JERUSALEM (AP) — Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick says his trip to Israel this week is all about "cultivating" an important relationship that has generated thousands of jobs for people back in the commonwealth.
Patrick is leading a trade mission with about 120 Massachusetts business leaders. At least six business deals or partnerships are being announced during the visit, Patrick's second to Israel as governor.
According to the New England Israel Business Council, more than 200 Israeli-founded businesses are based in Massachusetts. The council says these companies booked $6 billion in revenue in 2012 and provided 6,600 jobs. In addition, many Massachusetts companies, including tech giants EMC and PTC, maintain research and develop operations in Israel, itself a high-tech powerhouse.
With nearly all of these companies involved in technology sectors, Israel and Massachusetts are "very compatible," Patrick said in an interview Tuesday.
"It's a very, very fruitful — and tangibly so — relationship," he said. "The way to keep it going is to keep cultivating it."
Nadav Efraty is a product of that relationship. When the Israeli entrepreneur wanted to relocate his company, Desalitech, to the United States, he decided that Massachusetts was the best fit. He said he was attracted by the pool of educated talent, support from state officials and the quality of life.
Since making the move, Efraty said, his company's revenues have increased from several hundred thousand dollars a year to several million per quarter, and he has hired 10 people in the U.S. He said he joined Patrick on a pair of previous trade missions, to Mexico and Japan, resulting in new contracts with global customers like French company Veolia.