The 10th annual AIFL Israel Day at the New York Stock Exchange took place on Thursday morning, organized by the America-Israel Friendship League, recognizing the country’s advancements and highlighting Israel’s disproportionate prominence on Wall Street, now the largest foreign presence outside of China and Canada.
Well-known Israeli companies such as Mobileye, Teva, CaesarStone and Check Point Software over the years have headlined a list of cutting-edge IPOs. Today, there are more than 80 Israeli equities listed on exchanges around the world in a vast array of industries, with more than 70 on Wall Street alone.
“I can’t tell you how good we feel when we walk down Broad Street in Lower Manhattan and see the Israel flag flying on top of the New York Stock Exchange for Israel Day,” said Kenneth Bialkin, chairman of the America Israel Friendship League. “Today is such an important day, as we showcase Israeli innovation and what the country exports to the NYSE and to the world. It’s the 10th time that the NYSE has opened up its doors for us and we couldn’t be more proud and appreciative.”
The day, in partnership with SOSA (South of Salame) and Israeli Mapped in NY, consisted of two sessions, the first of which saluted leading Israeli women who boast a substantial track record of success and achievements in their field of expertise, and that have significantly contributed to the US- Israel relationship in field of business, economy, science, hi-tech and fashion.
The day also included a session, powered by BlueStar Indexes, a financial firm specializing in Israeli capital markets and a partner in the event, engaging with a panel active in Israeli investing on how people can invest in Israel through publicly listed companies.
“The level of Israeli equities listed on Wall Street is yet another example of Israeli innovation and the strong US-Israel relationship,” said Daniella Rilov, executive director of the America-Israel Friendship League. “Not only are we recognizing these outstanding companies at Israel Day, but the event is also honoring four Israeli women leaders, because Israel, like the United States, celebrates its gender diversity. The day is an example of just a few of the common traits both countries have.”
The first session saluted four pioneering Israeli women who have flourished in their respective fields. In a panel moderated by business journalist from TheMarker, Inbal Orpaz, the panel members spoke on their experiences in the professional world as leading women and what the US-Israel relationship means to them.
“In the pharmaceutical industry, there are maybe two women CEOs out of millions of companies around the world,” said Keren Haruvi, SVP global generic business development and alliance management for Teva Pharmaceuticals. “Women are continuously working to show how we can combine family life and professional life and that is one of the main challenges.”
The panelists for the first session included: Haruvi; Tzameret Fuerst, co-founder of Circ MedTech, which developed PrePex, an FDA-approved device for HIV protection; Noa Raviv, fashion designer and artist; and Liat Mordechay Hertanu, co-founder of 24me.
The second panel, Capital Markets & Investment Trends for Israeli Publicly Listed Companies, was moderated by CNBC producer Jason Gewirtz and took the panel through a discussion that highlighted the hot market trends coming out of Israel and the booming investment opportunities in the country.
“There is a great opportunity now for those who care about and support Israel with their charitable donations and community involvement to add another, equally powerful, track to their pro-Israel activity via their investment portfolio. Investment in Israel is the antidote to BDS,” said Steven Schoenfeld, CEO of Bluestar Indexes. “Investing in Israel is good for your portfolio in terms of returns and diversification; it is good for Israel’s capital market development and economic growth; and it is good for realigning the relationship between the Diaspora and Israel to a framework which is more appropriate for the second decade of the 21st century. One should invest in Israel not just to support the Jewish state, but because it is a solid investment that historically has outperformed most other international equity investments over the past three, five, and 10 years.”
Participants in the panel included: Steven Schoenfeld, CEO of BlueStar Indexes; Robert Katz, managing director of Senvest Management; Alon Ozer, senior investment officer at the Foundation of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation; Nathaniel Ginor, managing director of institutional sales and Israeli equity distribution – Jeffries; and Alexandre Ibrahim, head of International Capital Markets at the NYSE.