Deval Patrick with Eliezer Shkedi 311.
(photo credit: Sivan Farag)
WASHINGTON – Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick arrived in Israel on Monday with a
large business delegation that includes executives from life sciences, renewable
energy and information-technology companies, as well as venture
The executives will meet their Israeli counterparts and with
President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
two terms as governor, Patrick had headed only two business delegations outside
Massachusetts, before his trip to Israel: one to China and the other to
California, he told Globes. That Israel is the destination of the third
delegation, together with the UK, shows “the great importance that Massachusetts
attributes to its economic ties with Israel and its ambition to expand them,”
“We very much want Israeli companies that are considering
expanding their business to the US to consider us as their second home,” he
said. “We want exposure to Israeli science and technology.
Israel is a
powerhouse in intelligence, technological innovation and venture capital. This
is a winning combination with few competitors in the world. We want to be part
of this picture. We have something to offer Israel, and Israel has something to
We want our managers to know Israeli managers and
“I hope that this visit to Israel will initiate a process of
mutual fertilization that will create joint ventures in outstanding fields in
both states, including in the life sciences.”
This is the second business
delegation to visit Israel from Massachusetts.
Former governor William
Weld headed the first delegation in 1997.
Massachusetts has one of the
highest concentrations of Israeli companies in the United States, mostly along
Route 128 around Boston, also known as the East Coast Silicon Valley. The area
houses 100 companies founded by Israelis, or which use Israeli
These companies have a total of about 6,000 employees and
had $2.4 billion in aggregate revenue in 2009, the last year for which there is
The 32-member delegation was scheduled to hold three forums with
representatives of Israeli companies: one for investment in Massachusetts real
estate; one for IT; and another for renewable energy.
executives will also meet their Israeli counterparts in private meetings, many
of which were arranged in advance.
Patrick was scheduled to meet El Al
Israel Airlines CEO Eliezer Shkedi.
The Massachusetts Governor’s Office
was seriously considering establishing a commercial attache in Israel, Patrick
said. If it is set up, Massachusetts will become the latest US state to open an
office in Israel, following New York, New Jersey, Florida, Illinois, Indiana,
Ohio, Virginia, Georgia and Delaware, among others. The Israeli office would be
Massachusetts’s third foreign commercial attache, following its two offices in
Patrick said his office was aware of Israel’s geopolitical risks.
He had even considered postponing the visit because of the turmoil in Egypt, but
decided to go ahead, knowing that developments in Cairo had no direct effect on
daily life in Tel Aviv, he said.
Asked why it is worthwhile for an
Israeli company to set up shop in Massachusetts, Patrick said: “We have the
highest-skilled and most-professional manpower in the US, and our incentives
package that we’re prepared to offer foreign companies is very competitive.”