(November 20, 2012 / JNS) NEW YORK—On Nov. 20, for the sixth consecutive year, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) recognized the innovative technology and business acumen that characterizes the Jewish state at its “Israel Day.”
The event took place in the midst of high tension from ongoing Gaza rockets, but even as Israelis were forced into shelters, the Tel Aviv stock exchange rose 28 points, noted Laurence Leibowitz, chief operating officer of the NYSE Euronext International Listing.
The importance of Israel Day could not be greater, said Leibowitz. “In Israel, they do what they do,” he said, stressing the importance of ensuring that investors are not fearful about investing in Israel.
Ido Aharoni, the Consul General of Israel in New York, said the Israel-Gaza conflict is not about land, but about Israel’s very right to exist.
“One indicator of Israel’s resilience is the behavior of Israel’s stock market,” he said.
“Israel is the living proof that it is possible to defend yourself and be successful!” Aharoni added.
Bill Thompson, Jr., former New York comptroller and mayoral candidate, expressed gratitude to President Barack Obama for the White House’s support of Israel’s right to “do what you’ve got to do.” No country, said Thompson, can live with rockets being shot at its population. Thompson, who has led multiple missions to Israel under the sponsorship of the America Israel Friendship League (AIFL), said, “My role is to make converts for Israel… I am a convert to Israel, not just a friend.”
At 9:30 a.m., to open the day’s trading, Sami Sagol, Chairman of The Keter Group, lifted NYSE’s oversized mallet and rang its famous bell, to the accompaniment of a rousing “cheer” across the floor. Sagol was also honored Nov. 20 at the AIFL Partners in Democracy Dinner at the Plaza Hotel in New York.
Peretz Lavie, president of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, was unable to be in New York because of the crisis in Israel, but sent remarks via video. He spoke about the Technion-Cornell University partnership as “a catalyst for the New York economy which would strengthen the relationship between America and Israel.”
Kenneth Bialkin, chairman of the AIFL, offered closing remarks, noting the recognition of Israel’s strength at “a mighty institution like the New York Stock Exchange” brings “some perspective” to events worldwide.