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.