“I am honored to be a member of the delegation for this historic mission,” George Weisz said of the upcoming trip to Israel by Gov. Doug Ducey and a trade delegation of about a dozen Arizonans (see Page 1).
The governor is scheduled to arrive in Tel Aviv on Oct. 8 and to travel around Israel till Oct. 16.
When we first received word that the governor was heading to Israel to speak at WATEC, a conference and exhibition in Tel Aviv devoted to water conservation technology and techniques, it did not seem momentous. After all, we’ve been using Israeli-developed technology like drip irrigation for years here in arid Arizona.
It has become a commonplace to talk about how much Israel and Arizona are alike in their environments – particularly because of the challenges of conserving and managing water – and have many ties between them.
And since these ties have come up in many different ways and contexts in these pages over the years, it’s easy to overlook that no sitting governor – to the best of our knowledge – has taken a trade mission to Israel before.
That does, indeed, make this a historic mission and a historic moment for the state.
That the governor has delivered so quickly, less than a year into his term, on a promise he made to take a mission to Israel, certainly adds to his pro-Israel cache. The announcement of the trip came quick on the heels of Ducey signing a letter – along with 14 other governors – expressing his intention to continue state economic sanctions against Iran to put pressure on Tehran to halt funding of terrorism, much of it directed against Israel.
To Glenn Hamer, head of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry and another member of the trade delegation, that stance adds an extraordinary significance to the timing of the governor’s trip, underlining the defense ties between not only the U.S. and Israel, but also those directly between Arizona and Israel.
Hamer talked about how grateful he was for those ties when he was in Israel during one of the recent conflicts and under the protection of Iron Dome. “Arizona plays a major role [in that anti-missile technology] through the work of Raytheon,” he said. “There’s very tangible, important relationships that already exist.”
Both he and Weisz emphasize that the governor sees the biggest growth potential in capitalizing on a thriving high-technology sector here and attracting Israeli tech companies to set up offices or other operations here and to attract Israeli tech investors to put some money into our technology companies.
Let’s hope that the fruit of these labors results in more and better jobs for Arizonans and that the resulting synergy helps Israel’s economy surge to new levels as well.
That would be a truly historic outcome.