LGs overseas

Republican LGs to arrive in Israel on Friday for weeklong trade mission

The delegation of six lieutenant governors is sponsored by the State Government Leadership Foundation, a GOP advocacy group

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Florida Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez speaks at a news conference on updates from the collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building on July 12, 2021, in Surfside, Fla.

A delegation of six Republican lieutenant governors will arrive in Israel on Friday for a weeklong trade mission sponsored by the State Government Leadership Foundation (SGLF), a GOP advocacy group.

The trip, which concludes on March 25, “will provide the lieutenant governors with a greater understanding of the American-Israeli alliance and how their individual states can continue to benefit from the economic partnership the two nations share,” said Andrew Romeo, a spokesperson for the SGLF.

Participants will include Jeanette Nuñez of Florida, Suzanne Crouch of Indiana, Mike Foley of Nebraska, Pamela Evette of South Carolina, Deidre Henderson of Utah and mission chair Adam Gregg of Iowa.

Jon Husted, the lieutenant governor of Ohio, had originally been scheduled to join the delegation but is no longer going because of a scheduling conflict, according to Romeo.

“Israel is a global leader in innovation, a strategic ally for America and a critical trade partner for Florida,” Nuñez said in a statement to Jewish Insider. The trade mission “will allow us to deepen our understanding between America and Israel as we continue to strengthen our long-standing partnership.”

The delegation is scheduled to meet with a number of high-ranking Israeli government officials, including Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll and Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov, according to a tentative itinerary shared with JI.

The lieutenant governors will also hold discussions with U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides, former U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer, among other current and former Israeli and American diplomats.

Some meetings, including with Bennett, “are subject to change,” according to Romeo.

“Israel not only shares our values, but they are also a strong economic partner,” Gregg said in a statement to JI. “I’m confident this trip will be a great opportunity to expand our working relationship with Israel and will create long-term benefits for Iowa farmers and businesses.”

During the trip, participants will also visit agricultural areas and defense facilities such as an Iron Dome battery site.

The SGLF — the policy arm of the Republican State Leadership Committee, a national organization that supports down-ballot GOP candidates in state elections — led a similar trade mission to Israel in 2016 with lieutenant governors from Wisconsin and Nevada, among other states.

The group announced plans for a second trip last August, framing the delegation as a demonstration of solidarity following the conflict between Israel and Hamas as well as an announcement from Ben & Jerry’s that the ice cream company would stop selling its products in what it referred to as “Occupied Palestinian Territory.”

A number of Democratic and Republican congressional delegations made trips to Israel in February, and former Vice President Mike Pence visited last week.

The lieutenant governors’ trip to Israel, Crouch said in a statement to JI, “will allow us to make clear that we will continue to stand with them as a political and economic ally.”