As our sixth full day in Israel comes to a close, I find myself already reflecting on the trip two days before we fly home. Being here has opened my eyes up to not only the differences between the United States and Israel, but the similarities we share as well.
We started off this morning with the Palestinian Internship Program (PIP). This is a nonprofit that is dedicated to providing young Palestinian professionals with high-level internships at leading companies with the aim of PIP graduates using their experience to contribute to the development of Palestinian technology and innovation. We spoke with program director Jesse Divon, as well as his successor Anna Gol, about the goals of PIP. This was particularly interesting for me, because as the trip has gone on, I have begun to focus my research on whether business ties have the power to ease tensions in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. For some, this has been seen as an optimistic dream, but with this program I see the possibility in it becoming a reality. It makes me proud to know that the US is funding this initiative, bringing innovation and technology into Palestine.
After PIP, we traveled to IDC Herzliya, a nonprofit private research college located approximately forty minutes outside of Tel Aviv. There we met up with Professor Levi Shapiro, whose class we would be attending. After we ate lunch in the outdoor student cafeteria, Shapiro met us at the Adelson School of Entrepreneurship. We were each given the opportunity to meet with a group of ten students to learn more about them and their final projects in the class, where they had to create a Wikipedia page for an entrepreneur who didn’t have one. Not only was it interesting to hear about their personal interests in entrepreneurship, but being able to have a conversation with people close to my age from a different culture. As I have been reminded many times on this trip, our two worlds are not so different, as we shared common thoughts about education, music, and more. I even had one person in my group who was familiar with Connecticut and where I was born in Chicago as well.
Finally, we ended the day at the Pearl Cohen law firm in the Azrieli Sarona Tower, the tallest building in Tel Aviv. Arriving at the top floor, we were welcomed by the warm sunset overlooking the city and the Mediterranean. There we met with partner Joel Stein and senior partner Anna Moshe. They spoke with us on the about the importance of understanding the process of creating a start-up instead of just knowing in stages. It was interesting to get a lawyer’s perspective of a successful start-up, as well as listen to their thoughts of why Israel is a “Start-Up Nation”.
This trip has been truly eye opening to the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Israel, as well as the ties between the two nations that have been here all along. I look forward to continue learning about entrepreneurship not only throughout the rest of the trip, but back in the United States. I will never forget the experiences I have had and the things I have learned here in Israel, and I am excited to bring these experiences back home with me.
Post written by: Mia Jensen
Mia Jensen: I am a sophomore majoring in Political Science with a minor in ASL/English Interpreting. I am participating in this trip because I have a passion for learning, and am fascinated by the rapid growth of Israel. I am looking forward to discovering how the political climate between Israel and the United States affect business relations, and in turn, if business relations have an effect on the political climate.