Delegation tries to sell Israeli businesses on Georgia
By ROBERT W. GEE
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Tel Aviv, Israel — To headline writers around the world, Israel is a place of never-ending conflict and religious and ethnic tension. For eight business executives and utility officials from Georgia visiting Israel this week, the Jewish state represents opportunities for business partnerships and elevating Atlanta’s international profile. “We’re really looking for a lot of high-tech investment. If that’s what you’re looking for, Israel is one of the places you need to visit,” said John Oxendine, Georgia’s insurance and safety fire commissioner. He joins Georgia Power officials, as well as leaders in green energy, water conservation and telecommunications.
Since 1992, when the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce opened an office in Atlanta, officials have attracted more than 50 Israeli businesses to Georgia, now among the top five locations for Israeli business in the United States. Georgia businesses export nearly $200 million of goods annually to Israel. At least once a year, chamber President Tom Glaser leads a group of Georgia business and civic leaders to Israel in an effort to build new partnerships and attract more Israeli investment to the Southeast. Despite the long-running conflict with Palestinians that sometimes strains the Israeli economy, Israel’s technology sector has emerged as among the world’s most innovative.