By Benjamin Fink and Guy Tessler | Conexx

Innovation should be a Hebrew word. Israel has become the go-to source for groundbreaking, innovative inventions, technologies and businesses.

(By the way, the Hebrew word for innovation is חִדוּשׁ chedoosh).

In the first half of 2016, Israeli startup companies sold for $3.32 billion. Indeed, the Start-Up Nation is making strides every day in medical technology, cybersecurity, financial technology and so many other areas.

It is common knowledge that Israel’s strengths in these verticals regularly meet the world’s demands for innovation.

But while Israel continues to succeed in the world of business, she struggles in the world of public opinion. This past year, like many others, has been a difficult one for Israel. While violence and terrorism have struck within her borders, Israel is also at the brunt of a rising tide of renewed anti-Israel sentiment.

With the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement all over the country, particularly on college campuses, many people, especially our college-age and young professional communities, have been left with a sense of helplessness. That is why it is important that we not only find our voices for Israel and stand up against anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric, but also that we actively support Israel.

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But what kind of support will elicit the most change? Posting on social media, attending meetings and rallies, being politically active, making donations — yes, those are all incredibly important to drive awareness and support to Israel. but why not actually assist Israelis, and by extension Israel, in their livelihoods, their businesses?

Conexx: America Israel Business Connector is an organization that supports Israelis and Israel at the very heart of the matter. We’re an organization capable of changing people’s lives in real time. Conexx is the premier America-Israel business connector creating business opportunities for Israelis looking to expand in the United States and for American companies and business people looking to access Israeli innovation.

Operating in the Southeast for 25 years, Conexx has run programs, events and business missions that help shine a light on Israel as a source for good. Conexx engages with and guides governments, companies, academia and other organizations that might not otherwise demonstrate an interest in or affiliation with Israel.

Conexx President Guy Tessler.

Conexx President Guy Tessler.

It is through these activities that companies and organizations in our region start to understand that capitulating to pressure to avoid Israel is not in their best interest.

Conexx’s dedication to and support for Israel is rooted in facilitating important pathways to business-driven relationships among diverse groups of men, women and the next generation of Israel supporters in the Southeast and within the Start-Up Nation.

All these efforts result in a profound and long-lasting impact on the ways in which they and their companies relate to Israel. Conexx connects people to Israel who might not otherwise be connected in real and tangible ways that are different from most other organizations.

 

Similarly, Conexx is able to work directly with Israelis. Our organization promotes and encourages Israeli tech companies to learn about the many assets the Southeastern United States has to offer, and we encourage them to become part of the local, innovation-focused community.

As part of our mission, Conexx supports Israeli innovators and entrepreneurs as they enter the U.S. market and helps them become inspiring ambassadors for Israel’s contributions while creating value on both sides.

Conexx is proud of the role it has played in increasing economic development and enhancing job creation in the Southeast by attracting Israeli companies to our region.

It is, unfortunately, a safe bet that Israel will continue to need our support in every way possible. You don’t have to be in the world of business, technology or innovation to join Conexx and support Israel.

We’re not a national organization. We are an Atlanta-based, Southeastern organization that truly relies on local support. Conexx is an opportunity for you to support Israel and Israelis in a way no other organization does. For more information, visit www.conexx.org.

May this year bring happiness, peace and prosperity to the world. Shana tova u’metukah.

 

Benjamin Fink is a shareholder with Berman Fink Van Horn and the chair of Conexx: America Israel Business Connector. Guy Tessler is the president of Conexx.