News from our Tel Aviv office

FCEDA’s Ephrati makes the case for Fairfax County at US-Israel Business Summit

The FCEDA sponsored the first Israel-USA Business Summit, held May 29 at the conference center in Airport City, near Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport.

The conference, was a partnership between the Israel-America Chamber of Commerce, the Israel Chamber of Commerce with support from the U.S. Commercial Service and SelectUSA, drew more than 650 senior executives and decision-makers.

Yair Ephrati, director of the FCEDA’s Tel Aviv office, was one of the event’s presenters and explained the merits of Fairfax County as the place to be for Israeli firms expanding to the U.S. market.  He was among featured speakers that included Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. Ambassador David Friedman (by video), Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida, and Eyal Waldman, CEO of Mellanox, which has a Fairfax County base subsidiary, Mellanox Federal Systems.

“We connect Israeli firms to the Fairfax County business community, introducing them to local partners and identifying resources, incentives and grants to help offset costs of launching new U.S. operations,” Ephrati said.

“Moreover, with the continued strengthening of the U.S.-Israel military alliance, new opportunities are emerging in the defense, homeland security, aerospace and cybersecurity markets. Fairfax County and Virginia are the premier locations for Israeli companies to set up business operation and manufacturing facilities to leverage the U.S.-Israel military aid package that mandates made-in-America products by the Israeli defense market.”

Scenes from the Israel-USA Business Summit

The FCEDA Israel team at the Israel US-Israel Business Summit: (l-r) Bar Shamrich, Asher Kotz, Ifat Feiglin and Yair Ephrati. (Photo, FCEDA)

Israeli Manufacturing Delegation and Virginia Israel Advisory Board sign MOU during Fairfax County visit

More than 50 government officials and business leaders gathered March 28 at FCEDA headquarters in Tysons as the Virginia Manufacturers Association and Israel Manufacturers Association signed a memorandum of understanding and 15 Israeli-based manufacturing companies gained information on the merits of a Fairfax County location.

Given its longtime association with the Israel business community, it was only natural that the FCEDA – which has maintained offices in Tel Aviv since 2004 – served as the meeting spot for the Virginia-Israel Defense Contractors Teaming Event, presented by the Virginia Israel Advisory Board.

Representatives from the 15 Israel-based manufacturers of everything from sprockets and self-sealing rubber fuel tanks to robotic systems for combat vehicles and missile defense systems attended the day-long event. Featured speakers included Brian Ball, secretary of commerce and trade for the Commonwealth of Virginia, Tom Scott from the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and Paul Friedberg from the Israel Ministry of Defense.

“The Virginia Israel Advisory Board leverages the strong synergies between Virginia and Israeli businesses, particularly in manufacturing, maritime and military-related industries, with the goals of increasing direct foreign investment in Virginia, bilateral trade and developing lasting partnerships,” said Dov Hoch, the advisory board’s executive director.

The event spotlighted the collaboration that exists in the defense and manufacturing sectors. Duane Baker, business development analyst for Lockheed Martin, noted that Virginia is a land of opportunity for international manufacturers who want to become of the supply chain. “We have a huge need for suppliers of everything – from paperclips to pieces of airplanes,” he said.

Shraga Brosh, president of the Manufacturers Association of Israel (left) and Brett Vassey, president and CEO of the Virginia Manufacturers Association, display their memorandum of understanding. (Photos, Howard Lansat, Washington Talent)

The FCEDA’s Asher Kotz introduces Shlomi Aharon of Aharon Yosef and Sons Electronic Packaging (left) to Lockheed Martin’s Duane Baker (right).

Mars partners with Jerusalem Venture Partners to promote tech and nutrition initiatives

Mars, the Fairfax County-based candy giant behind such brands as M&M’s, Snickers, Twix and Milky Way, said it will partner with Israeli venture capital fund Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) to foster technologies that help solve global food, agriculture and nutrition challenges.

The two organizations announced May 15 that they will collaborate on R&D investments, supporting Israeli startups and the formation of new companies by working with several Israeli academic institutions.

Mars, which is headquartered in the McLean area of Fairfax County,  said it plans to explore the converging fields of food, health and technology in fueling the next generation of agriculture and nutrition. It has a particular interest in the emerging space of personalized nutrition.

“We are eager to partner with JVP and tap into the innovative ecosystem of the Israeli food, health and technology community,” said George Graham, vice president of the Mars Advanced Research Institute. “This exciting collaboration will help us access and be part of solutions specific to global challenges in the food system related to ag tech, nutrition and food security.”

Priority Software buys OPTIMIZE Group

Priority Software, an Israel-based company with U.S. headquarters in the Reston area of Fairfax County, continues to grow its global operation in North America and in Europe. The company announced in March it has acquired the OPTIMIZE GROUP, a Belgium-based ICT services provider with more than 1,000 customers.

In addition, the company continues its growth in the U.S. market, focusing on the SMB manufacturing sector. Priority Software provides enterprise ERP solutions aimed primarily at small- and mid-size manufacturers, according to Eran Rozenfeld, managing director of Priority Software U.S.

One of the company’s customers is Phillips Safety Products, a specialty safety eyeglass manufacturer in Middlesex, N.J. The three-generation, family-run business had outgrown an inventory management system from Fishbowl Inventory and decided it was time to implement an ERP system, according to Brian Struble, IT architect at Phillips Safety Products.

Merlin shows its confidence in Cyber Observer

Merlin International, which  maintains headquarters in the Tysons area of Fairfax County and is focused on the cybersecurity industry, continues to demonstrate an interest in bringing innovative cyber solutions from Israel to the U.S. market.

In June, Merlin announced that it is leading an $8 million funding round for Israel’s Cyber Observer,  developer of a platform designed to help clients remain secure against cyber threats. Last year, Merlin invested $10 million in Centerity, which operates out of Ra’anana and offers advanced IT management software for large managed security service providers.

The Washington Business Journal reported that Merlin will take over Cyber Observer’s U.S. and Canadian operations, using its own sales and engineering teams to extend Cyber Observer’s technology into the North American market.

Elbit Systems to acquire Harris Night Vision for $350 million

Elbit Systems of America, the U.S. subsidiary of Elbit Systems Ltd. of Haifa, announced an agreement with the Harris Corporation to acquire the Harris Night Vision business for $350 million.

Elbit Systems has an office in the Reston area of Fairfax County. Harris, an industry leader for more than 50 years, operates globally and has Fairfax County offices in Chantilly and Herndon. The divestiture of its night vision business comes as Harris prepared to merge with L3 Technologies, another company with operations in Fairfax County.

Harris was known for its advanced night vision and vision-enhancing technologies and performance and produces more night vision devices than its competitors combined. Among its latest innovations: the F5032 lightweight night-vision binoculars, which answer the challenges of size, weight and power while also increasing warfighters’ low-light capabilities and focus.

Harris F5032 night vision binoculars. (Photo, Harris Corp.)