Waze navigation application 370.
(photo credit: Courtesy Waze)
Michigan is the automobile manufacturing hub of the world. So if Google
relocates recently purchased Israeli firm Waze to the US, why not to the search
company’s R&D facility in the state instead of its headquarters in Silicon
Valley? That is a question Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder asked this week on a visit
to GPS-based navigational app company Waze’s headquarters in Ra’anana that he
described as one of the highlights of his nine-day trade mission to Israel. In
an interview with The Jerusalem Post at the King David Hotel, Snyder said he
would speak to Google officials about Waze when he returns to
“That is a company we hope will set up shop in Michigan,”
“Google has a major site in Ann Arbor and therefore we hope
they will look to Michigan as the place to go. It’s their decision, but we want
to make sure to present the business case why Michigan is the best place for
them to be.”
Snyder said he came to Israel to deepen an already strong
bond between Michigan and the Jewish state.
Michigan was one of the top
states in imports and exports with Israel, he said.
“We can strengthen
our ties by doing more business, social services and cultural ties,” said Snyder
who entered politics recently from the business world. “I have been watching
Israeli technological innovation and entrepreneurship for 20 years. I saw how
the culture here encourages taking risks and made it into a
Snyder has been credited with helping turn around the economy
in Michigan, which was last in America in key economic indicators before he took
over in 2010. He said he hopes to draft Israeli companies to Michigan to help
him build his state’s economy.
“We can be the gateway to America for
Israeli companies, said Snyder, who is the former CEO of the Gateway computer
company. “We have a Michigan-Israel business bridge. Israel has a hitech economy
but a limited market of 8 million people. The US is a natural market and
cultural ties with the Jewish community and great business community make
Michigan a good place for Israeli start-ups.”
Asked what Michigan could
teach Israel, Snyder said the state could be a model for how to reinvent an
economy, create an environment for success, and create a global economy.
Regarding the failure of Better Place, Israel’s entry in the automotive
industry, he said electric cars and other innovations have a longer adoption
curve, because there are people who are reluctant to change.
with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Economy and Trade Minister Naftali
Bennett, with whom he bonded as a fellow former hi-tech entrepreneur who shifted
to politics. Unlike Israeli politicians, Snyder said he sees no point in
political attacks, so even though he is a Republican, he had nothing to say
about the policies of Democrat US President Barack Obama.
believe in criticizing or blaming,” he said. “I view the president and other
leaders as my partners. We’re all in customer service and my citizens are