The Israel-Massachusetts economic connection is strong and growing stronger. The question — a familiar one — is how can the Berkshires participate?
The 2016 edition of the Massachusetts-Israel Economic Impact Study released Wednesday reported that since 2012, Israeli-founded businesses had a 9.4 percent growth rate in the state, which is more than double the state's overall business growth rate. There are more than 200 Israeli-founded businesses in Massachusetts, and the study found that they account for $9.3 billion in direct revenues and provide 9,000 jobs. Former Governor Deval Patrick, who visited Israel twice, was instrumental in this growth, and Governor Charlie Baker plans a visit to Israel in the near future.
In a visit to The Eagle Tuesday, Yehuda Yaakov, Israel's Boston-based consul general to New England, acknowledged that because of Boston's flourishing high-tech research sector and the direct flights between Boston and Tel Aviv, this connection is heavily linked to Eastern Massachusetts. He believes a Berkshire-Israel connection can be forged, particularly in tourism, but "It takes two to tango."
"A more robust interaction with Israeli tourism officials would help the region draw tourists from Israel," said Mr. Yaakov. Berkshire officials should reach out to the consul general's office and make this connection — in tourism and other areas if possible.