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‘Start-up nation’ Israel and Massachusetts find common ground in innovation

By Susie Davidson/

BOSTON—What do Israel and
Massachusetts have in common? Many recent comparisons have
centered on the fact that, when the Boston Marathon bombings occurred,
Bostonians got a taste for the kind of attack Israelis endure on a regular
basis. To that end, Israeli trauma teams were called upon to lend
their expertise in Boston following the marathon bombings.

Click photo to download. Caption: Israeli entrepreneurs Eyal Gura, with microphone, and Yosef Abramowitz are pictured during their recent panel discussion in Boston, where they hosted by the Combined Jewish Philanthropies. The entrepreneurs discussed how Israel has earned the nickname “start-up nation.” Credit: Combined Jewish Philanthropies.

But Israeli
environmental entrepreneur Yosef Abramowitz stresses a
different area of common ground, explaining that both Israel and Massachusetts have
few natural resources, but ample know-how and ambition.

The president of pioneering Israeli
solar energy companies Arava Power and Energiya Global, Abramowitz—named one of
the top six “Green Pioneers” in the world by CNN, which on May 11 aired a half-hour documentary on Arava’s solar
work in Israel and Rwanda—recently spoke on a panel with fellow Israeli entrepreneur Eyal Gura as part
of the Innovation Exchange series of Boston-based
Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP).

Abramowitz, who also
presented in New York and Los Angeles while in the U.S., told
after his talk in Boston he doesn’t “have much time for
speaking engagements” due to his companies’ solar work. But when CJP calls, the former Newton,
Mass., resident, who graduated from Brookline High School in the Boston area, says

“I respect [CJP’s] leadership,”
Abramowitz said, describing that his family has “a long and productive
relationship with CJP, as my father served for a quarter of a century as the
Vice President for Planning.”

CJP held its event at the headquarters of MassChallenge, a
startup incubator in Boston’s seaport district that opened its first overseas
office in Israel.

“MassChallenge may be the world’s largest incubator and Israel is the
[incubator’s] first location outside of Boston, so I came to learn about their
important work and give them a boost,” Abramowitz said. “I believe that CJP is usually
ahead of the national community on innovative programming, and I liked the
concept of a reverse Israel mission, bringing a diverse group of Israelis to
Boston to blanket the city with a positive view of Israeli innovation.”

Abramowitz told that Arava, “after closing successfully on $300 million, is proud to be
building nine commercial scale solar fields in Israel this year.”

“Energiya Global,
our sister company developing solar fields in poorer countries, is conducting a
Friends and Family Round to raise $2 million, and I was pleased that many
people have approached me on this [U.S.] tour to ask for information about
investing in something that provides both a financial and mission return,” he
said. “Eighty-five percent of Africa doesn’t have any electricity, so we have a
lot of work ahead of us.”

Abramowitz and his wife, Rabbi Susan Silverman, adopted two
Ethiopian Jewish children and have three of their own. They moved to Israel in
2006. Elected to the Israeli Green Movement Knesset list in 2008, he was named
“Person of the Year” last year by the Israel Energy and Business Convention.

“I came to hear Yossi, who is a bit …read more

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Posted by on May 13, 2013. Filed under Business News,Israeli News,U.S. News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.