America should copy ‘start up nation’


On a rainy Tuesday evening at the Plaza Hotel’s magnificent ballroom, the America-Israel Friendship League held a dinner and a lively panel discussion, celebrating Israeli entrepreneurship, based on the best-selling book "Startup Nation — The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle" by foreign policy experts Dan Senor and Saul Singer. The dinner was held on the 64th anniversary of Partition Day, when the United Nations voted to authorize the creation of the Jewish state.

Led by Kenneth J. Bialkin of the white-shoe law Firm Skadden Arps, and Harley Lippman of the business technology firm Genesis10, the AIFL seeks to improve American-Israeli relations by having influential Americans meeting Israelis, and learning about their ability to bring innovations to reality. “They bring senators, congressmen, and judges,” said Five Towns resident Robbie Rothenberg, who has been involved in the AIFL for the last three years. “It’s rewarding in many ways.”

Over the past year, AIFL brought leaders in business, politics, and students to Israel. Highlighting the practical benefits of the relationship, AILF Also brought veterans of the Iraq and Afghan conflicts to Israel, demonstrating the ability of Israeli veterans in rebuilding their lives and returning to the workforce. The dinner also marked the 40th year for AIFL, which was founded in 1971 with a diverse team of influential founders that include former Vice President Hubert Humphrey, Democrat Sen. Henry “Scoop” Jackson and his Republican colleague Nelson Rockefeller, and civil rights leader A. Philip Randolph. “It’s important to bring Jews and non-Jews together. It restores the legitimacy of the U.S.-Israel relationship,” said AIFL Executive Director Alex Grobman.

The distinguished panel for the event, which included Senor, former New York City Mayor Ed Koch and Dan Gillerman, the former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, honed in on Israel’s unbelievable ability to form start-up companies, gain venture capital and create jobs worldwide.

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