Israel is an “incredible beacon of stability” amid the current chaos on its borders, Delaware Gov. Jack A. Markell said on Monday.
In an interview with The Jerusalem Post, Markell said during his visit to the country this week, he aims to explore ways for Israel and Delaware to strengthen ties and forge new relationships with Israeli business leaders looking to expand their operations to the US.
“We’re really trying to focus in on opportunities to create more partnerships between Delaware and the evolving and emerging hi-tech economy of Israel,” he said. “In the midst of a volatile region, Israel has been this incredible beacon of stability, which is truly remarkable and impressive.”
Markell, a 52-year-old Democrat, has been governor since 2009 and is the only Jewish governor in the United States.
He marveled at the rapidly growing hi-tech industry in Israel, in which he said investors are willing to put “their own shareholder money at risk, [while] recognizing the volatility of the region.”
He argued that Delaware is the perfect place to nurture Israeli innovation, citing the state’s “solid foundation of corporate governance,” its proximity to business hubs in New York, Washington and Philadelphia and its dedicated workforce as reasons for the country and his state to be natural business allies.
“On the business level, we brought a bunch of business people who are looking either to distribute their products or for research opportunities with Israeli companies and Delaware companies,” he said.
While Markell’s eight-member delegation declined to discuss details of their meetings here, the governor said he had learned much from visiting venture capitalists and incubators across the country.
In addition to Israel, Markell has visited South Korea, Japan and India as targets for Delaware investment and trade opportunities abroad. He stressed his priority for keeping Delaware on “the radar screens” in hubs of innovation worldwide.
“I’m here in large part because I really do believe that the prosperity of my state is in large part dependent on how well we’re integrated with the global economy,” he said. “Whether it’s chemistry, whether it’s biochemistry or biology, or cyber security, there are so many places for collaboration.”
Markell’s delegation, which is being hosted by Sherwin B. Pomerantz, the director of the Delaware Economic Development Israel Office, had meetings scheduled in its July 7-11 visit with President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, US Ambassador Daniel Shapiro and Tel Aviv Stock Exchange President Esther Levanon. The group also held talks at the Economy and Trade Ministry, the Israel National Economic Council, DuPont Israel (Delaware’s largest commercial presence in Israel), Cisco and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries.
Markell, who is being accompanied by his brotherת, David L. Markell, a professor of law, said his visit was not limited to business.
He spent time in Israel after the 1967 and 1973 wars, on his honeymoon with his wife, Carla, in 1990 and most recently in 2006.
“As an American, to have literally a couple dozen relatives here and be able to maintain a relationship over a period of over four decades is a great privilege,” he said.
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