With five weeks to go, Emanuel strengthens ties between Chicago and Israel

Chicago’s deep connection to Israel will undoubtedly fade with the retirement of its first Jewish mayor. But Rahm Emanuel is doing what he can to make certain at least some of those ties survive his departure.

On Monday, Emanuel will join Chemi Peres, son of former Israeli President Shimon Peres, to sign a memorandum of understanding aimed at forging an enduring partnership between “technology and innovation ecosystems” in Chicago and Israel.

Their hope is to promote “innovation and entrepreneurship” in Chicago and Israel by pooling the talents of business, academic, civic and government leaders in both places. World Business Chicago will take the lead on this end.

Chemi Peres, a venture capitalist, also runs the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation, founded by his late father. The international partnership with Chicago is a first for the Peres Center.

City Hall says Emanuel reportedly pitched the concept to Chemi Peres during a 2017 trip to Israel — one of several Emanuel took as mayor.

The memorandum of understanding commits the parties to draft an annual work plan updated every six months and to “continual knowledge sharing for ensured achievement” with “connections to relevant outside partners.”

Bu, there’s a caveat. The document “expresses our combined intention but does not create a legally binding agreement or financial commitment.”

Emanuel’s pediatrician father Benjamin Emanuel is an Israeli immigrant. The family’s last name was changed to Emanuel, which means “God with us” in Hebrew.

The name change honored Emanuel Auerbach — Benjamin’s brother and the mayor’s uncle — who was killed in 1933 in an altercation with Arabs in Jerusalem.

It’s not the first time Emanuel has tried to forge business ties between Chicago and Israel.

Just days before Emanuel chose political retirement over the uphill battle for a third term, City Hall joined forces with Waze and Chicago-based SpotHero to install at least 400 so-called “Waze Beacons” devices that deliver “Bluetooth-enabled connectivity” in areas where GPS signals can’t reach.

That meant an end “underground signal blackouts” in 5 miles of multi-level streets.

The battery in each 2-inch-by-2-inch beacon is expected to last five years. Beacons are “stuck onto” walls and other infrastructure, installed 100 feet apart and placed out of reach of passersby so they can’t be tampered with or taken, officials said.

At the time, Chicago Department of Transportation spokesman Mike Claffey said the partnership between Chicago-based SpotHero and Israel-based Waze was forged during Emanuel’s trade mission to Israel. SpotHero co-founder and CEO Mark Lawrence was part of the delegation.

“SpotHero customers had a problem because, if there’s an entrance to a garage underground, drivers can’t get there. GPS navigation cuts out when you’re in an underground location. You would be lost underground,” Claffey said then.

“While they were in Israel, the mayor connected SpotHero with Waze engineer Gil Disatnik. He’s like the guru of these beacons. As a result of the two firms getting connected, SpotHero purchased the beacons from Waze and donated to the city of Chicago 500 of these beacons. We’re installing 400 initially, but we can put in more if …read more

Source:: Chicago Sun Times

      

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