Notes From the Start-Up Nation

Dr. Munr Kazmir
5 min readFeb 25, 2019


Next-gen Israeli technology has the power to transform cities into smarter, safer and more sustainable communities. This week, Israel hosts the 33rd annual International Mayors Conference for a behind-the-scenes tour.

The modern city of Tel Aviv, Israel by Israeli artist, Raphael Perez .

Israel’s Economic Diplomacy

Twenty-five mayors carefully selected from diverse cities around the world are experiencing Israel today, courtesy of the American Jewish Congress, its long-time President Jack Rosen, and the American Council for World Jewry together with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The 33rd annual International Mayors Conference invited the group of prominent city leaders to attend this year’s global outreach event, offering participants a chance to explore groundbreaking new Israeli tech.

The goal is safe, smart, sustainable cities and thoughtful economic development that translates directly into community development. New advancements in city planning and urban development have the power to change the quality of life for city-dwelling citizens around the world.

Attendees of the conference this year can look forward to community-enhancing ideas and innovations from a variety of tech disciplines. These ideas have been field tested by the intense challenges facing city and community leaders in Israel.

The Crucible

You might say Israel has faced a unique set of city-planning challenges. You might also say:

“Necessity is the Mother of Invention” — Universal Proverb

As a result of such intense pressure, Israel has increasingly become a veritable laboratory of cutting-edge tech solutions to age-old societal problems like crime, sanitation, violence, and poverty.

Israel is willing to share the solutions that have helped work the unworkable in cities like Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. What can city leaders from around the world expect to learn from the frontier of the ‘Start-Up Nation’?

Tel Aviv, Israel. (photo: Maxpixel)

Cutting-Edge Urban Development

The Israeli tech industry has answered significant societal challenges with practical, repeatable solutions other nations can model in order to build successful solutions in their own communities.

Science Fair

Solar-powered interactive bus stops. Revitalized urban community spaces that conserve and purify water. Reimagined public mass-transit systems. Innovative community education classes where students and teachers can interact in virtual reality.

Cities around the world, in spite of any minor differences, face similar challenges and opportunities in the modern age.

Mayors attending this year’s conference can expect to be dazzled by some of the innovative municipal maneuvers that have integrated recent breakthroughs in the emerging fields of virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence and the ever-growing Internet of Things.

Making Your City Safer

This year’s attending mayors will have the opportunity to tour the Smart City Command Center of Tel Aviv, the technological ecosystem at the heart of successfully managing a coastal city of almost a half-million residents that hosts over 2.5 million visitors annually.

The New 911

Emergency response near you may soon be getting an upgrade.

Mayors attending the conference will have a chance to discover how technology is improving the speed and effectiveness of emergency responders in common, uncommon, and dangerous situations.

Safer Through Social Media

How should local law enforcement use social media platforms to identify credible threats to public safety?

Advanced AI and analytics are making it possible to identify patterns consistent with credible threats, helping target limited resources on real dangers, without wasting precious time and tax-dollars.

“Social Media WebINT utilizes advanced methods and techniques to track both criminal and civil unrest activities, mapping and analyzing criminal networks online. This technique can be applied to numerous criminal activities such as Organized Crime, Cyber Crime, Identity Theft, Financial Fraud, Drug Smuggling, Gang Activity, Violent or Potentially Violent Criminals and More.” — R-MOR, a top Israeli security company participating in the event


In the wake of the disturbing cyberattack on the city of Atlanta last year, city leaders and security experts everywhere remain deeply worried about the vulnerability of vital city systems, networks and data.

It was the worst cyber attack on any U.S. city in history: Ransomware installed by hackers hijacked the city’s online systems and demanded the equivalent of $51,000 to release the encrypted city data.

The city refused to pay, and the fallout continues.

Mayors at the conference this year will attend a special closed-door meeting with top Israeli security officials to discus the unique challenges peace-keeping forces face in the region, on all its security fronts, including ever-evolving cyber-threats.

Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem, the most important jewish religious site with al-Aqsa mosque (right) and Dome of the Rock (left) on the background. (photo: Klagemauer)

Co-existence Infrastructure

Over the next week, the mayors will also experience Israel’s unique culture and its people; Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs living and working together side-by-side, for the good of the communities they all must share.

City leaders in Jerusalem in particular have worked carefully to balance the strict traditionalists of multiple religious faiths with modern tech entrepreneurs currently being hosted in Israeli Universities.

Jerusalem’s success lies in infrastructure that keeps the old alongside the new; social underpinnings that support understanding and cooperation; civic programs that weave diverse groups together to strengthen the fabric of Israeli society.

“Our diversity is our struggle and our strength. Our power is in our people; Israel’s greatest contribution to the world is in human capital.” — Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, Vice Mayor of Jerusalem.

Global Solutions to Local Challenges

What can city leaders from around the world learn from the frontier in Israel?

Mayors selected to attend the conference this year, and the cities they represent, can benefit greatly from Israel’s experience and latest innovations. City leaders will leave better prepared to address challenges in their own communities, and with a greater understanding of how to prepare those communities for a brighter future.

For everyone.

Tune into tomorrow for the next part in this series covering the 33rd annual International Mayors Conference.

(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)