Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Day 4: The Old and the New

We packed and left the Carlton early this morning traveling North to the ancient City of Caesaria. It is on the eastern end of the Mediterranean and has been conquered, destroyed and rebuilt at least 10 times. From recorded history, it was originally built by the Phoenicians. King Herod (a Jew, but with Roman interests) built into one of the world's great harbors in -10 BCE. Subsequently, the site was destroyed and re-established by the Byzantines, Moslems, Crusaders, French, Turks, British and now the Israelis. The site is a UN World Heritage Site and includes an original theater, a chariot race track, an aqueduct, and other ruins at least 2000 years old.

Around Caesaria is a beautiful area on land formerly owned by the Rothschild family. When Israel was formed, they turned the land over to the State, who then leased it back to a Foundation. The Foundation then endowed the area to create a community focusing on education, the arts and the public welfare. What they have created is magnificent.

We then went to Given Imaging at Yokneam. This is the company that invented the pill sized camera that is swallowed and can monitor the esophagus, the small intestine and even the colon. It requires no anesthesia. They have 300 patents, 300 pending patents, and grew from $5 million in sales in 2001 to $175 million in 2011. Their earnings per share have matched the sales growth and they have no debt. We used their building to interview nine other companies for potential collaborations.

The bus then went to Nazareth for a luncheon with the Nazareth and Galilee Chamber of Commerce. Nazareth is the largest Arab city in Israel. It was the home of Jesus, and I was astonished to learn that Bethlehem is more than 100 miles away. It was a long way to go to pay taxes, but I learned why they went. Let me just say that I learned more about the history of three of the five major religions in one week than I had previously learned in a lifetime.

After a quick visit to the Church of the Annunciation, we went to Technion, often called the MIT of Israel. We discussed a potential partnership in nanotechnology. At Technion I saw the same passion for patenting and commercializing new technology that I saw at Ben Gurion University, the Weizmann Institute and the Hadassah. Technion files 100 international patent applications per year.

Dinner was at a restaurant overlooking the magnificent city and Harbor of Haifa.

No comments:

Post a Comment