#5 Newsletter/November 2013


Chamber News

News from Israel

News from Germany

GTAI – Current Reports

Did you know...? – Facts and Figures about Germany

Dear readers,

In late September AHK Israel was the proud host of this year’s annual CEO conference of German bilateral chambers in Europe, which was held in Israel for the first time ever. Chambers representing 31 countries, representatives of the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Germany Trade & Invest and some local German chambers of Industry and Commerce participated in the conference. Subsequent to the official program, participants had the opportunity to discover and learn more about Israel, with walks through the heart of Tel Aviv, trips to the North, the South and Jerusalem. One of the highlights was the gala dinner at Dan Hotel Tel Aviv hosted by AHK president Dr. Michael Federmann. The evening was rounded off with the voice of Lina Mahul, this year’s winner of the The Voice of Israel. We are proud to say that all participants left as even bigger fans of Israel.

This conference was only one of the many highlights in the late summer and autumn months. In our newsletter you can read about the visit of a business delegation from the German Federal State of Thuringia, an exciting business delegation to Germany from the field of Smart Grid technologies, and the 2nd Asher Ben Natan Conference.

The Israeli-German Chamber of Industry and Commerce wishes you an enjoyable read!

Visiting the old city of Jerusalem.

Chamber News

Renewable energies are on trial

The possible readjustment of the energy transition is one of most important political and economic issues following the German federal elections. In fact, the guaranteed feed-in remuneration, which is defined by the Renewable Energies Law (EEG), has resulted in a large-scale expansion of renewable energies in Germany and has made investment more attractive. In November the German-Israeli Chamber of Commerce and GvW Graf von Westphalen in cooperation with ERM Epstein Rosenblum Maoz, Kaiserwetter, and Atoz cordially invite you to a panel discussion elaborating on the shift to alternative energy sources in both Israel and Germany and a morning event highlighting the core issues for investments in the German energies sector. (To view the invitation)

Please click here for registration.

Israeli-German Conference and Trade Mission on Energy Efficiency in Local Authorities

This workshop, to take place on November 18th from 13:30-18:00 at the Sheraton Hotel in Tel Aviv, is part of a joint project of the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, the German “Export Initiative Energy Efficiency”, and the Israeli-German Chamber of Industry & Commerce. We aim at initiating a dialogue between companies, representatives of relevant institutions and academia, in order to foster bilateral cooperation, to exchange views on regulations, technologies and opportunities, and to create growing awareness on both sides for energy efficiency in Israel and Germany.

For the program and registration please click here.

Successful Smart Grid multiplier-journey to Germany

The growing share of renewable energies in power supply implies a variety of opportunities and challenges for future energy supply. Germany’s pioneering role in this field is well known in Israel. Therefore the journey of Israeli multipliers to Germany, which was organized by AHK Israel together with energiewaechter, came at the right time. Smart grid will play an important role in securing the energy supply. The journey, as part of the Energy Efficiency Export Initiative, led several multipliers of the Israeli government, leading associations, research facilities, and energy consultant agencies to the latest projects in this field in Germany.

On the first day, participants visited the energy efficiency house Plus in Berlin, where innovative technologies in the field of building and mobility are implemented, tested and evaluated. At the official launch event later that day, participants got an overview of the current situation and perspectives in the field of Smart Grid in both countries. At the EUREF-Campus, they had the opportunity to get an impression of ecological and economic visions for the “Intelligent City” of the future.

Over the next three days, the delegation attended the storage-type plant e.on edis AG Falkenhagen, with its power-to-gas system and the Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation IFF of the Otto-Von-Guericke-University in Magdeburg. At the test regions Harz.EE-mobility (with combined power station, wind power stations, photovoltaic systems and biogas plants) and Web2Energy, different laboratories and the Virtual Development and Training Centre VDTC with its high tech equipment were presented. 

At the EUREF-Campus in Berlin the participants gazed at the city of the future.

In addition, the delegation experienced new and exciting technologies from the Institute for high-voltage technology and electric facilities of the Technical University of Braunschweig. On the last day, the visit of the company Younicos and the Smart Grid Laboratory of the Technical University of Berlin were on the schedule. 

Participants of the Smart Grid delegation visiting the Harz model region.

The project, which was funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) based on a decision of the German parliament, was praised by all participants. They confirmed the future chances for German technologies and know-how in Israel. A special impression was left by the close and productive collaboration between industry and science, and the significant government funding in Germany.

Thuringia focuses on Israel

Searching for new export markets for companies from Thuringia, its state government and the State Development Corporation of Thuringia (LEG) closely watch Israel. Thanks to the target-oriented cooperation of entrepreneurs, scientists and investors, preferable conditions for investments exist. For that reason, at the end of October twelve companies and research institutions from Thuringia visited Israel, led by Mr. Jochen Staschewsky, Director General at the Thuringian Ministry of Economics, Labor and Technology.

The journey was themed “Opportunities in High-tech”, therefore AHK Israel organized visits to the renowned Weizmann Institute in Rehovot and some companies from the high-tech sector for the whole group and several individual B2B-meetings. Amongst others, representatives of Jena University were filled in at the Office of The Chief Scientist about the Israeli Technological Incubators Program. The Germans were very impressed by the possibilities offered to young Israeli startup companies to bridge the gap between the invention of products and services to their market-readiness and the possible attraction of private investors. Other members of the delegation met potential customers or partners and discussed future cooperation.

In the concluding meeting LEG expressed high satisfaction with this delegation’s results and announced a possible continuation of these visits in the future.

"The German-Israeli relationship is a special one – in a positive way "

Excerpt from an interview of lawyer Christian Kusulis of the law firm Graf von Westphalen (Member of AHK Israel) with the magazine NJW. The complete interview can be read in “NJW-aktuell” volume 41/2013.

NJW: What makes Israel so attractive for your law firm, that you decided to found an Israel desk?

Kusulis: With the Israel desk we want to reward long-standing and important relationships to our clients. Furthermore, we see significant opportunities for expansion - not only for us, but also for the German-Israeli economic relations in general, especially opportunities for German companies that can benefit from the innovation and the diverse high-tech landscape of Israel. In a Europe-wide comparison, Germany is still underrepresented, both in terms of import and export.

NJW: Is deep knowledge of the Israeli law required to advise there? Is the Israeli legal system comparable with the German?

Kusulis: Advanced knowledge is essential. Sources of the Israeli legal system are in particular the right of the Ottoman era, the British Mandate and the codified law since the founding of the State of Israel. Although the codified law is influenced by German law, the Israeli legal system has a strong common law tradition. In the case of Israeli law, we therefore advise to cooperate with our local partners.

NJW: Is your work on-site affected by the present political situation and geographical location?

Kusulis: Not affected, but strongly influenced. You handle crises in Israel. This is part of everyday life, which seems to be more dramatic from a distance than on-site. I have been in Tel Aviv for two and a half years, also at the beginning of the second Gulf War. During some telephone calls to Germany, I was recently amazed, how media representation differs from my perception and the mood in Israel.

News from Israel

DIG president Robbe appeals to young Germans: “Come visit Israel!” -  2nd Asher Ben Natan Conference in Tel Aviv

Upon invitation of the Israeli-German Society, the Federal Agency for Civic Education (bpb - Bundeszentrale fuer politische Bildung) and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Israel, the 2nd Asher Ben Natan Conference (named after the first Israeli ambassador in Germany) took place on October 23rd at the Dan Panorama Hotel in Tel Aviv. At the conference close to 200 participants from Germany and Israel discussed the image of each other in the media and contemporary intercultural dialogue. 

In his welcome speech, Reinhold Robbe, president of the German-Israeli Society (DIG), encouraged young Germans to visit Israel. Thomas Krüger, president of the bpb, emphasized the importance of 50 years of bpb’s Israel-trips. These trips are educational and not a holiday, leaving the participants in a “positive confusion”. Robbe also thanked his counterpart of the Israeli-German Society, Grisha Alroi-Arloser, for having launched this conference last year. 

Robbe: “Come visit Israel!“

It holds an important place in the preparation of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries to take place in 2015. Following the welcoming remarks, the artist Emmanuel Witzthum presented his vision of an intercultural garden of creativity. Witzthum, who is strongly influenced by social media, places an emphasis on participation and interaction with his concept of art and culture.

News from Germany

Innovation needs curious research – D-I-W and the Weizmann Institute as guests in Frankfurt

“Those who do applied research only, remove the basis for tomorrow’s innovation.” Professor Daniel Zajfman stressed on October 17th  at a gala dinner of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IHK) in Frankfurt . This shaping argument for the freedom of basic research could not have been put better. Prof. Zajfman, president of the internationally renowned Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, and Dr. Karl-Ludwig Kley, CEO of Merck, gave the keynote speeches during this exciting and entertaining evening, to which the German-Israeli Economic Association (D-I-W) invited 120 guests to the premises of the IHK Frankfurt.

Prof. Zajfman underlining the necessity of basic research.

The evening was opened by four short welcome speeches of high-profile speakers. Karen Hoyndorf, vice president of the IHK Frankfurt, emphasized the importance of Frankfurt as the unofficial financial capital of Germany for the German-Israeli relations. Moreover, consul general Dr. Dan Shaham and D-I-W president Hildegard Müller stressed, that the close and deep friendship between researchers and scientific institutes of both countries should set an example for the future of trade relations. 

The startup nation Israel with its pursuit of innovation is at least as future-oriented as Germany – and this shared quality needs to act as a model for any cooperation. That the Weizmann Institute stands for top-class research was once more shown by this year’s selection of Nobel Prize laureates. To this regard, Dr. Manfred Gentz, chairman of the German Society of Friends of the Weizmann Institute, added the paramount importance of basic research as a prerequisite for genuine innovations. Freedom of science would be purely beneficial for the economy.

Source: http://www.d-i-w.de/aktuelles/unsere-veranstaltungen/bildergalerie/#c668324

German economy on solid growth trajectory

In its autumn projection, the German government forecasts that real GDP will grow by 0.5 % in 2013 and by 1.7 % in 2014.

Outgoing Federal Minister of Economics and Technology, Dr. Philipp Rösler, stated that Germany's economy is back on a solid growth trajectory. This growth is being driven by domestic demand, which is making German companies optimistic and is leading them to invest more in equipment and construction again. Consumer spending is up thanks to an appreciable rise in both the level of employment and incomes. Next year, economic growth will pick up considerably.

Source: http://www.bmwi.de/EN/Press/press-releases,did=600452.html

Redtel – measuring vital signs contactless and over distances

German company Redtel has invented a system to measure vital signs contactless, meaning they are able to measure mental and physical load on defined distances. Their innovation could be introduced to a manifold of tasks, including security control, medical diagnostics, determination of alcohol and drug use or measurements in sports.

In case of flicker-free systems it is also possible to measure and analyze respiratory-intervals and pulse waves in real time. Video recordings and subsequent analysis is possible, too. Redtel’s Android software is compatible to stationary or movable system-guided cameras, Google glasses or other mobile devices. A demonstration of the system can be watched here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjlpkbz4fyU.

GTAI – Current Reports

EU Blue Card a success

The introduction of the EU Blue Card in Germany on August 1, 2012, has proved a major success. Almost 9,000 blue cards were issued by the end of June, and the number is expected to climb to 10,000 by the end of the year. Of these were some 2,500 new arrivals, roughly 1,500 university graduates and almost 800 vocational training graduates. The card facilitates and promotes immigration by highly qualified workers without EU citizenship in order to help Germany confront its growing shortage of skilled workers, such as engineers, doctors and IT specialists. It has also allowed hundreds of foreign graduates of German universities time to find work in Germany. What’s more, an amendment to the Employment Ordinance now permits skilled workers from non-EU states to migrate to Germany to work in jobs requiring vocational qualifications, such as in nursing and several technical fields.

Source: http://goo.gl/lyFZwT

Did you know ... ? – Facts and Figures about Germany

  • The media group Thomson Reuters honored German Fraunhofer Institute as one of the Top 100 Global Innovators in 2013. Criteria for the award included the number of filed patents and its success, the global scope of the patent portfolio, and the inclusion of patents in quotations and references.
    Source: http://top100innovators.com/

  • In 2012, Berlin once again expanded its lead over the others as the German state with the most start-ups. With 227 start-ups per 10,000 members of the labor force, Berlin is far ahead of Germany’s national average of 136.
    Source: http://goo.gl/Pq9hNQ

  • Germany climbed two positions in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2013-2014, thereby ranking fourth among the world’s most-competitive countries, behind Switzerland, Singapore and Finland.
    Compiled using 160 data sources and an executive opinion survey, the report ranks 148 economies in 12 categories based on over 100 indicators. Innovation and infrastructure were the primary reasons for Germany’s high position. In the Innovation category, Germany rose three slots, to 4th place, with the report stating that “German companies are among the most innovative in the world, spending heavily on R&D and displaying a high capacity for innovation.” Germany also took 3rd place in Infrastructure (behind Hong Kong and Singapore), Higher Education and Training, and Business Sophistication.
    Source: http://goo.gl/lyFZwT