On Monday, Gov. Rick Scott showcased Florida’s ties to Israel as he continued his tour of that nation.
Last week, Scott announced he would accompany a group of almost 70 business and education leaders from Florida to Israel. Scott also announced that he supported moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, something which the Trump administration is considering. Florida’s relationship with Israel leads to $286 million in trade per year.
Scott showcased the Florida Israel Business Accelerator (FIBA), a partnership between companies in the Sunshine State and Israel which helped lure Israeli company StemRad to base their U.S. operations in Tampa.
With Scott’s support, the state government has sent $1.4 million to FIBA. The governor said on Monday that supporting FIBA has paid off for the Sunshine State.
“Innovative partnerships like the Florida Israel Business Accelerator are helping bring global businesses to Florida, which ultimately leads to more job opportunities for Florida families,” Scott said. “I was proud to recognize the first class of participants today and look forward to seeing StemRad’s success in the Tampa Bay area.”
Rachel Feinman, the executive director of FIBA, also weighed in.
“We are working with our Israeli partners to market Tampa Bay as a global landing pad for business so we can welcome more high-tech, high-paying jobs for Tampa Bay families," Feinman said. “I am proud of the success of our first class of graduates and look forward to seeing their continued growth and commitment in Florida.”
Scott also honored El Al Airlines, Israel’s national airline, with a Governor’s Business Ambassador Award. El Al is once again providing nonstop flights between Tel Aviv and Miami.
“I was proud to recognize El Al with a Governor’s Business Ambassador Award today and share Florida’s success story with business and economic development leaders in Israel,” Scott said. “El Al’s decision to invest in our state is proof that our work to turn around Florida’s economy over the past seven years has sent a clear message across the globe – the state of Florida is the best place for businesses to succeed. We will continue to work with international partners and job creators to help bring more important investments and opportunities to our state.”
El Al President David Maimon said his company will continue to do business in the Sunshine State.
“Florida has proven to be an excellent partner and direct flight location,” Maimon said. “We look forward to continuing to strengthen our partnership with Florida as we ensure El Al remains the leading airline.”
“We greatly appreciate El Al Israel Airlines choosing to invest in Florida,” said Miami International Airport Director Emilio González. “We have been working to bring El Al back to Miami-Dade County for many years, and this accomplishment would not have been possible without Florida’s strong economy and appeal as a world-class destination for travel and business. We look forward to seeing continued growth and success with El Al at Miami International Airport.”
Turning to education, Scott applauded the relationship between Florida State University and Tel Aviv University as those two schools continue to support a student and faculty exchange program as well as research and academic projects.
“Florida’s students are the leaders of tomorrow and these important partnerships are another way that we can provide them with every opportunity to learn and succeed,” Scott said. “I applaud Florida State University and Tel Aviv University for working together to support our students by providing more opportunities for research and collaboration.”
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