A trade delegation of elected officials and business leaders from Arizona are in Tel Aviv this week to celebrate the opening of Arizona’s first trade and investment office in Israel.
The group includes members of the Arizona Legislature and staff members from the Arizona Commerce Authority.
“It’s an honor to celebrate the historic opening of the Arizona Trade Office in Israel with those who worked together with me to make this a reality,” said Arizona State Rep. Tony Rivero, R-Peoria, in a statement from the Arizona House of Representatives. “By working together with Israel, we will strengthen trade and spur economic development.”
Rivero is the chairman of the House State and International Affairs Committee. He said he was glad to be joined by Israel officials and members of the Arizona Legislature, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and the Arizona Commerce Authority to celebrate the “tremendous achievement.”
Rep. Walt Blackman, a Republican from Snowflake, called the opening an historic event that will “open the door to countless opportunities of business collaborations between Arizona and Israel.” He said the two governments must take every opportunity to create mutual economic growth that spurs both business and tourism to flourish in their respective regions.
Democratic Rep. Alma Hernandez of Tucson said she was “incredibly proud” to be attending the bipartisan trip to Israel.
“Israel is a country that I feel a strong connection to, and a country I am proud to stand with as one of the Jewish elected,” Hernandez said. “This is a unique opportunity for our delegation of Arizona lawmakers to have a meaningful trip and learn about issues Israel and the Middle East are facing today.”
Rep. Gerae Peten, D-Goodyear, said the trip provides the delegation an opportunity to explore history, find inspiration and learn more about the “incredible resilience” of the Israeli people.
“I thoroughly look forward to witnessing how the multitudes honor their diversity of culture, ethics, and religion on a daily basis with dignity and strength to create better futures,” she said. “We have so much to learn on this trip to Israel, and I feel blessed to be immersed in this phenomenal experience.”
Glenn Hamer, president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber, said the Chamber “applauds” Rivero for his leadership in establishing the new office, which he said will further strengthen the relationship between Arizona and Israel.
“I anticipate increased commercial activity and collaboration between Arizona — the startup state — and Israel — the startup nation — in aerospace and defense, autonomous technology, cybersecurity, water stewardship technology, and much more,” Hamer said. “I am confident that under the direction of the Arizona Commerce Authority, the Tel Aviv Trade and Investment Office will set the standard for state trade offices in Israel.”
Hamer said two-way trade activity between Arizona and Israel today amounts to nearly $500 million, and he expects the new office to make that number rise.
Eitan Weiss, deputy chief of mission of the Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles, also joined the delegation to offer support.
“In the past 10 years we have seen an increase in the mutual economic ties between Israel and Arizona that spill over to many other fields, from academic to research and development, energy, and defense,” Weiss said in the statement. “The opening of the Arizona trade office in Israel will allow many Israeli companies to examine the potential of collaborating with Arizona-based companies and even open an extension in Arizona to serve as their gateway to the U.S. and world markets.
“The consulate invested many efforts to strengthen the ties between Israel and Arizona, and we take pride that our efforts have resulted in such an unequivocal move to bolster the Israel-Arizona ties,” he said.