Florida governor begins five-day tour of Israel

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist met for 45 minutes on Tuesday with Israel's foreign minister, kicking off a trip meant to promote business ties with the Jewish state. Crist also plans to visit Israel's Holocaust museum, tour the Old City of Jerusalem, and speak with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Vice Premier Shimon Peres and opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu during the five-day visit, his first international trip as governor. During Tuesday's meeting - which also included several state legislators and business people - Crist and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni discussed security issues in Israel and ways to increase commerce with Florida, particularly in the aerospace and pharmaceutical industries, the governor said. "Israel's such a great trading partner with the state of Florida and America," Crist said. "It's important for us to have the opportunity to express that face to face." Crist said he also told Livni he plans to sign a bill recently passed by the Florida legislature that would bar state pension funds from investing in companies that deal with Sudan or Iran's energy sector.