Israel Korea sign MOU.
(photo credit: Mark Neyman, GPO)
Despite international calls to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel by some,
Israel does have friends and admirers around the world. Among them is South
Korea, which on Monday stepped up its strong ties with Israel by signing a
memorandum of understanding for the establishment of a joint $150 million
venture capital fund to promote and assist small and medium sized businesses in
both countries, especially those working in advanced technologies.
signing ceremony between Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-
Eliezer and Kim Dong-Sun, the chief administrator of South Korea’s Small and
Medium Business Administration (SMBA), was held at Beit Hanassi in the presence
of President Shimon Peres as a followup to a declaration made when Peres and Ben
Eliezer visited the country in June.
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Kim Dong-Sun was accompanied by
South Korea’s ambassador to Israel Young- Sam Ma, Chief Executive Officer of the
Korea Venture Investment Corporation Kim Hyung-Ki, Prof. Tae-Yeung You, the
Hebrew-speaking chairman of the Korea-Israel Friendship Association and chairman
of the Tomorrow Foundation for Korean Youth and Rural Development, as well as
other Korean dignitaries.
Young-Sam told reporters that although
bilateral relations are excellent, they can still be brought to the highest
possible level with new technologies from both countries.
Ben-Eliezer, who had met most of the delegation on their trip, expressed delight
at seeing them in Israel, especially Kim Dong-San, who is here for the first
Peres called South Korea “a self made country” which had started at
a very low point and had reached a high point. He and his delegation had been
profoundly impressed by South Korea’s achievements and its democratic system, he
Noting that most businesses are small or medium, Peres said that
small can sometimes be great. It was all a matter of initiative – and he had
seen a great deal of initiative in South Korea.
Kim Dong-San spoke of
Korea’s respect for the people and president of Israel, and recalled the joint
declaration signifying the upgrading of the level of cooperation between the two
countries that was made during Peres’s visit. “We are now here to implement an
action plan,” he said, underscoring that among the commonalities of the two
countries was the ability to transform adversity into opportunities for
South Korea, like Israel, successfully overcame the global
economic crisis. The two are among the few OECD member countries to do
For both South Korea and Israel to achieve growth, said Kim Dong-San,
it is essential to promote innovation and creativity among the youth in both
countries, “because they are the key to growth potential.”
The signing of
the MOU, he continued, will help to assist and promote more small and medium
companies, and will thus enable greater technological advancement.
economic crisis showed the world just how delicate and fragile corporate economy
is, said Ben-Eliezer, who asserted that governments must assist small and medium
businesses, “which are the backbone of the economy.”
He was particularly
keen that such assistance be rendered to companies working in energy and
This is not the first joint venture of its kind between
Israel and South Korea. In 2001, the two countries signed an agreement for the
establishment of a joint South Korea-Israel Research and Development Foundation
known as Koril R&D, which has since financed numerous technology projects
between companies from each country.