Innovators Nation conference at ESCP Europe: the conclusion

As a conclusion to this trip to Israel, we decided to organize an event to thank all our partners. The students invited all the people involved in this project (and all the people interested in innovation in Israel) to a conference and a cocktail at ESCP Europe. The event took place on May the 23rd and we were happy to welcome our prestigious guests: Arie Avidor (Minister, Israeli Ambassy in France), Pascal Morand (Dean of ESCP Europe), Daniel Rouach (professor at ESCP Europe), François Fourcade (professor at ESCP Europe) and many others.

The purpose of this conference was to explain why we decided to visit this country, what we discovered and what are the key factors of success of innovation in Israel.

This event has been very successfull, and we hope this kind of project will be organized again at ESCP Europe or in other schools.

You can watch extracts from the conference here:

And here is the full version video we have made to summarize the Innovators Nation adventure (thanks Shannon for the montage!):

We hope you enjoyed reading this blog.

THE END.

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Shabbat in Jerusalem and departure day

On Saturday, our last day in Israel, it was shabbat. We didn’t scheduled anything, so some of us decided to sleep late in the morning (after all, it was well-deserved!), others wanted to buy some souvenirs, and others went to the old city again, to see the rampart’s walk.

There is a lot of choice for buying souvenirs in the old city: kippas, Armenian ceramics, jewelry, rosary, etc.

kippas, Jerusalem

kippas, Jerusalem

The rampart's walk, Jerusalem

The rampart's walk, Jerusalem

After this last walk in Jerusalem, we all get on the minibus. Direction: the airport. After a long wait at the security check, we changed shekels into euros, and we boarded.

We had a stop in Munich, and a few hours later we landed in cold and rainy Paris (after the worst landing we ever had, we almost died!).

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Day 7: what we have seen or learned in Jerusalem

Here is a list of what we have seen or learned today in Jerusalem:

  • The tramway isn’t working during shabbat. And everything is closed. The city looks empty.
  • They are not kidding in the airport. Security check is long and serious: the airport employees ask questions about your luggage, and then they x-ray it, and then they can open it if there is something unusual.

The anecdote of the day:

You can enjoy the best fresh orange juices in Israel. Oranges are produced in Jaffa. You can buy fresh juice in the street, it will be pressed just in front of you. Perfect when the wether is hot and you want something sweet.

Israeli oranges

Israeli oranges

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Jerusalem old city: 3 religions in 1 square kilometre

On Friday afternoon, we visited the old city of Jerusalem.

Its history is so complex it would be too long to explain here, but you can have a look on Wikipedia. To summarize: a very long time ago, importants events happened in the old city of Jerusalem for the Jews, the Catholics and the Muslims. Years passed, and Jerusalem became claimed by the 3 monotheistic religions. Then the city had been divided into 4 parts: the Muslim Quarter, the Christian Quarter, the Jewish Quarter and the Armenian Quarter, so that everybody could live together.

The old city almost did not change until today. We entered by Jaffa gate. From the outside, you can sea huge ramparts hiding minarets and church towers. Inside, it is a labyrinth of tiny little streets. It’s easy to get lost, but our guide showed us the way to the main monuments.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Jerusalem old city: the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Jerusalem old city: the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

It is located in the Christian Quarter. It looks like a common church, but what we saw inside was really amazing. The church is supposed to be located on the Golgotha, the hill where Jesus was crucified. The church is divided into many chapels, with a different architectural style. In one of the chapel, we saw people queuing up in order to touch with their hand the rock on which the church is built.

In another room, we saw people lying on and kissing the Stone of Anointing, on which they suppose Jesus had been anointed before he was buried.

Candles in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Candles in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was overcrowded, with pilgrims coming from everywhere. We could really see their religious fervour.

Then we went out of the church, walked in a few streets, and arrived almost as if by magic on the most famous plaza in Jerusalem.

Jerusalem old city: a tiny street

Jerusalem old city: a tiny street

The Temple Mount and the Western Wall

This place is sacred for Jews. It is said the Western Wall is a vestige of the Temple. The plaza is full of people: tourists, but also worshipers. Like them, we went in front of the wall, touched it, and put a prayer note with a wish between the stones. Even if you are not religious, the Western Wall is very impressive by its size (its very high!) and the people praying there. 

Jerusalem old city: the Western Wall

Jerusalem old city: the Western Wall

Guy, Ricardo, Ronan and Clément H in front of the Western Wall

Guy, Ricardo, Ronan and Clément H in front of the Western Wall

Alice, Shannon and Sophie in front of the Western Wall

Alice, Shannon and Sophie in front of the Western Wall

The Western Wall: prayer notes

The Western Wall: prayer notes

Just behind the wall, we could see the Dome of the Rock shining under the sun.

The Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque

They are located in the Muslim Quarter. Unfortunately, we could not visit these two monuments, because it was on Friday (day of rest), so it was closed. The Dome of the Rock is golden, you can see it from almost everywhere in Jerusalem.

At the end of this visit in the old city, we had realized how much Jerusalem is different from Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv had seemed to us very young, lively, business-oriented, whereas Jerusalem seemed very ancient, religious, and a patchwork of different people.

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A lunch at Mahane Yehuda Market

After visiting Yad Vashem, we needed something to cheer us up. So we went to Mahane Yehuda Market to have lunch.

Mahane Yehuda Market: the crowd

Mahane Yehuda Market: the crowd

It’s a lively and overcrowded place where you can find almost everything for cooking and eating: fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, spices, dried fruits and pastries, yummy!

Mahane Yehuda Market: spices

Mahane Yehuda Market: spices

We had some falafel sandwiches. It was fat and tasty! After that we were ready for a long walk in the old city of Jerusalem.

Sophie, Alice and Virginie eating falafel sandwiches in Mahane Yehuda Market

Sophie, Alice and Virginie eating falafel sandwiches in Mahane Yehuda Market

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In Yad Vashem: understanding the Shoah

On Friday morning, we took the tramway to go to Yad Vashem, Israel’s official memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust.

We arrived in front of a very modern building made of concrete and built in 1953. It is located in a mediterranean garden. The place looks very quiet from the outside, but inside it is full of tourists! Most of them are visiting in groups, with a guide. They are from all over the world.

We entered the museum. It tells the story of the Shoah (the Hewbrew word for Holocaust). It begins with anti-Semitism in Europe, continues with the rising of Hitler, the first Jewish ghettoes, the death camps, and finally the liberation. Most of us already knew this history, but here it is very well presented: it swhow objects, posters, books, maps, archive movies, and video testimonies from people who lived during this period.

The museum itself has a special architecture: it is made of relatively small rooms, around a long corridor with an open ceiling. So visitors follow a zigzag path, from dark rooms to a very sunny corridor, like a breath of fresh air.

Yad Vashem, the corridor

Yad Vashem, the corridor

At the end of the museum, we entered the Hall of names. It is a round room. There are pictures of people on the ceiling, and a hole with water on the floor. On the walls, there are shelves. On each shelve, there are dozens of files. And in each files, there are Pages of Testimony. A Page of Testimony is written by a relative of a Jew who died during the Holocaust. It contains a name, a picture, and biographical details. Yad Vashem estimates that we still do not have the name of all the people concerned. So since its establishment, its mission has been encouraging people in bearing witness about Shoah’s victims they know. The Hall of names is very impressive, because you can realize how much people died, and how much remains unknown (a lot of shelves are empty).

Yad vashem, the Hall of names

Yad vashem, the Hall of names

In another building, there is the Children’s memorial, in the memory of all the children who died during the war. Visitors enter a very dark room, illuminated with a great number of small lights. They hear a voice saying the name of the children.

This visit in Yad Vashem was very moving for all of us. When we went out of the museum, the blinding sun contrasted with the hard images we had seen inside.

The view from Yad Vashem

The view from Yad Vashem

Yad Vashem, the outside

Yad Vashem, the outside

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Day 6: what we have seen or learned in Jerusalem

Here is a list of what we have seen or learned today in Jerusalem:

  • everything is built thanks to donations: universities, research institutes, memorials
  • there are more policemen in Jerusalem than in Tel Aviv.
  • people are always controlled in the tramway (don’t forget your ticket!)
  • for shabbat (resting day in the Jewish tradition), orthodox Jews wear bigger hats.
  • some people really make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
  • you have to bargain when buying souvenirs in the old city.
  • men and women are separated on the Western Wall.
  • you can visit a catholic church when hearing the muezzin‘s call to prayer.
  • 10 minutes in Jerusalem worth less than 10 minutes in Tel Aviv: distances are shorter.
  • even if you’re not Jewish, you have to wear a kippa to go to the Western Wall (for men only).
  • during shabbat, you can’t eat before food is blessed.
An othodox Jew in front of the Western Wall, Jerusalem

An othodox Jew in front of the Western Wall, Jerusalem

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The Dead Sea experience: we have floated!

On Thursday, we left Tel Aviv. We were a little bit sad, because we were almost feeling like home in the city. We took the mini bus to go to the Dead Sea.

We had a first stop in En Gedi national park. It’s precisely in the middle of a desert. It’s hot, sunny, with almost no trees. After walking during one hour, we discovered some springs and an amazing view on the Dead Sea and the lanscape around.

The Innovators Nation Team, En Gedi National Park, Israel

The Innovators Nation Team, En Gedi National Park, Israel

The Innovators Nation Team, En Gedi National Park, Israel

The Innovators Nation Team, En Gedi National Park, Israel

After a quick lunch, we moved to the Dead Sea Spa. Here are the steps to enjoy this great place and its benefits:

  1. you arrive there and you look at the lanscape. The sun is high in the blue sky, the water is clear, the moutains are sand-colored. It looks like Mars planet.
  2. you dress up with your bathing suit.
  3. you take a little train from the Spa building to the beach.
  4. to enter into the sea.
  5. and you FLOAT!
  6. you accidentally put some water in your eyes. It’s so salted it burns, ouch…
  7. you go out of the water, and put a lot of mud (rich in mineral and salt) on your body, your face and your hair. You look like Shrek but it’s so funny.
  8. you wait until it gets dry.
  9. you take a shower and remove all the mud.
  10. You have a baby skin: so soft!
The team on the road to the beach

The team on the road to the beach

Innovators Nation floating in the Dead Sea!

Innovators Nation floating in the Dead Sea!

Finally, we all jumped into the bus and slept during the way back to Jerusalem.

Dead Sea mud: yummy!

Dead Sea mud: yummy!

The muddy Innovators Nation Team, Dead Sea, Israel

The muddy Innovators Nation Team, Dead Sea, Israel

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Day 5: what we have seen or learned in the Dead Sea

Here is a list of what we have seen or learned today in the Dead Sea:

  • Israel is the country of wifi. You can find a free hotspot almost everywhere.
  • “the dead sea is dead” quoting Ricardo. Actually it’s so salted that no fishes or plants can live in the water.
  • To celebrate the end of Independence day in Israel, people organize picnic with their family.
  • there is a big business in beauty creams made with Dead Sea minerals or mud.
  • people really float in the Dead Sea, it’s not a myth.
  • we have seen a Better Place station (where you can switch your electric car battery) on the road between Tel Aviv and the Dead Sea.

The anecdote of the day: so much sun!

We used more solar cream in one day in the Dead Sea than in one summer month in Paris, no kidding!

The Innovators Nation Team floating in the Dead Sea

The Innovators Nation Team floating in the Dead Sea

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Having a break in Gordon beach

After visiting Procter&Gamble (see article there) and the Hive, we decided to have a break on Gordon beach. It’s located just in front of Tel Aviv, so that when you are swimming, you can have a great view on the city and the buildings.

Gordon beach, Tel Aviv

Gordon beach, Tel Aviv

Then, we went to a party organized by the Chambre de Commerce Israel-France thanks to celebrate the Independance Day in Israel. And after that, we moved to a roof-top party, but it’s another story…

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