The Shmooze

Israeli Entrepreneurs Flock To South Sudan

By Renee Ghert-Zand

  • Print
  • Share Share
Wikimedia Commons

Israelis are known to be impatient, and when it comes to how fast they are moving to establish business relations with the new country of South Sudan, the stereotype is holding true.

Israeli companies seeking contracts in industries such as agriculture, security, medicine and infrastructure are being welcomed by the leadership of the world’s newest nation. Under-the-radar support given to the Christian South Sudanese rebels by Israel in recent years is helping to smooth the way to the quick establishment of economic ties. South Sudanese rebel leader John Garang was even treated for an eye injury in an Israeli hospital.

South Sudan has turned to Israel for security advice as well as for expertise in how to train its new army and police force. A company based in Ramat Hasharon has reportedly been asked to put in a bid for the contract to provide protection to the new president of South Sudan.

Solel Boneh is examining the possibility of paving roads and building infrastructure in South Sudan, and the medical supply company Sarel is looking into opening operations there or entering contractual agreements to help with setting up the country’s health care system.

And it’s not just big companies that are getting in on the economic opportunities in the nascent state. Israeli entrepreneurs who had been already operating quietly in the area of South Sudan for a couple of years are going above ground now.

Tamir Gal of the Kfar Vitkin moshav and his business partner Rafi Dayan, owner and CEO of Yarok 2000, are planning to assist the South Sudanese government with major agricultural projects. These include fruit and vegetable farms and poultry operations that would enable the country to begin producing its own food. South Sudan currently imports 99% of its food, following the destruction of its agricultural capabilities by the northern Sudanese army and Muslim militias.

Israeli entrepreneurs will also be helping to put in place farming communities of South Sudanese soldiers along the border with North Sudan, recalling the kibbutzim along Israel’s borders with hostile neighbors.

South Sudan’s first Internet provider, Bilpam Telecommunications, was set up with the assistance of Israeli entrepreneurs.

The Marker reports that Gal expects his company alone to work on projects worth $20-25 million by 2012. Many believe there are hundreds of millions of dollars more to be made by other companies, with payment guaranteed by the international community.

And it’s not all work and no play, either. Israelis are also known for their desire to travel outside of their own small country. With South Sudan as the newest potential destination for Israeli tourists, Aharon Efroni, of the Jewish-Arab institute at Beit Berl College, is putting together vacation packages to South Sudan for Israelis who can’t wait to go there.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Tamir Gal, South Sudan, Rafi Dayan, John Garang, Israel, Business

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.