As world leaders wrangle with the issue of peace in the Middle East, a San Diego investor and philanthropist is actively pursuing ways to bring the Arab and Jewish communities together in a ground-breaking new venture.

Jacobs Investments LLC founder Gary Jacobs’ business incubator NGTᶾ, or Next Generation Technology, reaches out to Arab scientists with the goal of bringing new medical and life science products to market for both social and financial gains.

Gary Jacobs

“There is an untapped market of scientific innovation in the Arab-Israeli sector that can benefit Israel and the world. The idea is that when people work together and prosper together, then peaceful relations are also possible,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs, who is set to speak at the World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists next Wednesday in Washington, said that the organization’s event titled “Celebrating Philanthropy in Emerging Economies” is an exciting opportunity to engage the Arab community in a way that will enable them to more fully participate in a shared economy and society in Israel.

Based in the predominantly Arab city of Nazareth and with the committed support of the Israeli government and a group of international investors, NGTᶾ supports its Arab-Israeli entrepreneurs by offering research funding, product development and managerial training. It also provides lab and office space and accounting services.

Jacobs said that the more than two dozen portfolio companies that have enjoyed NGTᶾ’s assistance are currently making exciting gains in such fields as cancer research, infant nutrition, pioneering surgical procedures and more.

“We believe that when we help grow these fledgling efforts within the Arab-Israeli scientific community, we not only reap the rewards of growing a powerful working relationship within the Arab and Jewish cultures, but we advance research in the medical and life science fields to the benefit of the world,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs is no stranger to innovation and collaboration.

The San Diego resident and owner of the San Diego Padres’ affiliate Lake Elsinore Storm baseball club serves as chairman of DermTech International and Nutrinia Ltd., and sits on the boards of GEO2 Technologies Inc., Fallbrook Technologies and BIO2 Technologies Inc., among others.

On the non-profit side, he is chairman of the board of trustees for High Tech High, a public charter high school, vice-chair of the Jewish Community Center Association Continental Board, and a board member of the Lawrence Family JCC, UCSD Foundation and UCSD Athletics.

Additionally, Jacobs and his wife created and fund JITLI, the Gary and Jerri-Ann Jacobs International Teen Leadership Institute which promotes Arab/Jewish understanding.

Jacobs said he plans to spend much of this year traveling the world to reach out to prospective NGTᶾ investors looking to make a positive and lasting impact with their financial contributions.

“We see the emerging economy for the Arab citizens of Israel and the potential for this venture – both socially and financially — as promising for the entire world,” Jacobs said.

— From a press release by Kerri S. Mabee at NGTᶾ

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.