From November 18-23, a California delegation to Israel following the UN Climate Change Conference in neighboring Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt was hosted by the Milken Innovation Center in Jerusalem and UC-Berkeley. The visit aimed to invigorate California-Israel climate partnerships and best practices in business, public policy, development finance, energy, water, and agritech, and health per the 2014 California-Israel Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on translational research, development and demonstration projects. Additionally, it was set to mobilize engagement pursuant to the 2017 University of California-Israel Innovation Authority Cooperation Agreement and in accordance with objectives of the Israel Innovation Authority, California Energy Commission and University of California’s dedication to climate innovation.
Participants included co-leads State Senator Henry Stern (D-LA), Senate Natural Resources & Water Committee Chair and California Legislative Jewish Caucus leader, Michelle Moskowitz, UC Berkeley, Office of Government & Community Relations, and Glenn Yago, Director of the Milken Innovation Center at the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research, and Visiting Economics Professor in Master of Development Practice (MDP) program at the Goldman School of Public Policy and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem School of Business. Additional delegates included State Senator David Min (D-Irvine), Chair, Asian Pacific Islander Caucus; Sean Randolph, Senior Director, Bay Area Council Economic Institute and author of the 2021 report evaluating the California-Israel MOU Silicon Valley to Silicon Wadi | Bay Area Council Economic Institute ; David C. Wilson, Dean, Goldman School of Public Policy, UC Berkeley; Rosalind Johnson, Director, Enrollment, Equity and Success, Office of Undergraduate Admissions, UC Berkeley; Felicia Marcus, Former Chair of the California State Water Resources Control Board, Fellow at the Global Water Policy Institute at Stanford, Warner Chabot, Director, San Francisco Estuary Institute; and Annette Blum, Board Member of the Blum Center for Developing Economies and the Blum Family Foundation. Delegates spoke to a joint UC Berkeley-Hebrew University class on Development Finance, courtesy of zoom, taught by Glenn Yago at the Milken Innovation Center at the Jerusalem Institute.
The Milken innovation Center organized a workshop at the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research among the participants and representatives of Israeli ministries, including the Prime Minister’s Office, Ministries of Environmental Protection, Energy, Finance, Foreign Affairs, Innovation Authority to discuss what has been done under the cooperation agreement since 2014 in water, energy, green building, and biomedical developments and what should be done going forward in energy transition, capital markets, affordability, and international development and strengthening program support for the Israeli and Global Fellows Program. Participants also visited drip irrigation pioneer Netafim; the world’s biggest thermal solar tower Ashalim Power Station, a model sustainable farm for the bedouin community, Project Wadi Attir; the independent non-partisan center for research, Israel Democracy Institute; green buildings energy storage Technology – NOSTROMO; Jerusalem’s municipal wastewater Utility Gihon serving diverse communities;Jerusalem’s newest center for art, diversity and impact, Feel Beit; a non-profit serving the food-ag nexus Asif: Culinary Institute of Israel, and Start-Up Nation Central- Israel Innovation for the World.
The delegation was hosted for a working dinner sponsored by the Israel Ministry of Environmental Protection, led by Minister Tamar Zandberg and Director General Galit Cohen where discussions focused on climate tech transitions for water-stressed regions. The visit hopes to further facilitate joint participation from Israeli and California universities, global and corporate partners in obtaining matching grants for research & development, innovation and entrepreneurship in climate, energy, water, agritech, and natural resources, with a focus on creating a climate smart future. Plans are being made to organize further collaborative efforts among California legislators to fund this initiative through the State budget in partnership with Israel and other regional and sector tech ecosystems.