Pence plans trade trip to Israel during holidays

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence plans to travel to Israel this month on a nine-day cultural and economic development trip, the state announced Tuesday.

The dates of the trip will be disclosed “at a later date,” the state said.

Three days of the trip will be dedicated to a “jobs mission to meet with government and business leaders to expand economic ties between Indiana and Israel,” the state said.

Pence will be joined by family members, Indiana Secretary of Commerce Victor Smith and members of the Indiana Economic Development Corp.

Among the stops will be Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The Pence family plans to celebrate Christmas in Jerusalem and tour several Christian holy sites.

The governor’s office said no tax dollars will be used to pay for the trip. Costs for the state delegation will be covered through private donations to the IEDC. Costs for the governor and first lady Karen Pence will be covered by pro-Israel group Christians United for Israel. The governor and his wife will cover costs for their three children.

Pence will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, other government officials, leaders of Israeli companies and potential investors. The trip will include visits to executives at Israel Aerospace Industries and automotive electronics manufacturer Taditel, which has operations in Anderson. Pence also will give remarks at an event hosted by the Israel-America Chamber of Commerce.

 “Israel is a global entrepreneurial hotspot,” Smith said in a written statement. “Israelis are launching new businesses at a tremendous rate, and that’s triggering economic and job growth that’s primed to expand to the United States.”

More than 70 companies with close ties to Indiana do business in Israel, the state said, including Magnavox, Alcoa, Allied-Singal, Biomet and ITT Aerospace. State exports to Israel totaled more than $57.2 million in 2013.

The trip will mark Pence’s fifth international trade mission as governor. He led his first trade mission to Japan in September 2013, followed by trade missions to Germany, the United Kingdom and Canada this year.

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