Florida governor’s trip to Israel solidifies our future trade ties
The Miami Herald
Op-Ed: Lior Haiat, Consul General of Israel to Florida
June 4, 2019

Last week Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis led the biggest ever trade delegation from the state of Florida to the state of Israel. In doing so, he fulfilled a campaign promise to make Israel his first international visit as governor, and to hold a Florida Cabinet meeting at the recently inaugurated U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.

The 110-person mission was composed by members of the Governor’s office, the full Cabinet, bipartisan state legislators, university representatives, business and state agencies, and community leaders. They had a full schedule where over 20 memorandums of understanding were signed between local universities, research centers and government agencies with their Israeli counterparts.

It was the first time a governor from any U.S. state, visited both the University of Ariel and the region of Gush Etzion, sending a clear message against the Boycott Divest Sanctions (BDS) movement, which is the new face of anti-Semitism.

While in Israel, the governor visited Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center. He also signed an anti-Semitism bill passed unanimously by the Florida House and Senate.

Gov. DeSantis participated in round tables and discussions with Israeli experts addressing a broad range of issues from water and agricultural technology, medical and environmental research, tourism, cultural and educational exchanges, to school safety and security. DeSantis met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and two Israeli Cabinet members, the Minister of Science, Ofir Akunis, and the Minister of Strategic Affairs, Gilad Erdan, to discuss ways to strengthen relations between Florida and Israel in a variety of areas including space technologies, cybersecurity, emergency management, increasing trade and investments.

After having accompanied several high level delegations to Israel as the Consul General of Israel to Florida, I can say without a doubt, this was the most impactful mission I have participated in, in terms of creating business and research opportunities between the State of Florida and the State of Israel.

What strikes me the most, is the unanimous and enthusiastic drive from both states to explore all areas of cooperation.

We Israelis and Floridians are very much alike, we share the same values of freedom and democracy. Based on our similarities we can reach for a better future for all.

In any other case I would have said that as far as Florida-Israel ties, the sky is the limit, but looking at the impressive joint projects created between Florida and Israel, like the company STEMRAD, which will be on board the next NASA mission to space, I believe it is best to say, there are no limits to the potential, cooperation and friendship between to two states, not even space.



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