As a well-traveled diplomat, Choose New Jersey CEO Wes Mathews has seen firsthand the impact that acts of aggression can have on communities around the globe for years.
Nonetheless, the acts of war that Hamas took on Israel on Saturday — killing nearly 1,000 and taking more than 150 hostages in an invasion — hit home even more.
Choose New Jersey opened the New Jersey Israel Center in Tel Aviv in March of this year. The office employs approximately a dozen people (all of whom are Israeli citizens) through Peres and Associates Global Advisory, where NJIC is housed.
Mathews said he began reaching out early Saturday morning — by text and WhatsApp — and has stayed in contact since. So far, it has been all good news, he said.
“I have been in contact with members of the New Jersey Israel Center, including its director, Nadav Tamir, and members of my team have been in touch with their NJIC colleagues,” he said. “Thankfully, our team in Israel is safe and accounted for as of today.”
The situation remains fluid, Mathews said.
“We remain concerned for the health and security of our colleagues and their families in the region, and through our partners on the ground, including U.S. embassies and consulates, are closely monitoring the dynamic security situation,” he said.
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“Our thoughts are with the people of Israel and the region as they face the unspeakable horrors of terrorism and war.”
New Jersey has long had strong relationship with Israel, both culturally and through the business community.
Since the beginning of Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration in 2018, foreign direct investment between New Jersey and Israel is up $447 million, a 36% increase. In 2022, the year-over-year trade between the two states increased by 11%. And New Jersey ranks second in the Northeast in 2021 for Israeli investment.
The NJIC aims to grow commercial, academic and cultural collaborations with Israel and support Israeli businesses looking to expand to New Jersey.
The center’s opening, March 21, was celebrated during Choose New Jersey’s fifth mission to Israel since 2018.