Lior Lifshitz, my partner in managing Jerusalem Capital, left for China this morning, with no clear return date, leaving me with deal flow, portfolio, etc. Why I am not upset? Because Lior left as co-leader of a delegation of Israel Flying Aid in search of a 62 year old Israeli woman who has been missing for almost a month. Eda Gershovitz left in March 2006 for "standard" Israeli trek around the world, focusing on Asia. She checked in by email and phone, but was last heard from a month ago on the Chinese border with Tibet.
I want to focus on two things about what all of this says about life today, specifically for Israelis, but also relevant to many other people[s].
First, the independence a 62 year old Israeli woman feels today, to go trekking around China and Tibet by herself...extremely empowering. Eda Gershovitz immigrated to Israel from Russia over thirty years ago, and raised three children in Israel (two of whom are in China right now looking for her). At 62, Eda was already a seasoned traveler, having toured Africa and Asia in the past. There is a wanderlust that many Israelis feel, to see the world. Perhaps it comes from living in what many see as the center of the world, under a lot of pressure, that makes us travel so far (a form of escapism)...or perhaps it is because we have such an interest in the world as we are trained to care about the world, not just our neighborhood.
Next, think about my partner Lior. A busy guy, with three children of his own, a wife (celebrating her birthday this week). In his reserve duty Lior serves in a unit responsible for investigating the plight of missing soldiers. Lior and his colleagues make determinations about how someone went missing, and what their physical state was at the time...and are involved in rescue operations. For a month this Summer Lior was almost full time in Lebanon. OK, you say, that I "understand," there was intense fighting. But to just pick and look for a woman he has never met? Eda Gershovitz did not have insurance-- her children turned to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, who in turn, together with Israel Flying Aid, contacted Lior and his army unit. We need volunteers, they said. Lior agreed at once --- which is one of the reasons I chose him to be my partner in Jerusalem Capital. Lior represents the best of entrepreneurial spirit of Israel, fusing together a sense of personal responsibility with action.
Lior does not speak Chinese, has never been to the village Eda disappeared from, and yet he left this morning, with no fixed return date, to find her -- as a volunteer. Of course it helps that he has a very supportive life partner, Tali, and a business partner, me, that back him up.
May Lior and his team be blessed for their effort, and lets pray together with Eda Gershovitz's family that their search brings good news, or at least news.