Ormat Technologies Ltd., a pioneer in solar energy based in Yavne, won the top Export Award at the annual awards ceremony for outstanding exporters held at the President’s Residence.
The multinational award went to Cisco Systems Israel, based in Netanya, which was established 17 years ago and was Cisco’s first research and development facility outside the United States.
Other outstanding exporters honored at the event on Tuesday were Conduit Ltd. (Ness Ziona), E nzymotec Ltd. (Kfar Baruch), Adin Dental Implant Systems Ltd. (Afula), Moroccanoil Israel Ltd. (Rishon Lezion), Aromor Flavors and Fragrances Ltd. (Kibbutz Givat Oz), Hlavin Industries (Ra’anana), Andre Messika Ltd. (Ramat Gan) and Amiad Corp. (Kibbutz Amiad).
President Shimon Peres, addressing award winners and some of the members of their companies who attended the ceremony on Tuesday, said the vast majority of them were pioneers and idealists who did not inherit family businesses, but started out by themselves turning dreams into major success stories. “All of you not only built the state, you built yourselves,” he said.
To transform a needy state into a “contributing state,” Israel developed an economy with limitless achievements, yet it still needs to enhance its relations with the rest of the world, he said.
Economic sanctions and foreign aid are the central political mechanisms between nations, Peres said. It was essential for Israel to maintain its scientific advantage and its good relations around the globe, he said.
From the dawn of its creation until the present day, Israel has sought peace, and after making peace with Egypt and Jordan, it is negotiating peace with the Palestinians, Peres said. US Secretary of State John Kerry is dedicated to this aim, agreed upon by both sides, he said, adding, “We thank him for his efforts, we want to strengthen his hands, and we wish for positive results.”
Direct military threats have lessened worldwide, including in the Middle East, and acts of terrorism directed at Israel have had a boomerang effect, with the counterattacks doing more damage, Peres said. It was essential for Israel to continue developing its economic relations, not only for the sake of its well-being, but also for reasons of security, he said. There must be a synthesis between Israel’s security capabilities and economy, he said.
Israel is simultaneously challenged by security, demographic and economic problems, and for this reason it must maintain standards of excellence, Peres said.
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett began his address by heaping praise on Peres and telling him he was not only admired but loved. “We owe you a great deal for the honor you have brought to Israel,” he said, adding that every meeting with Peres was akin to receiving an infusion of creativity and innovation.
Bennett compared the award winners to Moses, Karl Marx, Theodor Herzl, Albert Einstein and even Peres in their ability to formulate a great idea and then see the idea through to fruition.
He doubted that anyone in the hall had stayed with their original idea, but they had stayed with their sense of vision, Bennett said, expressing admiration that the industrialists were competing not only in the local market but in the world at large.
Relating to changes in the work environment, Bennett said unlike their forebears who often remained in lifetime jobs until their retirement, today’s young people will have many different careers, and many will become entrepreneurs. It was vital to encourage entrepreneurship because entrepreneurs create enterprises that create jobs, he said.