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Israel: Transforming Desert into Garden and Making Business Bloom

Sari Kingsley at the Annual Meeting of the Jerusalem Chamber of Real Estate.

Sari Kingsley at the Annual Meeting of the Jerusalem Chamber of Real Estate.

Last month, I had the privilege, along with President’s Liaison Sari Kingsley and Regional Coordinator For Western Europe Barbara Schmerzler, of leading the first-ever National Association of REALTORS® official delegation to Israel, a burgeoning real estate market enhanced by the country’s booming technology sector and diverse immigrant populations.

Five years ago, NAR signed a bilateral agreement with the Jerusalem Chamber of Real Estate, Israel’s largest real estate association. The Jerusalem Chamber manages the country’s only MLS and is currently working with industry leaders nationwide to duplicate its strong code of ethics and build an effective government affairs program, helping to raise the profile of the real estate professional among Israeli consumers.

“Our recent visit to Israel proved to be successful for NAR,” Kingsley declared. “We accomplished our mission by cementing already existing relationships and making them even stronger.”

Added Schmerzler, “I found the real estate professionals in both cities we visited and spoke [Jerusalem and Tel Aviv] very willing to listen to what NAR does, how it communicates our mission of being the ‘Voice for Real Estate’ in our country and why REALTORS are held in high regard by the home buyers and sellers of the U.S.,”

Late last year, Israel burst into the top 20 countries searching for U.S. properties on Realtor.com/international and sent a record delegation of nearly 30 to the REALTORS® Conference and Expo in New Orleans, indicating that cross-border business and referral opportunities from Israel abound for American real estate professionals. This notion was supported by the strong contingent of Israeli-American attendees among the roughly 450 brokers and allied professionals to which we spoke during the Jerusalem Chamber’s Annual Meeting and the second annual meeting of the new Israeli Chamber of Real Estate Brokers in Tel Aviv.

Thanks to our partners at the Jerusalem Chamber of Real Estate, Israel is already home to an active and growing base of International REALTOR® Members. Among several positive outcomes of our visit was a commitment from the Chamber that it will spend the coming months actively promoting the REALTOR® brand and encouraging its members—already adherents to its NAR-approved code of ethics—to become active participants in the partnership between Israeli and U.S. real estate professionals.

As Barbara Schmerzler observed, “[there was a striking] energy evident in the air…This is a country which turned the desert into a garden.”

If you are interested in learning more about how you can develop business by collaborating with our partners and members in Israel or any of the other 60-plus countries in which NAR maintains bilateral agreements, please contact me at zbenjamin@realtors.org.

Networking at the Jerusalem Chamber of Real Estate Annual Meeting.

Networking at the Jerusalem Chamber of Real Estate Annual Meeting.

From left to right: Jerusalem Chamber Education and International Chairman Assaf Epstein; NAR President's Liaison to Israel Sari Kingsley; NAR manager of international market development Zachary Benjamin; Jerusalem Chamber President Isaac Levy; NAR Regional Coordinator for Western Europe Barbara Schmerzler; Israeli Chamber of Real Estate Brokers President Yohanan As; Jerusalem Chamber of Real Estate co-founder Bennie Loval

From left to right: Jerusalem Chamber Education and International Chairman Assaf Epstein; NAR President’s Liaison to Israel Sari Kingsley; NAR manager of international market development Zachary Benjamin; Jerusalem Chamber President Isaac Levy; NAR Regional Coordinator for Western Europe Barbara Schmerzler; Israeli Chamber of Real Estate Brokers President Yohanan As; Jerusalem Chamber of Real Estate co-founder Bennie Loval.

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