People keep saying that Israelis don’t have any patience. Maybe not for the inconveniences of daily life, but everyday of this Start-Up Israel tour convinces me more and more that In the long run Israelis are tenaciously patient. Consider Daniel and Anat Kornmehl who began raising goats in 1994. It took them three years to find the right home to make cheese and sell it at their restaurant. They find their home in the Negev but are still waiting for a long-term lease from the government so they can build permanent housing.
High-tech entrepreneur David Guedalia, along with a variety of colleagues, including brother Jacob, has developed at least a half-dozen software products. Now the group is part of Qualcomm. The group, based in Beit Shemesh, credits its success as a startup to working with people from a variety of cultures; their background in the army — which taught a strong reliance on each other, improvisation and the ability to take risks; and letting the best innovators take the lead with others carrying out their vision.
In Be’er Sheva’s old city, we met university students who are taking a cue from their grandparents to create a new Zionism for the 21st century. These 20 students make up just one of the 14 villages of Ayalim dedicated to improving the lives of residents of socio- or economically challenged areas. In Be’er Sheva, the students are focused on providing residents mostly in their 20s with cultural activities, including music and art. But the students want to do more. Once they are done with school, many plan to settle in the area because they love it and they want to be part of helping the community continue to improve. Ayalim’s Deborah Waller said the area has already been rejuvenated as business activity has increased.
As the day drew to a close we neared our final destination of Jerusalem but stopped first to enjoy the patient work of Tzora Vineyards where we tasted a variety of delicious wines. We then concluded our day with a “Shehechiyanu” at the Haas Promenade overlooking Jerusalem — the golden city Israelis have been patiently guarding with their lives to keep and protect every day of the past 65 years.
Sara Goodman is a hospice chaplain in Los Angeles, CA.