Visiting Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey advanced a major desalination project for his state in meetings with top Israeli officials on Tuesday, which he believes will secure water for Arizona for the next 100 years.
In Israel on a five-day trade mission on his third visit as governor, Ducey met with President Isaac Herzog, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu. They discussed how Arizona can learn from Israel and cooperate with the Jewish state in making the Arizona desert bloom.
He toured an extensive desalination plant, and wrote on social media that such innovations are part of the solution to secure his state’s water future. He said desalination had made Israel the world’s water superpower and a role model for Arizona.
“My time is limited, but we have been working on this for a long time,” said Ducey, who cannot run again for reelection due to term limits. “Arizona is one of the fastest-growing states. People are flocking to the desert, where we have excellent water management, but we need a new great project to leave the state better than it was when we started.”
Ducey visited the holy sites in Jerusalem on Jerusalem Day, and made a historic visit to the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron.
$677 million in annual trade between Arizona and Israel
In meetings with Israeli officials, they discussed advancing the $677 million in annual trade between Arizona and Israel in hi-tech and cybersecurity. Ducey brought along a delegation from the Arizona Commerce Authority.
"Israel is among America's strongest allies, certainly its strongest in the Mideast...There is much to do to help each other and learn from each other."Arizona governor Doug Ducey
Israel's border barriers an inspiration for Arizona
One major subject for Ducey on the trip was border security. He toured Israel’s security fences and learned about their surveillance and technology that he wants to apply to Arizona’s southern border with Mexico. He said that during past visits he talked with security experts about what is being done in Israel that can apply to the US.
“We do have a wall, a physical barrier, but there are gaps that have invited human smuggling, drug cartels and crime that we would like to eliminate,” said Ducey, who is head of the Republican Governors Association. “The wall that began under the Trump administration was stopped during the Biden administration and a price is being paid for it.”
Arizona has a full-time trade and investment office in Israel led by Tel Aviv-based American Israeli entrepreneur David Yaari. The office helps advance Arizona’s growing technological scene and includes many Israeli companies.
The governor led a US Memorial Day Ceremony at the Jewish National Fund’s 9/11 Living Memorial Plaza outside Jerusalem, the only monument outside of America that bears all the names of the victims of the World Trade Center attack. He was awarded the “Defender of Israel” recognition by the Menachem Begin Heritage Center.
Ducey talks Ben & Jerry's BDS mistake
Before entering politics, Ducey founded Cold Stone Creamery, which now has 1,440 ice cream stores in 31 countries, but none in Israel. Under his leadership, Arizona was the first state to sanction Ben & Jerry’s for its decision not to renew its contract with its Israeli distributor if it continued selling over the pre-1967 border.
“Ben & Jerry’s made a tragic mistake in taking part on the BDS movement,” Ducey said. “They should get out of the political business and sell ice cream to people who live here and visit Israel. If they do that, I’m sure you’ll continue to have a thriving factory.”