What SodaStream and Iscar Have in Common

Good news travels fast in our beautiful little country. Before I had barely opened my eyes yesterday, I had already received quite a few messages about the $3.2B PepsiCo SodaStream deal.  

In 2006 Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway paid $4 billion in cash for 80% of Wertheimer’s precision metalworking tool company, ISCAR.  The Forbes title said it all:  Warren Buffett Invested In ISCAR; ISCAR’s Founder Is Investing In Peace

It’s very interesting to note that two of Israel’s greatest “exits” to date, are not high-tech related, but do have so much in common.

When I met with Arie Dahan, general manager of Stef Wertheimer’s industrial parks a decade ago, he gave me plenty of insight about Mr. Wertheimer’s vision for peace in the Middle East. How it could be achieved through his Marshal Plan for the area, which essentially is about providing jobs for Arabs as the key to maintaining stability in the region.

When I interviewed SodaStream CEO, Daniel Birnbaum, in March 2017, he spoke to me in great depth about what he calls a Peace Economy. According to Daniel Birnbaum, we can “use the economy, use employment, as a way to create normalization and stability. And also let people get to know each other. This is a perfect and proven model. This is not a theory. We’ve proven how to make Economic Peace.”

Just like Stef Wertheimer, Daniel Birnbaum has a very clear vision about how we can create peace in the region through providing job security:

“Let’s create a picture of what the future can look like when there’s stability – from there will emerge a climate where we can actually have a dialogue. And create some long-term stability – also known as peace. The circumstances now call for that in the Middle East.

SodaStream is always promoting its Island of Peace concept where Muslims and Jews not only work side by side, but have really created a family atmosphere throughout the years.  This ongoing effort to nurture harmony, and provide an example of peace from Israel is evident at every corporate gathering.

This year Daniel Birnbaum even gave a full Ramadan blessing in Arabic : “To my Muslim friends, I wish you a Ramadan Kareem. May we emerge from this holiday month with conviction and determination to find the way for us to live together in peace and harmony. We do it every day at SodaStream and we can do it everywhere. Together.”

So what is the big lesson here for Israeli high-tech companies that love to focus on their technology?

Here is the golden recipe for creating massive value:
1) Nurture the connections between people because that is the key issue.
2) Focus on doing good in a way that creates harmony in society.
3) Promote meaningful values and invest in nurturing those values.
4) Most importantly, focus on providing good examples from Israel of how we can get along here together. This is what the world expects from us.

As you can see, the universe rewards individuals focused on creating a better and more peaceful environment for us to exist in. And don’t think it’s an easy feat. Both Stef Wertheimer and Daniel Birnbaum are self-made entrepreneurs who worked very hard to achieve success. Nothing was handed to them on a platter.  Apparently that’s what it takes to create truly brilliant leaders with a correct vision of the future.

About the Author
Josia Nakash made Aliya from Canada at the age of 12 on a 28-foot Cape Dory sailboat. She loves sharing all the good Israel has to offer the world. Josia has a BA in International Relations and Political Science. She was the IDF's second female sniper instructor and is a top marketing consultant and copywriter.
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