THE Landing Pad, an incubation program for Australian businesses in Israel, was one of the highlights of an eight-day tour by 11 Victorian Coalition MPs under the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) Rambam Israel Fellowship Program.
The delegation, which included a number of shadow ministers, learned about Israeli life and industry, including the country’s thriving start-up culture, the complexities of Israel’s political and security problems, and the nation’s history.
Led by David Southwick, MP for Caulfield and Shadow Minister for Innovation, Energy & Resources, and Renewables, the group visited Australia’s Landing Pad in Tel Aviv, which is the first of five overseas working spaces the federal Coalition government established.
The Landing Pad, located in the established co-working space SOSA (named for its location South of Salame Street, Tel Aviv), will see more Australian emerging businesses visit Israel as they will be given the opportunity to access venture capital, create industry connections and promote Australia–Israel collaboration on projects.
Southwick stated: “It was fantastic to meet with key executives at the Landing Pad to discuss how we can encourage more emerging Victorian businesses to use this wonderful facility that connects them to Israel’s start-up ecosystem. Israel is a global leader in the start-up world, one which Victoria can continue to partner with and learn from.”
Tim Bull, Shadow Minister for Disability, Senior Victorians, Mental Health, Housing & Racing, said he was particularly inspired by Israel’s development in smartphone technology for people with a disability.
During the tour, delegates were briefed by security officials about the obstacles Israel faces, and heard how Australia’s relationship with the country is integral for the upkeep of peace in the region.
The group visited Tel Aviv, Ben Gurion and Hebrew Universities, meeting with various members of the Knesset, and strengthening ties with JNF and Magen David Adom.
AIJAC executive director Colin Rubenstein said: “It is very pleasing that so many state Liberal MPs, under the guidance of David Southwick, took the time to undertake this very intensive study program in Israel.”