.
- The Chamber leads a senior level life sciences mission to Israel. Delegates met with key government ministries, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on key policy and programmatic areas relating to the sector. Additionally, the group is touring medical, biotech, and pharmaceutical facilities across the country and leading roundtable discussions on innovation policy and programmatic issues with Israeli stakeholders.
- Myron Brilliant, the Chamber’s SVP for International Affairs, spoke at AIPAC’s annual policy conference. AIPAC’s policy conference is the largest pro-Israel gathering with over 10,000 participants from 50 states.
- Josh Kram, Senior Advisor for Middle East and North Africa, spoke at Hudson Institute event featuring business leaders, investors, and government officials exploring Israel’s innovation ecosystem and lessons that can be learned for the United States.
- USIBI hosted the event, “The US and Israel: Creating Jobs Together,” a gathering around the annual US-Israel strategic dialogue. The event featured AmCham Israel’s leadership and top business leaders, including Chairwoman of the Strauss Group, Ofra Strauss. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Israel’s Ambassador to the United States both participated and spoke about the tremendous economic impact of U.S.-Israel relations, an issue not often discussed related to our bilateral alliance.
- The Chamber’s SVP for International Affairs Myron Brilliant delivered a keynote address at the annual Israel Day event held at the New York Stock Exchange, hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Israel and the America-Israel Friendship League.
- At a luncheon featuring Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, USIBI announced the establishment of a new Innovation Working Group to showcase the best practices and policies that have propelled Israel into one of the world’s leading generators of entrepreneurship and innovation.
- Lionel Johnson, VP for Middle East and North Africa Affairs, and Josh Kram host strategic dialogue between USIBI and Director General of Israel’s Ministry of Industry Trade and Labor, Sharon Kedmi to discuss 6-12 month work plan and areas for collaboration.
- In conjunction with the BIO International Convention – the largest global biotechnology gathering – USIBI hosted a delegation of bio-technology and pharmaceutical companies from Israel, led by Avi Hasson, Israel’s Chief Scientist from Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Labor. Seventeen of the participating companies won a national competition organized by MATIMOP, the executive agency of the Office of the Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor and national agency for industrial R&D cooperation, and the Israel Life Sciences Industry. This half-day event included high-level discussions with American and Israeli business leaders and government officials on Israel’s biotech sector and specific areas for U.S.-Israeli collaboration. In addition to Israel’s Chief Scientist, Avi Hasson, speakers included Dr. Mikael Dolsten, Pfizer’s President of Worldwide Research & Development, Aaron Schacht, Executive Director for External Research & Development at Eli Lilly, Ze’ev Zelig, Vice President of Genzyme Corporation, and Dr. Robin Robinson, Director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Preparedness & Response, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
- At the annual conference for the America Israel Public Affairs Committee, Myron Brilliant and Josh Kram, addressed hundreds of attendees about trends and opportunities in U.S.-Israel business. We outlined the ways in which the relationship is expanding in sectors including bio-technology, energy, ICT, and how this bilateral alliance is impacting world markets. USIBI was also featured in a video shown to the 10,000 attendees along with Will Gates, Warren Buffet, and other business leaders who have invested in Israel.
- U.S.-Israel Business Initiative and honorary chairman Sheldon Adelson hosted a reception for top leaders on the margins of AIPAC’s Policy Conference.
- USIBI hosted a luncheon with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s top economic advisor and Head of Israel’s National Economic Council, Dr. Eugene Kandel, during the premiere’s recent trip to the United States. In his presentation, Dr. Kandel described the factors that have allowed Israel’s economy to prosper despite the global recession, focusing on the country’s longstanding commitment to research and development. In the second part of his presentation, Dr. Kandel highlighted Israel’s plans for a new oil independence initiative, an aggressive project designed to eliminate Israeli dependence on foreign oil within the next ten years. To do this, Israel has committed billions of dollars to research projects designed to develop new, alternative energies, and is actively seeking U.S. and other foreign partners to join this new effort.
- Lionel Johnson, VP for Middle East and North Africa Affairs, and Josh Kram, travel to Israel to meet with key companies, top government officials, and our partners.
- USIBI hosted the “US-Israel Business Leaders Forum,” bringing together top leadership from local and state U.S.-Israel Chambers of Commerce and organizations that foster U.S.-Israeli business to network, build partnerships, and discuss current issues. The group also met with and discussed some of the key policy issues impacting U.S.-Israel business ties with Undersecretary for Economic, Business, and Agricultural Affairs Robert Hormats and Assistant US Trade Representative Dan Mulaney.
- USIBI hosted Israel’s Minister of Communications and Social Welfare Moshe Kahlon. Kahlon discussed the regulatory and structural changes the government was implementing in telecommunications industry and opportunities for American companies.
- Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Strategic Affairs Lt. Gen Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon briefed members of the U.S.-Israel Business Initiative on the impact of the “Arab Spring” on Israel’s security situation and how it might affect the broader business climate.
- The U.S. Chamber’s Middle East Division and USIBI hosted a call on recent developments in the Middle East with the National Security Council’s Senior Director of Middle East and North Africa Dan Shapiro and Deputy National Security Adviser for international economic affairs Mike Froman.
- USIBI presented at a conference of all of the commercial officers from Israeli Consulates across the United States. Throughout the year, USIBI has partnered with a number of the consulates to co-develop events and programs to create new partnerships between American and Israeli companies.
- Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren hosted a dinner for the USIBI at his private residence in order to promote our effort among American companies. Oren spoke with about 30 business leaders about the importance of strengthening not just our political relationship, but our business and commercial ties as well.
- USIBI hosted Israel’s Deputy Minister of Health, Yaacov Litzman, for a forum on “Health Care in Israel” with leading American pharmaceutical companies. USIBI has been in touch with a range of life sciences companies to help them explore and navigate deepening their ties into Israel. For example, Pfizer’s President of Global Innovation and Chief Scientist will be joining us on a mission to Israel in March 2012.
- USIBI hosted a panel discussion entitled, “Israel as an Energy Exporter? The commercial and geo-political implications of the natural gas,” with Shlomo Wald, Chief Scientist from the Ministry of Infrastructure. Given the magnitude of the natural gas find off the coast of Haifa in 2010 and the birth of essentially a brand new industry in Israel, USIBI is working with the Government of Israel and American private sector to examine opportunities for American investment and shape the Government’s work in this sector.