Arizona governor holds trade, water, security talks in Israel

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is in Israel for five days of talks with political and business leaders from the Middle Eastern country.

Ducey arrived in Israel on Sunday morning accompanied by the heads of the Arizona Department of Commerce and the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Ducey spokesman CJ Karamargin said the Republican governor’s meeting will focus on trade, water and border security. Ducey has worked during his seven years in office to promote economic ties with Israel, which has a similarly dry climate, water and security issues.

He will meet Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and President Isaac Herzog as well as former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He will also meet with U.S. Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nieders.

Ducey will visit the Israel 9/11 Memorial in Jerusalem on Memorial Day, meet the city’s mayor and visit some historic sites.

This is Ducey’s third visit to Israel since taking office in 2015. In his first year as governor, he led an eight-day official trade mission and was the first governor to travel to Israel. He attended an international conference on water technology and met with business and government officials.

In 2019, he went on business trips and family vacations with his family. He visited the Commerce Department’s trade office, which opened in Tel Aviv earlier that year.

Ducey touted Israel’s desalination technology as a way to increase Arizona’s water supply, which is threatened by prolonged drought and climate change. He wants the state legislature to approve a $1 billion investment to increase the state’s water supply this year. Key to the plan is a desalination plant that could cost more than five times that amount.

Ducey did not provide any details of plans for the plant, which could be located in Mexico and draw water from the Gulf of California.

Commerce President and CEO Sandra Watson and Danny Seiden, former Ducey employees who now lead the statewide Chamber of Commerce business group, will travel with the governor.

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