Michael Redd, former NBA All-Star and Olympic Gold Medal winner, is attending the 2020 OurCrowd Global Investor Summit today in Jerusalem. Since 2014, Redd has invested in over 85 companies and, in the last two years, he has turned his attention, and his investment resources, to Israel.
Breaking Israel News spoke with Redd on the morning of the Global Investor Summit about his experiences investing in Israeli companies.
“The motivation is really simple,” Redd explained. “It transcends business. I’ve fallen in love with the Nation of Israel and the people. From a Biblical standpoint, Isaiah talks about Israel being a light to the nations. That’s why I’m so involved with the Nation.”
For He has said: “It is too little that you should be My servant In that I raise up the tribes of Yaakov And restore the survivors of Yisrael: I will also make you a light of nations, That My salvation may reach the ends of the earth.” Isaiah 49:6
Redd’s interest is to help the Jewish people succeed in the role as a light to the nations that the prophet Isaiah set out for them. “To serve the Nation and to serve the people, to run alongside this incredible nation, is the motivation,” he elaborated.
Again quoting the prophet Isaiah,
Redd indicated that, “God’s Glory is being seen through technology. Through technology, Christians and Jewish relationships will continue to grow and will have more impact on the next generation.
“Ingenuity is a uniter. The Nation [of Israel’s] creativity and level of genius has been amazing. It comes from God. A lot of times we forget the bracha (blessing) of God and how He has demonstrated that through our Jewish brothers and sisters.”
For the earth shall be filled With awe for the glory of Hashem As water covers the sea. Habakkuk 2:14
“We’re really seeing [the words of Habakkuk] and we’ve seen it through the centuries. You have to see it through spiritual eyes. The truth is an illuminator of eyes. People are realizing that Israel is the epicenter of the world and creativity is just oozing out of this nation.
“When I think of [King] Solomon and how the Queen of Sheba marveled at the order of his house, that’s symbolic. [Today], the world is marveling at Israel and all the innovation, creativity, ingenuity.”
When the queen of Sheba observed all of Shlomo‘s wisdom, and the palace he had built, the fare of his table, the seating of his courtiers, the service and attire of his attendants, and his wine service, and the burnt offerings that he offered at the House of Hashem, she was left breathless. 1 Kings 10:4-5
Asked about the connection between the wellsprings of creativity emerging from Israel today and End Times, Redd noted, “This is the time where the aggregating of people is going to start, and it’s starting here in the Nation [of Israel].
“Overall, I’m sure this is the End Times. I’m not sure where we are on the clock, but people are being awakened that what they want to do in the world is coming from Israel.”
Redd was personally motivated to connect more deeply to Israel when he witnessed the celebration of Israel’s 70th anniversary in 2018. He recognizes that he’s not the only Christian impacted by Israel.
“For me, there’s been an incredible increase of drawing [Christians] to the people and to the Land. I see an increase in support from Christians as we become more aware of our [Jewish] roots. For many centuries, Christians have been separated from the knowledge of our roots. The sooner we begin to understand that as Christians, the better off we’ll be.”
A Woman’s Perspective
Peggy Kennedy, co-founder of Christian Women For Israel and the Buy Invest Support Israel programs of The Esther 414 Foundation agrees with Redd that, “The motivation to invest in Israel for Christian investors comes from the Word of God.”
She quoted the same verse (Isaiah 49:6) Redd mentioned and added, “Christians want to help Israel serve in its role as a light to the Nations. One way to do this is through investment in Israeli companies that are making lifesaving and life changing technology, goods, medical treatments, etc.
“For both the Christian and the Jew, investing in Israel is investing with your mind and with your heart. With your mind, from a purely capital investment, it is going to be beneficial to the investor and to the State of Israel. Investing with our hearts is important because we believe Israel to be a light unto the nations, and the goodness that flows from her innovation is a beacon of that light.”
Kennedy also noted that, “Our job as Christians is to be good stewards of the resources God gives us. Investment in Israel is a good way to do just that. Israel consistently outperforms. Israel is a modern-day miracle. Investment in Israel is growing, as evidenced by the number of companies that have an R&D presence in Israel. Everyday there are more and more opportunities to invest in Israel.”
Kennedy’s assertion is supported by the milestones shared by the OurCrowd Global Investor Summit. At its inception in 2013, OurCrowd reported $24 million in committed funding for investment in Israel. This year, that number has swollen to $1.4 billion. Similarly, in 2013, there were 2,642 investors registered with OurCrowd. This year, that number has multiplied to over 42,000.
Not all of those dollars come from Christians, and not all the new investors are Christians, but this amount of growth is evidence of a strong and growing international trend of investing in Israel, in which Christians play an active role.
“We have faith in the presence and future of Israel both politically, socially, economically, as well in the international arena. As a result, there is a flourishing of innovation and economic advancement in Israel,” Kennedy explained.
Another motivation for Kennedy and the Christian investors she advises is to combat the BDS movement. “The best way to combat BDS is through investment in Israel, which is why we are launching Buy Invest Support Israel. It’s time to defeat the hate that is propagating in the world by the lies of the BDS movement.
“We also want to provide education to over 50,000 Christian Women For Israel on how to align their investments with their values, strengthen and protect the state of Israel and help be a light unto the nations.”
Although she’s careful to note that she isn’t a financial advisor, she does have a few thoughts about how Christians can begin investing in Israel. “The newly launched Jerusalem Portfolio is a good way to start investing in Israel, as are Israel Bonds. For accredited investors, Israel Investment Fund Group provides great opportunities to shine Israel’s light unto the nations, to invest with your mind and your heart.”
OurCrowd and Its Christian Investors
Jon Medved is the founder and CEO of the OurCrowd equity crowdfunding platform. He told Breaking Israel News, “OurCrowd welcomes Christian investment with open arms. I have personally spoken at several CUFI (Christians United For Israel) conferences and we believe that investors from all over the world should take part in the building of the Startup Nation and, in particular, our Christian friends and allies are more than welcome to join us.”
Betty Adams works with OurCrowd. Among her responsibilities is, according to Medved, to act, “as an investor relations representative with coverage of the Christian community.”
Medved shares Redd and Kennedy’s optimism about Christian investment in Israeli technology. “I think there is a growing realization, among investors of all kinds, that Israel represents tremendous opportunity for investing in technology and for groundbreaking companies, and Christians want to be in on the ground floor.
“Moreover, Christians realize that Israel is to be a source of blessing and to be a manifestation of promises made long time ago, that the world will be healed. Israeli companies are tackling global crises and problems such as hunger, climate change, health and cyber security. These challenges are being met by Israeli companies who are creating huge social impact and I think this message resonates with Christians,” Medved elaborated.