"If India and Israel are at the marriage stage, let's not get at the divorce stage", said Dr. Ora Setter while opening the intriguing discussion on "Negotiating with Israelis". Elucidating the above statement, she explored the bond between the two diametrically opposite nations while throwing light on their myriad similarities and highlighted how an insight of the same is a must for smooth business relations.
Dr. Ora Setter is a multi-faceted personality whose career spans from being the CEO of several high-tech companies and consultancy firms to being the mentor for the students of the Business School at the Tel Aviv University.
The audience was an interesting mix of various dignitaries like Mr. Alfred Arambhan, Secretary of Federation of Indo-Israel Chamber of Commerce, Daniel Zohar Zen Shine, Consul General of Israel, Tami Nagav, Dr. Judith Richter, MD, Inventor Business Women, Dr. Vijay Page, Director General – MET Institute of Management and Brig. Nag, Director, MET Asian Management Development Centre. Also present were the students from MET Schools of Management.
She started the address by clearing the world perception of Israel as a war-torn nation by highlighting the fact that it has more number of companies on the Wall Street than the US and Europe and its GDP growth of 5% comes from a measly population of 6.8m. Also, Israel is such a well-networked country that there are no power distances between people which enables speedy execution of business deals.
The MET audience was amazed at the number of similarities that India has with Israel: be it the architecture and remnants of British heritage in their cities, the intrinsic values of the centrality of family, western code of behaviour, the harmonious existence of innumerable languages and the fact that both the nations are home to the oldest religions of the world.
Our musings on the similarities was cut short when she quickly steered the discussion to the differences that set the nations apart that could make or break the professional ties between them, if not understood well. For starters, an Indian almost always has to absorb the culture shock that he gets on his first visit to Israel. Their brutal honesty, fixation with punctuality and the immense faith in oral agreements as a substitute for a written contract results in many a deals getting nipped in the bud.
She reflected the sporting spirit of the Israelis through her witty comments like "It's a known fact that venting out anger is a healthy sign and hence in that regard, Israel can truly be the healthiest nation" and "if there are two Jews, there exists at least three opinions". Hence, the evening gave each one of us a glimpse of Israel and its people through Dr. Ora Setter.
Anamika Lodh is a Management student from MET Asian Management Development Centre.