Our first full day in Israel was definitely a busy one! We are still getting adjusted to the 8 hour difference here, but a good night of sleep at the hotel felt great. Everyone was up bright and early so we could grab a quick breakfast at the hotel before venturing out of Tel Aviv to explore the businesses of Israel.
Our first stop for the day was an Israeli company called Objet Ltd. that recently merged with a Minnesota company called Stratasys Inc, which is a 3D printing company. Stratasys Ltd. Is located in Rehovot, which is about 5-10 miles south of Tel Aviv. We had the opportunity to hear about the technology and future plans of the 3D printing industry and got a tour of the facility to see the printers in action. The company was kind enough to give us each souvenirs of a 3D printed model of the Eiffel tower and a ship in a bottle.
The next stop for the day the Weizmann Institute of Science, which is located just 2 miles away from Stratasys. The group is quickly noticing some differences in the education system between the United States and Israel. Here in Israel, 18 year olds are all sent to the military instead of college. In the military, they are exposed to the most advanced technology. After serving for about 4 years, they take their knowledge and experience to a university where they further develop and learn. This makes the average person entering their career after college around 26-28. The Weizmann Institute of Science is extremely research oriented and students there are encouraged to follow their curiosity. After exploring the visitor center, we were able to hear from Jacob Karni who is a U of M alumnus currently performing research on different energy sources. We had a great discussion with him!
We then hit the streets for some local food, falafel and shwrama. It was great to experience food from a local, family owned restaurant and it did not disappoint! The group had a great and relaxing lunch!
After lunch, we loaded back on the bus and headed east toward the Mediterranean Sea to visit the company Soreq located near Pahmachim. Soreq is a desalination plant that is being built to deal with the serve water restraints the Middle East is dealing with. When completed, the plant we visited will be the largest Salt Water Reverse Osmosis plant in the world, producing nearly 30 million bottles of drinkable water an hour. The group had the opportunity to learn all about what makes this plant unique as well as have a walking tour of the different buildings. Overall, it was a great site visit!
We then headed back north to Tel Aviv - Jaffa where the group got some time to relax and swim in the Mediterranean Sea. The water was gorgeous and surprisingly warm, unlike all of the bodies of water in Minnesota! After a quick dip, we walked back into Jaffa and grabbed dinner and gelato before heading back to the hotel for a presentation from Yitzchak ben Yisrael on space, cyber, and technological related security.
It was a long and busy day, but we all made the most out of our last day in Tel Aviv! Tomorrow we get to experience the desert!
Laila Tov - Good night