There are upcoming meetings across Alabama to recruit company leaders for an economic mission to Israel.

The Birmingham Jewish Federation, Tech Birmingham and the Atlanta-based American Israel Chamber of Commerce for the Southeast are coordinating the September 2005 mission, which will last one week. The mission is a project of the Federation¹s new Israel-World Jewry Bureau, headed by Jim Tolbert.

The Chamber matches businesses in the Southeastern United States with Israeli companies that are looking to do joint ventures, open offices in the region or make acquisitions.

The mission is aimed at fostering commercial relationships between Alabama companies and Israeli counterparts. While much of the trip's emphasis is on high-tech, partnerships are also envisioned in agriculture, security and medical fields, and participation is not limited to high-tech companies.

Israel has one of the highest concentrations of technology, higher education and Research and Development in the world. It is the largest location for venture capital investment and has the most NASDAQ-traded companies outside of the U.S.

The 4,000 technology companies in Israel rank second only to Silicon Valley in California in its concentration of technological innovation. Many widely-used technologies, from today's cell phones to Intel chips and Internet chat software, were developed in Israel.

The mission will provide introductions for Alabama companies to Israeli counterparts in their fields, to foster business relations. It will also demonstrate opportunities for Israeli companies to start U.S. operations in Alabama. Numerous Israeli companies currently have operations in Georgia, and more are looking to come to the U.S.

State political leaders are also being invited to participate in the mission, to highlight the state's support for economic development.

The information sessions will be the Birmingham Area Chamber of Commerce on June 2 at 3:30 p.m., and the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce on June 3 at 11:30 a.m.
The sessions are open to all who are interested. Applications will be available at all sessions.

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