Economic Group Unveils Plan To Give Jewish Federations A Role In Boosting U.S. Investment And Trade With Israel
A business leaders group led by industrialist Elmer L. Winter wants local Jewish federations to add a new dimension to their programs by becoming boosters of American business with Israel. He says such a role has been largely overlooked by federation leaders in the past but carries "a great sense of urgency today."
Mr. Winter, chairman of the Committee for Economic Growth of Israel (CEGI), asserts that the federations are in a unique position to encourage corporations and other local businesses in their areas to invest in Israel through joint ventures, subsidiaries and trade arrangements.
CEGI is a non-profit organization of some 150 American and Israeli business leaders interested in expanding investment and trade between the United States and Israel.
Mr. Winter, co-founder of Manpower, Inc. - the world's largest temporary help service - has just issued a CEGI report outlining a plan under which federations can help expand American business interests in Israel. He notes that despite Israel's economic strength, some 200,000 Israelis are unemployed and need jobs.
The report insists that the plan does not suggest "in any way" that federations themselves enter into business arrangements in Israel, only that they would serve as catalysts "in bringing together interested individuals and corporations in an effort to motivate them to seriously consider doing business in Israel." Some 300 American companies are already operating businesses in Israel, Mr. Winter observes in a statement accompanying the CEGI report.
The CEGI plan calls for each federation to work closely with a local office of the American-Israeli Chamber of Commerce. If such an office is not available locally, the federation is urged to create its own "Israel Economic Development Task Force," headed by a board of directors of local men and women with corporate or other business experience who share a common commitment to encouraging business ties with Israel.
Federations would also employ salaried staff members with corporate backgrounds to implement the policies and programs of the task force. Committees would be set up to carry out various objectives, such as identifying and making contact with various companies in the local area that could benefit from investment or trade links with Israel. Other committees could urge local stores to distribute Israeli products and sponsor "Israel Week" sales promotions, according to the plan. Additional steps could include the following:
Set up a mission of local executives to visit Israel and tour its manufacturing and other business facilities, particularly those involved in high-tech research and production, a field in which Israel is now considered a world leader.
Develop cooperative programs with the local Israeli Economic Consul to promote ties between local business executives and Israeli government representatives.
Organize a mission of local stockbrokers to visit Israeli companies that are already selling stock on Wall Street or are planning to do so.
Organize a business loan program to assist Israelis, particularly unemployed immigrants, who want to start their own businesses but are in need of modest loans to get underway.
Create a public relations committee and publish a newsletter for local business executives containing information about the activities of American companies already doing business with Israelis and further opportunities for foreign business investment, trade ties and research programs in Israel.
A free copy of the CEGI plan for Jewish federations titled, "An Urgent Request to Your Board of Directors to Help Build the Economy of Israel," can be obtained by writing or calling the Committee for Economic Growth of Israel, 5301 North Ironwood Road, Milwaukee, WI 53217; telephone (414) 906-6250; fax (414) 906-7878.
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