Gov. Chris Christie appointed Tenafly businessman Barry Honig to the New Jersey-Israel Commission late last month, and Honig wants to use his new position to build more bridges between the Jewish state and the Garden State.
“New Jersey is a great place for Israeli companies to set up,” Honig said, noting that the Garden State provides access to New York City and a talented pool of marketing gurus. “It’s a perfect partnership.”
Outsourcing to India and China has been a concern in the United States for years. While corporations find cheaper labor costs, American workers argue that they are being priced out of their jobs. Although the costs of doing business in Israel can be lower than in the United States, the motivation behind the U.S.-Israel business relationship is not one of outsourcing to save a few shekels, according to Honig.
“Israel has real talent in real-time systems and mission-critical software and development,” he said. “In the U.S., we have that talent but we also have considerably better talent in marketing and operations management and finance. Bridging those two sets of talent pools together is where the value is.”
Israeli companies, meanwhile, can open themselves to new markets and expertise by creating satellites in the United States, he said.
“The idea is for Israel to bring business here and leverage their skills, and for Americans to take their business there and leverage their skills,” he said.
Honig is president of Tenafly-based Honig International, an executive search and management-consulting firm specializing in the financial services industry. “Governor Christie nominated Barry Honig for a seat on the N.J.-Israel Commission because he believes his experience as a successful business leader will be a strong addition to the commission as its role in New Jersey’s economic development, through the Department of State’s Business Action Center, grows,” said Sean Conner, spokesman for the governor’s office.He is a board member and a past president of the Jewish National Fund for northeastern New Jersey.
Honig is no stranger to the Israeli business community. Most recently, he was in Israel in June for an economic mission through the Ministry of Finance to build the relationship between Israel and the financial sector. During the 1990s, Hoenig ran Zmanim, a software company based in Haifa.
Because of the faltering economic situation in New Jersey, the state needs an engine for growth, Honig said. Israel, which is experiencing economic growth, is looking to expand its businesses. In his role with Honig International, Honig matches companies with the right candidates. Because of that, he said, he can help broker deals for Israeli companies to set up in New Jersey.
“It’s one of those situations you can really feel great about,” he said. “As a New Jersey resident I want to see more people work, and as somebody who loves Israel I want to see Israel thrive as well. I can help boost both economies. That’s a win-win.”
The New Jersey-Israel Commission was created in 1989 to foster trade, culture, and educational exchanges between Israel and New Jersey.