Day 9 – Farewell Israel

Day 9 – 1/14/12 Saturday,

A small group of us went with Prof. Kessler to walk along the beach and get our last look of Israel and the beautiful sites it had to offer. We ate at the Ben the Fishers restaurant, the food there was decadent and rich, the bread spreads were wide in variety and delicious.  some random observations I’ve made in Tel Aviv was that people were able to park their car anywhere and the cops didn’t seem to care too much at all. I mentioned prior about the stray cats littering the streets, heres a fun picture of a cat and police partnership.

The recycling program in Tel Aviv is quite unique and only possible because of the people and small population of Tel Aviv

We than packed our bags in the hotel and decided to keep exploring the city prior to heading back to the airport. The beach was beautiful.

The rest of the day was sipping a drink watching the sun go down, apparently Carlsberg “probably has the best beer in the world.”

It was a great way to end our stay in Tel Aviv, Israel. Slow, peaceful and enjoyable.

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Day 8 – Brunch

Day 8 – 1/13/12 Friday,

Today we were given more time to get ready and wake up. The majority of the class headed out for brunch at 10am with the professors and walked to the harbor. There we went to a restaurant to have brunch with Pace Alumni s who live in Israel. We met 4 alumni, one of whom was the 4th highest ranking general in Israel’s IDF, in command of the Gaza Strip. He was very friendly and courteous to us the students. though we didn’t talk much to the other alumni they all introduced their job status and their current start-ups they were working on or beginning.

After the brunch Professor Kessler rounded up a group of students and we hiked through rain, wind, and hail towards Jaffa, the city. when it wasn’t raining or hailing the walk was beautiful

At Jaffa we headed towards an award winning Hummus restaurant, I found their Hummus and bread to be better than their main course meals of sea food and fish.

It was raining too much with too much wind so we unceremoniously grabbed two cabs and rode back to our hotels in comfort.

My roommate and I decided to go and check out the Becki Bar that the student Uri from Tel Aviv University owned, it was a nice spot with decent priced drinks and may I add it was extremely popular. An interesting thing I learned about Israeli night life was that the bars and clubs their have an age limit either people under or over a certain age are not allowed in according to the place’s unique setting and vibes.

Goodnight Israel.

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Day 7 – Last day of School

Day 7 – 1/12/12 Thurseday

Today was the last day of the academia for our trip we started off by visiting Carmel Ventures a venture capital company. Carmel Ventures specialized with technological start-ups, the management team of Carmel Ventures all specialized and had been involved in technological start-ups.

We were than dropped off for lunch in the mall near a board walk. For the next hour we spent wandering the waterside, and eating at a waterside restaurant. I didn’t mention this before but there are a lot of cats in Israel random strays that just hang around the water and relax in the streets.

We than attended a class at Tel Aviv University taught by Ayla Matalon. The two guest speakers were Prof. Bachenheimer and Dr. Ed Mlavsky. It was interesting but nothing new, we did mingle with the students at the university and I befriended two Israeli students Uri & Shir both were in their late 20’s because of the years they spent in the military. Uri actually owned a bar that was an local hot spot and he invited us to come for a drink later.

The rest of the day was spent in lazy bliss with my computer. I decided to try Israeli McDonalds before I left so I traveled a long distance and acquired my prize. It was simply McDonalds just a little less grease, if any-ones interested I would say it taste more like Burger King than McDonald’s.

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Day 6 – The Day of Lamb and Rice

Day 6 – 1/11/12 Wednesday,

We visited the Ashkelon Water Desalinization Plant, the world’s second largest plant. It was built with an 25 year Build Operate Transfer (BOT) contract, its currently privatized for 25 years but at the end of 2027 the ownership of the plant will be given to the Israeli Government. The two owners of the company are Veolia Environment & IDE Technology (Israeli company), the plant is able to desalinize 125,000 cubic meters of water a year, the hope for Israel is that in the future 80% of the water from Israel will come from desalinization, currently Israel gets most of their water from the Sea of Galilee, but too much usage will drain the sea thus Israel is in need of a new source of water.

Our Guide (left) – Myself (right)

We than had the most delicious meal of the whole trip, lamb over rice, with a full round of appetizers of salad, hummus and bread. It was incredibly rich and filling,

We than met Ormat Industries a 47 years old Amatitlan Geothermal energy company, founded with the intention of helping Israel less dependent on oil and to find alternative energy sources, with push from Ben Gurion. They also run an vocational school to help teens and students able to enter the technological job market.

We than ran into the coolest company OBJET, a 3D printing company. They showed us their end products and how these amazing printers were able to print detailed real life products, the printers printed a layer of 16 microns a pass, to give an comparison a single hair on a human head is 96 microns.

Seeing is believing

They also gave us a present to take home with us.

That night we visited the MIT Forum in which Ayla Matalan and Prof. Bachenheimer was a guest speaker, the topic being “What you don’t learn in school.”

 

That was the end of the night for myself.

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Day 5 – The Day of Discussion & Shopping

Day 5 – 5/10/11 Tuesday

Today we started our early morning with a visit to Chiasma where Fred Price was CEO he was gracious enough to ensure that we not only met his company but 3 others as well as a high level investor. We met Galit Zuckerman CEO & founder of Medasense Biometrics, she discovered a way to measure pain using a finger like apparatus. Following met Exalenz which is a medical device company that uses non-invasive test to do diagnosis and evaluation of people and certain problems or conditions they may have, This company brought out the most interest in the students and I personally believe will change the entire US medical market. The funniest and memorable presentation was from Commwell R&D founded by Dr. Daniel David, he invented and created the home self tests which enable people to get medical care from home which was the similar if not the same level of medical treatment received at a hospital. Finally we saw the presentation from the Chiasma representative and was allowed a tour of their facility, and we got to see the lab rats.

We than visited Omrix an subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, it was impressive. The head of the department their was a Scottish man who was running the Israeli subsidiary. He thoroughly explained the chain of companies and how Johnson & Johnson managed and operated their 7 different companies. He also gave an honest explanation of the pros and cons of running an Israeli subsidiary, he explained the benefit of having the innovative Israeli’s working for Johnson & Johnson but also the restrictions of working with the religious systems set in play of Israel, where they could only manufacture 5 to 6 days a week instead of a full 7 day output. Their new invention the Fibrin Pad will completely revolutionize the medical market.

We than had shawarma, from a local spot, it was quite filling.

We than visited Jerusalem where me, Nikhil, & Henry were allowed 3 hours to explore the old city market of Jerusalem. We barely bought anything but we were able to really explore and see the old market without being restricted with a large tour group. I headed home and passed out to prepare for the next day of learning.

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Day 4 – Sleep Apneia

Day 4 – 1/9/12 – Monday

Today tried something a little different and got the “Healthy Breakfast” which was yogurt and granola with fresh fruits and honey to top it off, Israel is called the land of milk and honey. It was fresh and vitalizing if not filling.

Today we went to see Itmar Medical in which they’ve invented something called the Watch Pad which detects sleep apenie in people simply by attaching a apparatus on a patient’s hand and is painless and simple. A device people could take and use at home, which is light years ahead of the current tests used in the US, where patients have to try and sleep in a medical room where they are being observed, uncomfortable.

What was interesting about Itmar was the insight the CEO gave us into the Israeli’s perspective of China and India aka Chindia and the US market about the bureaucracy plaguing our  health care system. Ayla Matalon attended the meeting with us today and she brought a pill cam with her which is one of the leading medical innovations from Israel. Just to make sure I don’t forget Ayla Matalon was Prof. Bauchenheimer’s contact in Israel, she helped us set up and make a lot of the meetings in Israel.

We followed that visit with a trip to ISCAR the GM of Israel. I call them that because ISCAR is a focal point of Israeli’s culmination of Israeli entrepreneurship and success. They are one of the few companies in Israel that are still partially owned by an Israeli and a real leader not only in innovation but size in the global market. The family that founded and to this day manages ISCAR is the richest family in Israel.

The day ended with some light rain and dark clouds and my bed.

 

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Day 3 – And the Work Begins

Day 3 -Sunday 1/8/12

Awoke super early again today around 6am. Had the same delicous Israeli breakfast, but unfortunately, today instead of red peppers they gave us eggplant, it was ok…

Our first stop today was Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE), where we met a director who led us through the history of the TASE formation and its struggles to become the blossoming company it is today. Some random facts about TASE is that they were formed in 1953, it has 29 members who are connected and trade the TASE daily except on Friday and Saturday because of Shabbot, another example of culture and religion effect on the country. Similarly to the US where Sunday is an holiday because of the large christian foundation in the country which religion and government are supposedly seperate… Anyways of the 29 members 6 are foreigners to Israel, the companies being Citibank, HSBC, Deutsche Bank, UBS, Citigroup, and Barclays. The one remote member being Meryl Linch which I suppose means they have 7 foreign members but only 6 have offices in Israel.

One more interesting fact about TASE, is that they are very similar to US in their policies and rules, but unlike the US whcih follows the accounting standards of the US GAAP, Israel follows the larger and internationally used IFRS which is a big deal. Many accounting groups are either pro or con using IFRS mainly because they want to keep the US system the way it is because it has more loopholes, and more gray areas (Arthur Andersen/Enron Scandal).

Following our visit to TASE we visited my favorite company Better Place, founded by Shai Agassi a company poised to change the world in a big way if successful. Better Place will be introducing the Battery Switch Station (BSS) and essentially selling you car batteries in which you will pay as you use, similar to cell phone contracts and smart phones. The idea of Better Place is so that you will buy a all electric vehicle and not have to worry about the high cost of the battery which will be subsidized and their will be BSS that enable you to travel long distances with no fear of running out of energy on the road. We were allowed to test drive the cars which was a pretty nice ride.

We ended the day with a visit to Liliyot, a nonprofit restaurant that helps get kids and struggling teens off the street by teaching them the trade of cooking, running restaurants and even to be servers. Liliyot now has 5 restaurants in Israel, with over 200,000 graduates. The food was interesting but I don’t believe it was as good as the other Israeli food we had the pleasure of eating.

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Day 2 – Jerusalem & the Over Zealous Tour Guide

Day 2 – 1/7/12 Saturday

I slept like a baby last night and woke up at 5am in the morning, I’m not really sure what I should do so I started writing in my note book journal. Today we’re going to Jerusalem and get all the site seeing done with in one day before the academia starts.

Went down to breakfast at 7am with Nikhil and had our free breakfast, it was DELICIOUS!!! I will never forget this breakfast from the Dizengoff Suites Hotel, we had three options and I went with the Israeli breakfast and it was scrambled eggs with salad, and toast with 4 types of spread, cheese, tuna, a sort of cream cheese (but better), and red peppers. It was decadent, I will endeavor to order this every morning!

We than ran to our bus, and arrived at the Dan Hotel, where we met our tour guide for Jerusalem, Miri. Miri took us too many beautiful sites in Jerusalem so that we could take all our pictures from the highest and all seeing parts if New Jerusalem.

We than proceeded to a museum in which everyone, including the professors were baffled as to why she spent over an hour going over a city replica of Jerusalem when we could just go inside and see all the historical places.

We finally went in we saw the old markets, Jaffa gates,

We ate at this local place that could barely fit the class, we had to sit back to back with no room to breathe but the Hummus we good, the chicken and rice even better

Gethsemane

Church of the Holy Sepulchre,

and the Western Wall (couldn’t take pictures in the Western Wall but here are some pics from the top). We saw many historically important parts and architecture in Jerusalem but I will probably never fully recall all those places.

The ride home was long and tiring, an point my classmates were making on the ride back

I ended the night with some Israeli Pizza Hut and it was good and all but I have to add they have NO MEAT! on their pizzas and no options to add only vegetables, and no chicken sides, even though their not a kosher restaurant the whole nation reflects the influence of Judaism in the culture and food.

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Day 1 – Entrance to Israel, Tel Aviv

Day 1 – 1/6/12

Just got off the longest plane ride of my life, for 10 hours I had the pleasure of being unable to sleep and feeling like a fat guy in a child’s seat.

We finally got off and my first impression was that Ben Gurion  Airport was much smaller than what I expected, but it was very open they had windows everywhere and had an interesting circular design.

My first impression of Israel was that it was still developing, I had sort expected either a metropolitan city like the US, or developing like what you would see in the less developed parts of China. It was more like China to me, there weren’t too many structures on the road and all the cars I saw were cars you would have seen in the US 10 or 20 years ago. It made me realize why the term/name Start-up Nation was an accurate name for Israel. My first impression of Tel Aviv at Dizengoff was sort of disappointing, I expected more skyscrapers and tech buildings everywhere.

But what made it a real bummer was that becasue it was Shabbot everything except AM-PM were closed. AM-PMs are the equivalent of an 7/11 in the states. So there wasn’t really much to do, except eat and buy groceries.

Prof. Bauchenheimer introduced us to the Kliens, Eric and his wife. Eric was an Pace Alumni from back in the day and moved to Israel to start a family with his native Israeli wife. He is the contact that introduced us to Better Place and a few other companies. We had dinner at a very hip looking seafood restaurant. It was surprisingly cold in Israel that night so we ate inside and the pasta was delicious, and the wine seemed fine, but according to the wind connoisseurs Prof. Kessler and Mr. Klien  the wine was delicious.

Afterward I wandered Dizengoff St. and went to sleep early, my roommate Nikhil Kalyankar, grad student was nice enough to let me claim the small bedroom and he got the queen bed in the living room.

My overall impression of Israel that night was that it was a lot like the US but still a very developing nation.

 

 

 

 

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