The Virginia-Israel Advisory Board reported in its 2021 fiscal year Annual Report that “our strategy of Commonwealth-wide collaborations focusing on the strong synergies between Israel and Virginia came to fruition again this year as our economic impact studies cited $5 billion contribution to the Virginia economy by Israeli companies by ODU’s Dragas Center for Economic Policy and Analysis.”
Executive Director Dov Hoch, in his Executive Director’s Message, continued, “These contributions to Virginia’s GDP represent more than 20,000 times our budget and most satisfying to me are closely aligned with state policy objectives — many of which are in areas with unemployment and under-employment.”
He noted, “Next year we will continue to conceptualize and catalyze significant Israeli investments in the Commonwealth and partnerships with Virginia companies, then collaborate with private and public stakeholders to bring them to fruition – like the emerging venture investing $228 million that will create 200 jobs in Southwest Virginia.”
“Our cultural and educations undertakings also remained robust including covid-permitting face2face encounters.
The highlight for me was at a VIAB gala evening in the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke in the context of an exhibition of 36 Israeli artists (mostly women and of all faiths), where in an on-stage conversation with the curator and 150 attendees listened to me artfully talk about the Israeli context of the art.”
He said he planned in January to “look forward to developing warm relations with the new administration – specifically with the Secretaries of Commerce and Trade; Agricultural and Forestry and Public Safety and Homeland Security, all of whom we have had close working relationships in this past year.”
In the report, there are many details on successful ventures and partnerships between Israel companies and Virginia companies, universities, local governments and others. These are continuing.
For the example, the report noted, “We have several Israeli defense and unmanaged systems companies in our pipeline with strong prospects of investing in manufacturing facilities and opening new offices as a result of the Israeli defense delegations we brought to Virginia.”
Va. Student Israel Internship Programs
VIAB will continue to roll-out university internship programs in which students work with Israeli companies for real world experience with the goal of having 500 students each semester participating in the Tamid Group Program. Currently, 40 UVA students perform research with/for Israeli companies. Student consultants also participate in summer internships in Israel with the most exciting and innovative companies (e.g. WAZE, WhatsApp).
VIAB has a number of plans to focus on in 2022. Some of these include:
Richmond Ballet – Israel Residency and Minds in Motion program in Israel – Re-start this long-standing program(after a Covid hiatus) that brings Jewish and Muslim Israeli grammar-school students together and bridges understandings with their parents. Supported by the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond.
Washington Wizards – Collaborate with Monumental Sports’ management on events at Capital One Arena involving Israeli basketball player Deni Avija, the 20-year old former Maccabee Tel Aviv, forward who was a 1st round pick in the NBA Draft and started playing for the Washington Wizards in December 2020.
Virginia Tech – Continue our collaboration with multiple facilities and institutes shifting out focus from the Blacksburg campus to Virginia Tech’s Innovation Campus in National Landing.
The Annual Report notes that Israel has the most people and highest per capita spending in R&D in the world. As a result, many leading U.S. tech companies (Apple, Google, Intel, Microsoft) have significant R&D centers in Israel.
This article featured just some of VIAB activities and accomplishments. Its website notes: “There are strong synergies between Virginia and Israeli businesses particularly in manufacturing, maritime, defense and tech related industries. In 20 years, we brought 100 Israeli companies to Virginia and helped them grow.”
For more details, visit viab.org.
The Virginia Israel Advisory Board is an agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia that facilitates Israeli companies to establish and grow their operations in Virginia and Virginia companies to source innovative Israeli technology. Its goals are to increase investment and develop lasting partnerships that expand and enhance the workforce in Virginia.