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Israel: A Land of Innovations: Visit by the H E. Ms. Orna Sagiv, Consul General, Cosulate General of Israel, Mumbai, Thursday, 14 March 2013

Israel: A Land of Innovations: Visit by the H E. Ms. Orna Sagiv, Consul General, Cosulate General of Israel, Mumbai, Thursday, 14 March 2013

H. E. Ms. Orna Sagiv, Consul General of Israel in Mumbai, visited  GNLU today (14th March, 2013) and delivered a lecture on  "Israel: A Land of Innovations” to the GNLU community, under the auspices of the GNLU Centre  for Foreign Policy and Security Studies (GCFPSS). 

Ms. Sagiv emphasized on the developments in Israel, while stating that the world always see towards Israel in terms of defense and drip irrigation i.e., agro-technology. No doubt, Israel place geo-politically has not been favourable but this small nation has grown to make a large impact especially in areas of innovations.  Although, not an oil rich or resource rich nation it has strived to become human resource rich. From the production of Jaffa oranges Israel has gone to export these oranges worldwide.

In 1948 with a population of about 6 lakhs with 65% of the population in agriculture, today Israel with a population of about 80 lakhs has a only 2.4 % of the population involved in agriculture and it has agriculture surplus which is exported. Besides, agriculture Israel has grown in industry – pharmacy and also technology. Israel is the only country to spend almost 5% of its GDP on R&D. Not surprisingly Bloomberg ranks Israel Number 1 in R&D intensity. 

Ms. Sagiv also highlighted the factors that make Israel what it is today. It was Israel first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion who laid the foundation by emphasizing on the fact that ‘vision must replace experience’. Furthermore, the President Shimon Peres also see the smallness of the nation as opportunity to specialize in quality.

What are the reasons for innovations? Answering to this point Her Excellency stated that the strong family system, mandatory drafting (military duty), Chutzpah, Education and Tikkum Olam are some of the factors that make Israel different. Emphasizing on the mandatory military service, she stated that it pays off in the long run as in enable citizens to learn how to convert adversities into advantages and also inculcates a sense of duty.  Chutzpah, thought cannot be translated into English, is the guiding line of life. It means  ‘you get what you see’ and Tikkum Olam is similar to taking action but action to make the world a better place. When 50 top engineers of the country were asked as for the top reason that makes them tick, the answer was, ‘to change  the world’ while reason ‘Money’ was 11th in the reasons. Thus culture and values have gown a long way in the development of Israel as a nation of innovations.  The world should learn from Israel in renewable energy technology. Israel is the number one country in reusing water. Almost 80% of the water is reused and made portable. It also possess the world largest desalination plant and its very effective in management of water resources. It also harvesting sun energy and 90% of the household use solar energy for warm water. Israel is willing to share its expertise to help bring in change in the world toward creating a more sustainable planet.

Israel is celebrating 20 years of bilateral relations with India and it looks forward to strengthen this relation. Israel and India share much in common in terms of shared history (ancient civilization), culture and values, plural democracy and security concerns. Israel-Indo trade in the last few years has increased form US $ 192 million to almost US $ 5 billion. FTA is on the card and it will go a long way in developing bilateral relations. Presently, Israel has established 24 centers for Excellence in 8 states of India. It is also looking towards Gujarat as a hub of collaboration in the area of agriculture and pharmacy.

The lecture was also followed by the Q&A session by students and ended with the vote of thanks from the Dean, Academic Affairs.

Last Updated : 01-08-2014