I went on a trip to Israel earlier this month.

It’s a trip I’d been meaning to do for a long time.

Here’s what I learnt.

  • They are incredibly strict about visitors to their country. The visa process itself was not that hard, it was a routine procedure with the details clear on their website.

The part that was a bit of a surprise for me (even though I was prepared for it) was the level of interrogation I was subjected to prior to getting my boarding pass for my flight.

By my estimate, I spent close to 50 minutes answering questions to multiple people about my reasons for visiting Israel and what not. The boredom and frustration that arises out of having to answer the same set of questions multiple times to multiple people cannot be expressed in words.

When we were finally done with the questions, they let me through and I got on the flight.

  • They are incredibly proud about their country The first taste of Israel I got was actually on the flight itself. As soon as the flight landed the Israelis on the flight started clapping for a great, safe landing.

I have never experienced that, it was a little strange, but, strangely enough it also felt good to acknowledge everyone on a job well done.

  • Incredibly mature business ecosystem The business ecosystem is Israel is far more matured than that one that exists in India. Maybe I’m stretching it a little there, maybe I’m talking just about the startup ecosystem since that’s the one I spent the most time with, but, they are definitely ahead of the Indian ecosystem by quite a few years (if not decades)

  • Presentation of history I ended up visiting Jerusalem as well and the experience is something I will treasure for the rest of my life. The place as a whole is seeped in history and is incredibly relevant for the 3 major abrahamic religions in the world.

What I did walk with however is a lesson, on how to preserve and present the history of a place. Something we are dismal at in India. We suffer from the abundance of cultural and religious history all around us that we don’t spend enough time appreciating it.

  • Built to survive The country as a whole looks out for each other and is always in survival mode.

Several conversations I had with people there led me to the conclusion that Israel innovates because it has to. Its in huge trouble if it doesn’t.

In many ways this is similar to the predicament that India finds itself in for the coming decade. There are further lessons to be learned from this wonderful country.

I had an amazing time there, the people in general are incredibly nice.

The country is also super healthy, maybe there is a lesson to be learnt there as well.

There are other notes that I have from the experience as well, but, I still don’t have them organised enough to put them in a public post. Maybe another time.

Toda

Sainath