Israeli government minister tours factory in Miss.
The Associated Press
October 6, 2010 12:11:00 PM
Israel''s infrastructure minister said he was pleased with the quality of workers he met Tuesday while touring an Israeli-owned factory in Mississippi.
Uzi Landau visited Stark Aerospace, which manufactures military drones in Columbus. The company employs about 115 people and is a subsidiary of Israeli Aerospace Industries.
"When I met the chief executive of Stark Aerospace and when he spoke with such pride, the smile -- when you could look around and see how proud the workers themselves are of what they do, you really don''t have to ask questions," Landau said. "You just have to get the impression."
The cabinet minister spoke at a news conference in Jackson after meeting with Gov. Haley Barbour and Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann.
Landau said the drones made at Stark "are quite a substantial help of the battle that you carry in the name of the entire free world against international terror in Afghanistan."
Landau''s praise of the workers at Stark gave Barbour an opening to give his usual sales pitch for the state.
"They''re great employees, they give a day''s work for a day''s pay and more," Barbour said in a conference room with tiny flags of Israel, Mississippi and the United States displayed together.
Mississippi Development Authority director Gray Swoope said the state is trying to expand its high-tech business connections with Israel.
"You think about a small country that''s a little over two times the size of the state of Mississippi and the entrepreneurial power, the economic power they have -- for us to have a relationship as a state goes a long way," Swoope said.
MDA officials participated in the Israeli Space Show in January and the agency said it developed a relationship with the U.S. Foreign Commercial Service in Tel Aviv.
Opher Aviran, Israel''s consul general to the southeastern United States, traveled to Mississippi in early September to meet with Hosemann. Aviran accompanied Landau on Tuesday and said the minister is also planning to tour two factories in California and one in Pennsylvania. Officials said Landau''s trip to the United States is funded by the Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation, which encourages business connections between the two countries.
Landau sought a play on words as he asked Barbour to visit Israel, calling the request "the State of the Bible''s invitation to the governor of Mississippi, of the Bible Belt here."
Israel Forging Partnerships in Mississippi
10-19-2010 Israel’s Minister of National Infrastructure, Dr. Uzi Landau, stopped in Mississippi as part of a visit to the Southeast in early October. His visit was to strengthen political and economic ties between Israel and the region. An initiative of the Jewish National Fund, Landau’s trip centered on a speaking engagement at the organization’s National Conference, but the Consulate General of Israel seized the opportunity to connect Landau to regional business, academic and religious leaders.
Consul General of Israel, Opher Aviran, saw Landau’s visit as a prime opportunity to advance the Consulate’s goals in the region. “Minister Landau is a former Minister of Homeland Security and holds a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His extensive security and technical background make him the perfect person to further Israel’s political, economic and security dialogue in the region,” said Aviran.
Landau’s trip served multiple purposes: to disseminate a clear message about the Iranian threat to the free world, share the country’s leading green technology in the area of renewable resources and see first-hand examples of the fruitful partnership between Israel and the Southeastern States.
Landau met with lawmakers and business leaders in Mississippi in an effort to bolster relations between Israel and the Magnolia State. Accompanied by Aviran and Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, Landau toured the new facilities of Stark Aerospace, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries, in Columbus. Stark Aerospace produces drones used by the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Landau proceeded to Jackson to meet with Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour. Landau cited Stark Aerospace’s success as a prime example of healthy business partnership between the two governments. “Stark Aerospace is proof of our commitment to having future business relations with the people of Mississippi,” said Landau.
Barbour boldly espoused his support for Israel during the meeting as well. “Israel is the friend of the United States in the other side of the world,” said Barbour. The governor spoke fondly of his previous visits to Israel and told the delegation he will be pleased to visit again.
Landau also traveled throughout Georgia, speaking about Iran’s goal of becoming a world power. “(To Iran) Israel is just the ‘Small Satan.’ The United States is the ‘Big Satan.’ The Iranian threat to Israel and the U.S. is real and must be stopped at all costs for our world to survive,” Landau told listeners at The Temple in Atlanta.
Georgia Tech students of the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs were treated to a similar lecture by the Minister. While on campus, the Minister met with Georgia Tech’s new provost, Dr. Rafael Bras, and lunched with faculty.
Landau touted energy independence as a specific means to counter terrorism. He told business leaders at a breakfast organized by the American Israeli Chamber of Commerce in Atlanta the “name of the game is oil replacements.” Oil sale proceeds are widely known to finance terrorist organizations in Saudi Arabia, Libya and Iran.
In a lecture largely focused on renewable resources, Minister Landau spoke at the AICC event about Israel’s challenge and success in maintaining its water supply and discovering and implementing greener energy. Landau conveyed the importance of the water issue to the Israeli government calling it a “top priority being addressed in the Cabinet” and touted Israel’s desalination plants and sewage recycle facilities as examples for the Southeastern U.S. and the rest of the world in water retention.
Israel is the world leader is sewage recycling with over ninety percent of its sewage being purified at recycling plants. Seventy five percent of the recycled water is used in agriculture. Spain follows Israel at a rate of 19 percent recycling.
As for cleaner energy, Israel is turning toward other sources such as natural gas, wind and solar energy to fuel its society. “We wish to reduce emissions and we want to produce energy with the least pollution to the environment,” said Landau. Israel is actively exploring potential natural gas fields and investing in a wind energy project in the Golan Heights.
AICC President Tom Glaser said Landau’s information “resonated with local challenges.
“We plan to forge partnerships in the Cleantech sector that will benefit both (the Southeast and Israel),” said Glaser.
Landau ended his talk with a reminder that clean energy is not just good for the environment. “These (green) energy projects will deal a major blow to terror without firing one bullet and it’s better for the environment.”
Jackson, MS - GOP Jewish Group Sponsors Barbour Trip to Israel
2-1-2011 Jackson, MS - The Republican Jewish Coalition is sending Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a potential 2012 presidential candidate, to Israel for five days.
The Washington-based group said Tuesday it is sponsoring the Feb. 5-9 trip for Barbour and his wife, Marsha.
Barbour will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other leaders.
The coalition says on its website it also paid for Barbour to travel to Israel in 1994, when he was chairman of the Republican National Committee.
Barbour met in Mississippi this past October with Uzi Landau, Israel's minister of infrastructure.
Barbour's office did not immediately comment on the trip. Barbour says he'll decide by this spring whether to run for president.