Raimondo leading trade mission to Israel next week

Politics

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo will lead a trade mission to Israel next week in a bid to foster further economic ties between the state and the country, her office announced Thursday.

“The delegation will be meeting with policy experts, elected officials, and entrepreneurs to strengthen their states’ relationships with the State of Israel and build new partnerships with its business community,” according to a news release.

Raimondo’s office said she will be joined on the trip by First Gentleman Andy Moffit, Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor and other unnamed Democratic governors.

“The other governors will make their own announcements,” said David Turner, spokesperson for the Democratic Governors Association.

Raimondo is slated to be away from Sunday through Friday.

The agenda for the trip includes a tour of the IBM Alpha Zone Accelerator, which is a partner in the new Rhode Island Innovation Hub that was selected last year to receive some of the $20 million in bond money for innovation campuses that Rhode Island voters approved in 2018.

The governor’s aides also said she will meet with officials from the high-tech organization Tsofen, the Middle East Entrepreneurs of Tomorrow and the Hand in Hand School in Jerusalem. Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin are also slated to welcome the delegation.

Travel expenses for the governor and her husband are being paid for by the Center for Innovative Policy, a nonprofit that has ties to the DGA, which Raimondo chairs. The nonprofit is not required to disclose donor information.

“CIP raises funds from a range of donors, including individuals, businesses, and other nonprofits,” Turner said.

Pryor’s travel expenses are being funded by the Rhode Island Commodores, a group made up of business and political leaders.

There have been increasing efforts in recent years to develop more economic links between Rhode Island and Israel, much of it spearheaded by the Rhode Island-Israel Collaborative, an organization that describes itself as a Chamber of Commerce for the relationship.

“Our purpose is to connect Israels and Rhode Island in business, academia and research,” Rhode Island-Israel Collaborative President and CEO Avi Nevel said on this week’s Executive Suite. “Anything that’s academia, research and business, if we can be the matchmaker, help them to work together, we’re there.”

Ted Nesi (tnesi@wpri.com) is WPRI 12’s politics and business editor and a Target 12 investigative reporter. He is a weekly panelist on Newsmakers and hosts Executive Suite. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook

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