In The Service of Israel Ingenuity
by Gad Nahshon
This young man, 40 years old, has dedicated his life to the economic well being of Israel. He is well educated (Law, Economics), and is experienced in the world of private business. He is happy to tell you, in his office at 800 Second Ave., Manhattan, about his family, and love for Ramat Gan, the city where he grew as a child. He also expresses a pride of being a captain in the Israel Navy. He loves sports and especially basketball.
It is not surprising to find that he radiates dynamics, confidence, and effectiveness. But the idea is very important to him. He belongs to a generation who believes in market economy, privatization, and profits. He believes in the economic achievement of his country, Israel, and in its genius and in its ability to be an integral part of the globalization process. And he believes in the Revisionist idea and links himself to the legacy of Zeev Jabotinsky. In a way, Jabotinsky's economic gospel has manifested itself in the Israeli economic reality. His grandpa was Jabotinsky's secretary. Israel sent him to New York in October of 1998, as its Economic Minister to North-America.
On this envoy, Ron Chaimovski decided to take the challenge to make his mission a successful one. Ron Chaimovski is the head of a "kingdom". He is the economic-commercial bridge between the economy of Israel, the USA, and Canada as well. He is also the first Israeli economic minister to serve two Israeli ministries: The treasury and the industry-commerce. He has to report to two Ministers. It looks like Mr. Chaimovski enjoys his mission and manages to function effectively, with a low budget of course.
His head office is located in Manhattan (212-499-5610) and there are offices in Atlanta (404-724-0830), Boston (617-451-1810), Chicago (312-332-2160), Santa Clara, California (408-970-9293), Los Angeles (213-658-7924), and in Houston, Texas (713-627-3780).
Chaimovski's "network" has its linkages and lines of communication with many Israelis economic organizations, chambers of commerce, and, for example, Israel's "Institute of Export". The mission in North-America develops the connections as an advisory board, and as a referral service agency. There are many goals to be fulfilled.
As Economic Minister, Mr. Chaimovski is Israel's top economic official in North America, representing Israel's Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Finance. From New York, he heads the trade and investment initiatives of the Israel Economic Mission, which has offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Boston, Santa Clara, Houston, Toronto and Montreal.
Mr. Chaimovski was most recently the chairman of the board of an investment company specializing in high tech and strategic investments, and real estate ventures (1993-1998). He was a partner in a law firm, which focuses on business and corporate law, international transactions, taxation, real estate and arbitration issues (1990-1998).
In 1997, Mr. Chaimovski was one of the founders of the National Economic Forum, an organization comprised of Israels business and economic leaders.
Mr. Chaimovski holds a master degree, LL.M., in commercial and corporate law from the University of London (1990) and an LL.B degree in law studies from Tel Aviv University (1988).
Mr. Chaimovski served in the Israel Navy from 1978-1983. He completed his tour of duty at the rand of major and commanding officer of a flotilla. As a reserve officer, Mr. Chaimovski served as a legal advisor to the Navy, from 1994-1998. He was also a member of the Navy Committee that negotiated with the Palestinian Authority on naval matters.
"We use to define Israel as the Land of Milk and Honey. Today I define Israel as a land of hi-tech and money," remarked Ron Chaimovski. And he explained: "My mission is to support the private section in Israel. Our process of privatization including El-Al, will go on. I have to promote Israel's export but also its import. I try to help the Israeli companies which want to sell their products here. I am helping them to open doors. Of course, I collaborate with others who help me to help Israel. For example: Israel-America Chamber of Commerce. My task is also to promote investments in Israel. Please, I must point out to your readers, that 1998 was a year with a unique record: 2.4 million dollars were invested in Israel. It was a 35% increase compared to 1997! Around 75% of Israel's total real investments are originated in the USA. In 1990, there were only two venture capitalist foundations in Israel with 30 million, total assets. Today, a climax, a record of 85 foundations with 2.4 million dollars, total assets!" Who are these investors? "Most of them are not Jews. This is not a charity kind of investment. They go only for good projects. Bill Gates comes to Israel. Intel has many branches in Israel. Intel is investing 1.6 million dollars in Kiriat Gat! Many corporations express their utmost confidence in the Israeli economy. Israel is a magnet for investments. True, most of them are in our first rate hi-tech. Israel is the land of the hi-tech period."
I asked Ron Chaimovski who radiates the Israeli economic credibility: What about the influence of Israel's new erosion of its positive image? Its politics, its inside political confrontations? And what about the security and stability of this high tensed region? Contrary to many theories, the situation has nothing to do with Israel's level of economic-commercial profits! Contrary to many publications, recently, the investors have not run away from Israel or from Bibi Netanyahu. Ron explained: "The political aspect of Israel has only a marginal effect on the economy! The investors view us as a stable western good economy. We showed them that we do not suffer from international crisis. We demonstrated our level of creativity. Our growth still goes on: 2.5%! We are growing. We are not selling out. We do not suffer from "brain-drain." We show a high degree of economic dynamics and activities. We show the greatness of the Jewish genius. We are sailing on the wave of the 21st century, the future."
Ron Chaimovski told me that there are 120 Israeli companies in the Wall Street area with a market cap of 38 million dollars. He believes in globalization and that the international commerce has no borders. As to the relation with the USA, he pointed out: "We achieved a record of all times - the volume of the commerce between Israel and the USA was 13 million dollars in 1998!" He also explained that the Israeli economy is part of the world economy. We enjoy the global prosperity and we suffer from its depression. But we have a "secret" or a "diamond": our technology. It is the magnet for investment, it is our appeal to business." When I noted that Israel does not have natural resources like the USA or Germany or Iran, Chaimovski said: "We have the best natural resource - the human resource, our genius, we have brain power. We have 135 scientists for 10,000 Israelis, for example. The hi-tech turned out to be Israel's most important economic successful future."
Indeed, Israel has 1,000 high-tech start-up companies, second only to the U.S.! The country was dubbed "A World Internet Super Power" by the media. Israel has more engineers and physicians per capita than any other country in our globe. Ron Chaimovski is ready to assist American or Israeli companies or individuals whose goal is to do business with Israel or to sell Israeli products or services in North America: "I am responsible for North America. We help provide the needed information. We do not have many means. We are, also, a segment in Israel's network of many people who work, for example, in the Bonds who are doing a sacred work in the field of economy. We achieve our goals only by cooperation. We used the professional experts, we used chamber of commerce, we used the Jewish Federations. The mutual work is the only way to achieve economic success" remarked Ron Chaimovski.
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