Ohio Delegation Gets Crash Course In Israeli Technology At The University Of Haifa


A diverse, high-profile delegation from the state of Ohio got an up-close look at cutting-edge Israeli technology this month in a visit to the University of Haifa.

During the Ohio House Leadership Mission to Israel from Nov. 8-16, a 25-member delegation—including a bipartisan group of 11 state lawmakers; several legislative staffers; and civic, business, and community leaders—toured the Jewish state to gain knowledge on best practices in their fields and to consider new opportunities for Ohio-Israel partnerships. For most of the visitors, the mission marked their first time in Israel.

In one of the highlights of the trip, the delegation visited University of Haifa on Monday, November 13 to hear presentations from leading Israeli scholars on big data, artificial intelligence, drones, autonomous car algorithms, IT, evolution and agriculture, and marine technology.

“Colleges and universities are playing a key role in creating economic opportunities not just in educating a workforce, but by incubating and launching innovative start-ups,” said a member of the Ohio delegation, J. David Heller, a past board chair of the Northeast Ohio Medical University and a current board member of Cuyahoga Community College. “The Haifa model has a lot to offer. Hopefully this visit helps connect Ohio’s and Israel’s higher education leaders who can work together researching and developing life-changing technologies.”

The visiting lawmakers from Ohio included House Minority Leader Rep. Frederick Wilford Strahorn, Assistant Minority Whip Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes, Rep. Enrico Anthony Carfagna, Rep. Theresa Anne Gavarone, Rep. William Frank Reineke, Jr., Rep. Timothy Edward Ginter, Rep. Andrew Miller Thompson, Rep. David Samuel Greenspan, Rep. Kent Kessler Smith, Rep. Brigid Elizabeth Kelly, and Rep. Janine R. Boyd. The visiting legislative staffers were Shawn Allen Kasych and Alyssa Ann Sarko of the office of House Speaker Rep. Cliff Rosenberger, and Sarah A. Cherry of Strahorn’s office.

In particular, the delegation was keen to learn about the University’s newly unveiled vision for the country’s north by becoming Israel’s first ‘multiversity’, transforming University of Haifa into an international academic and research powerhouse and spearheading the revitalization of the region. Through acquisition of a small subset of independent colleges, growth in faculty members, and the addition of new Faculties, the University will further expand its global reach in marine sciences, brain and cancer research, engineering, life sciences, arts & design, education and law.

“Israel has a well-earned reputation as the ‘start-up nation,’ and innovators at University of Haifa are the source of a notable amount of these technological breakthroughs,” said Karen Berman, CEO of the American Society of University of Haifa. “We hope that the delegation’s visit to the University bears fruit for the state of Ohio for years to come.”

Outside of the legislative arena, the delegation included the aforementioned Heller, who is also a current trustee of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland and a past vice chair of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland; Adam G. Jacobs, PhD, president of Bellefaire JCB and the Wingspan Care Group; Simon (Sam) Hoenig, president of The Negev Foundation; Jeff Hoagland, President and CEO of the Dayton Development Coalition; Joshua Bloch Rubin, executive committee member of Bellefaire JCB; Stephanie Schaeffer Silverman, executive committee member of Bellefaire JCB; Pamela Ann Budak, director of community and outpatient services for Bellefaire JCB; Carl Ryan Brass, executive director of the Bellefaire JCB Lifeworks adult autism programs; and Howard Beigelman, executive director of Ohio Jewish Communities.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem/Photo credit: University of Haifa)