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ISRAEL


LAND? T


THE PROMISED


As Jersey welcomes an exclusive and historic new relationship with UK Israel Business, just what can the island expect from it? Dave Waller examines the opportunities ahead


HE WORD ‘Israel’ tends to conjure images of the past. As home to the sacred centre of Christianity, Islam and Judaism, it’s a state you’d imagine to be imbued with the thousands of


years of history on which it sits. Indeed, walk around Jerusalem’s walled old town, and you can almost feel the history coming out of the stones. But there’s another side to what is still a very young nation. When it comes to business, Israel is very much pointed in the opposite direction – it’s a modern state that reveres innovation. Israel has managed to build a world-class high-tech


economy in under a decade. It’s a small country, but one that invests well in its academia, with universities often focused on R&D and the sciences. Plus its peculiar geopolitical status has led to a tight-knit, military-trained population with one overriding attitude – to do it now, as you never know what’s round the corner. No surprise then that Israel now has the highest density of start-ups in the world – some 3,500 to a population of only 7.7 million. It’s also often referred to as the second Silicon Valley,


as it’s home to major R&D centres for Microsoft, Intel and Google (its largest base outside the US). Israel’s economy is still growing at over five per cent annually, comparatively untouched by the global troubles, and there are more Israeli companies listed on Nasdaq than companies from the whole of Europe. And now, as Israel’s freshly minted investors have


begun to seek opportunities beyond its borders, Jersey may just find itself well placed to benefit. Jersey Enterprise has been named as the exclusive offshore partner to UK Israel Business (UKIB), a gatekeeper organisation that creates business partnerships between Israel and the UK. In May, Jersey sent a delegation of ministers and business leaders


24 businesslife.co October/November 2011


to Tel Aviv, where they met top-ranking CEOs from Israel’s world-leading e-gaming and clean-tech industries. There is much to be pleased with here. For one, Jersey


caught Israel’s eye because of its speed of action – perhaps not something that the island is always known for. While its offshore rivals dallied at the chance to partner UKIB, Jersey Enterprise was quick to jump on board. “Jersey Enterprise saw what we were doing and wanted


to be part of it,” says Daniel Seal, CEO of UKIB. “We met on the Thursday and had signed by the Tuesday. When we visited Jersey, we saw a great quality of life, world-class regulation and a fine business infrastructure. By contrast Gibraltar was too small, there was nothing going on in Guernsey, and the Isle of Man seemed behind the times.” Such criticism may seem harsh, the latter at least has


been aimed at Jersey in the past too, especially in the lucrative field of e-gaming. But that may be about to change. The primary aim of the UKIB-led delegation





(From left) Senator Freddie Cohen; Esther Levanon, CEO of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange; and Senator Alan Maclean


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