Economic development at top of consul’s agenda for visit

Israeli Mid-Atlantic Region Consul Gen.Yaron Sideman
Israeli Mid-Atlantic Region Consul Gen.Yaron Sideman

By Marshall Weiss, The Dayton Jewish Observer
Yaron Sideman, Israel’s consul general to the Mid-Atlantic Region (Pennsylvania, Ohio, Delaware, West Virginia, Kentucky, and southern New Jersey), will visit Dayton Nov. 18 and 19. In addition to a public speech he’ll deliver, Sideman will meet with regional leaders of high-tech economic development projects connected to Israel. Here are excerpts of The Observer’s interview with Sideman.

What tangible ways can the consulate office facilitate high-tech partnerships among Dayton and Israeli firms?
A significant part of what the economic affairs department at the consulate does is to help identify opportunities for partnerships between U.S. and Israeli companies, facilitate business connections and provide information on how bilateral trade, business and investment in Israel works.

The consulate sometimes makes high-level introductions when we are asked to facilitate by members of the U.S. and Israeli business community and when we see a potential synergy between organizations that could work well together. You may think of our offices here (based in Philadelphia) as both libraries and as matchmakers.

We are engaged in a wide area of activities that open business and investment doors to Israel: One option that we will facilitate in partnership with the Dayton Regional Israeli Trade Alliance will be to bring Israeli companies to the region for ‘road shows.’

Another option the consulate could work with the Israeli Trade Alliance (might be) to co-organize business delegations of companies in greater Dayton that are looking to do business in Israel. We then tailor programs to the specific requirements of the companies participating.

What’s your role in the new Ohio-Israel trade agreement?
We are truly excited to be involved with the implementation of the new Ohio-Israel trade agreement or memorandum of understanding (MOU). The agreement is designed to promote joint industrial R&D between Ohio and Israel. Its mechanism is truly one ‘with teeth’ as it will allow companies in both states to collaborate on technology development, while receiving funding from both Ohio and Israel.

The consulate is working with several other agencies in Ohio and in Israel including the Ohio Development Services Agency Office of Technology Investments, the Israeli Office of the Chief Scientist, MATIMOP (Israeli Industry Center for R&D), and the Government of Israel Economic Mission to the Midwest to implement a mechanism that will finance the R&D and arrange meaningful business collaborations (for) Israeli and Ohio companies to commercialize innovative new products.

The consulate’s specific role in this collaboration is to help identify or match-make between Ohio and Israeli companies and to bring those companies to the table together.

How involved is the consulate with anti-Israel incidents on college campuses? Have you been involved with the recent incidents at Ohio University and Kent State?
We monitor the events that are going on (at) college campuses closely. Unfortunately many of these incidents come from students that are not familiar with the facts and don’t understand the complexity of the situation, so we strive to educate students about the issues. Deputy Consul General Elad Strohmayer just visited two campuses at the beginning of October: he met with Hillel students at Kent State and spoke for the LGBT group at Oberlin.

We work closely with Jewish organizations and pro-Israel organizations on campus like Hillel, The David Project, Israel on Campus Coalition and of course the Jewish Federations to promote pro-Israeli activities and speakers on campus, and the academic department at the consulate has a monthly talk with the Israeli Fellows on Campus (the Jewish Agency shlichim) to get an update about the events and share ideas and advice to deal with the challenges.

The Jewish Community Relations Council presents Israeli Mid-Atlantic Region Consul General Yaron Sideman on Wednesday, Nov. 19, 7 p.m. at Beth Abraham Synagogue, 305 Sugar Camp Cir., Oakwood.

To read the complete November 2014 Dayton Jewish Observer, click here.

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