Delegation from Massachusetts arrives in Israel on business

Gov. Deval Patrick: "We want Israeli companies considering expanding their business to the US to consider us as their second home."

Deval Patrick with Eliezer Shkedi 311 (photo credit: Sivan Farag)
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 capitalists.
The executives will meet their Israeli counterparts and with President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
During his 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,” Patrick said.
“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 offer us.
We want our managers to know Israeli managers and scientists.
“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 technologies.
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 data.
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.
Massachusetts 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 China.
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.”