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MP Joyce Bateman and Richard Marceau, Senior Gov. Advisor for CIJA

Joyce Bateman Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South Centre Visits Israel

by Joyce Bateman, September 15, 2013

[Editor's note: I recently sat down woth MP Joyce Bateman to talk about her recent visit to Israel, which she summarizes in the article below. As Bateman said of her trip, "I was WOWed by all of the hisotry but it's the future that is awe inspiring."

As she emphasized, "My most profound takeaway form my trip was  that Israelis economy is a twenty first century economy," and that the Canadian and Israeli governments are "kindred spirits" in that  they both  are interested in and have set goals for acheiving "long-term prosperity." ]


I recently had the privilege of going on a Parliamentary mission to Israel and what a learning experience it was to visit this incredible country. Before going I read the book Startup Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle by Dan Senor and Saul Singer but to actually see the economic opportunities being realized by innovative entrepreneurs in Israel is to know this is a country poised for great success in the 21st Century.

At one of the briefings I met with Daniel Schreiber, the president of Powermat. Powermat is a leading provider of wireless power solutions. Their goal is to free our lives from wires by providing wireless, safe, green & energy-efficient charging solutions for electronic devices. Powermat provides consumers access to wireless power all through the day, and enables them to power up wherever they go – in coffee shops, hair salons, hotels, restaurants, and, of course, at home and at the office.  I have no doubt, very soon, Powermat will be at the local Starbucks for you to place your iPhone on, recharging both you and your phone at the same time.

Of course this capacity for innovation is fed by many hands-on business start-ups and a rigourous academic community. Higher education plays a pivotal role in the economic and social development of the country. I visited the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center Business School and was impressed to learn that 80% of the MBA students have already been involved in a start-up operation.  These students are not afraid or ashamed of failure and often see it as an essential step to greater success. Higher education is a priority and that focus is creating a knowledge based economy.

Also on our visit to Heseg House I met with a number of undergrad students competing for scholarships. I was very heartened to know former Winnipegger Gerry Schwartz and Heather Reisman, prominent Canadian entrepreneurs themselves, are contributing to making those scholarships a reality for many of the students. If I thought the students and tech companies were impressive entrepreneurs, even they were eclipsed by the marketing skills exhibited in the amazing Mahane Yehuda outdoor market where we stopped for lunch before visiting the Knesset (Israeli Parliament). What a market!

Touring the Knesset and meeting with parliamentarians from various parties I learned their goals are congruent with the Canadian Government’s goals of creating jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity. I had the pleasure of meeting Knesset Members Stav Shaffir, Meir Sheetrit and Ronen Hoffman. The Yesh Atid party is an example of what can happen when people come together seeking change.  Just founded in 2012 they won 19 seats in the 120-seat Knesset in the 2013 election.

My parliamentary mission to Israel was the highlight of my summer. The places I visited and people I met helped me better understand the commitment so many of my constituents have to this remarkable country. My visit continues to inspire me as I serve the constituents of Winnipeg South Centre.


[Editor's note: In my interview with Bateman , she also spoke of her trip to Ceasarea and how "King Herod sure knew what he was doing, " her visit to  the old city of Jerusalem, the group' s meetng with  Reuven hazan, political scientist at the Hebrew Univerosty of Jerusalem. She lso noted that "we went in armored trucks to Ramallah and met the Canadian Representative in Ramallah, as well as meeting with Palestinain politician/spokesperson Hanan Ashrawi].

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

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