Boston Gets into the Hi-Tech Scene in Israel

Participants get a hi-tech crash course at Microsoft

Debbie here, back with another update from our Boston Onward Jerusalem group. The group has been busy with programming and exploring Israel on their own, but before I get to that I thought I’d update you a bit on a major part of the participants’ trip- their internships.

The participants have been at their internships for about five weeks and have settled in and are actively involved in their work environments. Participants are involved in a wide array of
fields including politics and government, business and finance, technology start-ups, and social services. Through the internships they are experiencing another aspect of Israeli society through their contribution to the workplace and with interactions their Israeli colleagues. Internship coordinators have visited the participants at their internship during these past few weeks and have heard feedback from the participants and their mentors. Some participants are enjoying their internship so much that they have decided to continue interning from the U.S. when they return to school!

Participants test drive a Better Place car.

Last Thursday the participants took a break from their internships and we went on a hi-tech tour of Tel Aviv with StarTau, where they learned about the current financial and business climate in Israel and got to see the Start-Up Nation for themselves. The day began in the Israeli branch of the multinational electric car company Better Place, where the students learned about their solution to the fossil fuel crisis and the implementation in Israel. Then came the hands on portion of the tour- each participant was given an opportunity to test drive the electric cars. The day continued at Microsoft’s Research and Development Center in Israel, Microsoft’s accelerator which supports Israeli developers. From there they continued to Hamifal Hub and the Junction where they heard from app developers and a venture capitalist who explained what goes into developing and marketing unique ideas. They also got to see firsthand the various sorts of environments that have evolved to support hi-tech start-ups, through cash, resources
and connections.

Meeting with venture capitalists and app developers at Hamifal

On Monday Michael Eglash organized an evening focused on what the participants can do when they get back to their campuses. Ari Applebaum, the director of the David Project, spoke about ways to advocate for Israel and get people involved. David Kramer, founder of the NU campaign, helped the group design t-shirts based on their experiences here so they can proudly share them when they get back home.

Tuesday night was our final meeting with Israelis. We split up into smaller groups and discussed current issues facing Israel, like the reversal of the Tal Law and the stalling of the peace process. Now we’re gearing up for our last week. It will be a busy one.



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