Gov. Nixon to lead Mo. delegation on trade mission to Israel in March

Israeli flag

Gov. Jay Nixon announced this week that he will lead a delegation of Missouri government leaders on a trade mission to Israel from March 21-28.  The trade mission will focus on strengthening partnerships, increasing exports and recruiting new high-tech foreign investment to Missouri. In 2014, Nixon signed legislation establishing a Missouri trade office in Israel and this week’s trade mission will further strengthen Missouri’s ties with this important economic and strategic ally. 

“Over the past few years, Missouri has become a globally-recognized hub of high-tech jobs and entrepreneurship, and recently led the nation in new business creation,” said Nixon. “This trade mission is an opportunity to strengthen Missouri’s ties with a vital U.S. ally, encourage even more high-tech investment in our state and bolster Missouri’s reputation as a leader in technology and innovation worldwide.” 

In Jerusalem, the Governor and members of the delegation will meet with high-level government officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, former President Shimon Peres, and H.E. Ambassador Alon Ushpiz, Political Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Nixon will also meet with Mobileye Vision Technologies, a global leader in advanced collision avoidance systems, and with leaders of the Jewish Agency for Israel about their humanitarian efforts, which are supported by the Jewish Federation of St. Louis. 

The delegation will then travel to Tel Aviv, where the governor will meet with U.S. Ambassador Daniel Shapiro as well as companies in Israel’s world-renowned tech sector including Amdocs, a software company headquartered in Chesterfield. The governor will also participate in a forum hosted by Israel’s Startup Nation Central about the country’s booming startup ecosystem and hear presentations by a number of Israel-based cyber security companies. 

Nixon and members of the delegation will also visit Israel’s Volcani Institute to meet with agri-technology companies and receive a briefing on BioSTL’s business recruitment program in Israel called GlobalSTL-Israel. Nixon is also scheduled to meet with executives at Boeing, which has maintained offices in Israel since 1969. St. Louis is the headquarters of Boeing Defense, which is Missouri’s largest manufacturer. The Israeli Air Force currently employs all versions of the Missouri-made F-15 Eagle. On Saturday, March 26, the Governor and First Lady will meet with Theophilos III, Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem and attend Easter Services on Sunday at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. 

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Joining Nixon on the delegation to Israel will be First Lady Georganne Nixon; Mike Downing, Director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development; Senate Minority Floor Leader Joseph Keaveny, House Majority Floor Leader Mike Cierpiot; and House Minority Floor Leader Jacob Hummel. 

The delegation will also include Roey Gilad, Consul General of Israel to the Midwest; Andrew Rehfeld, President & CEO, Jewish Federation of St. Louis; Don Hannon, Chief Financial Officer, Jewish Federation of St. Louis; Maharat Rori Picker Neiss, Executive Director, Jewish Community Relations Council; Guy Bouchard, President, Sinclair Research; Andrea Smithee, Assistant to the President, Sinclair Research; and Margaret Onken, Executive Director of the Hawthorn Foundation. 

The delegation will arrive in Israel on  March 21 and return to Missouri on March 28. Travel costs for the governor and the first lady will be covered by the Hawthorn Foundation; state taxpayer funds will not be used.

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