TEL AVIV, Israel – Governor Asa Hutchinson is the first Governor to visit Israel since the beginning of the pandemic.
He was a keynote speaker at a conference on Smart Mobility which the Governor was able to tout Walmart’s new driverless fleet which came from actions of the 2019 Regular Session.
He said he was glad to be able to get back out promote the state.
“I’ve not been able to market Arkansas the way I would’ve liked. This is the first opportunity since we’re having international travel to really sell the state of Arkansas,” Governor Hutchinson said.
Arkansas already has some deep inroads with Israel.
Lockheed-Martin was instrumental in developing Israel’s missile defense system “The Iron Dome”.
The Governor had the chance to promote that collaboration to new leadership in the country.
Here locally, Rabbi Pinchus Ciment believes this visit will strengthen the bond between the state and Israel.
“Arkansas might not be known as a top-tier state in terms of recognition but having the governor meet the Prime Minister of Israel when he goes shows a very sense of importance to the role Arkansas plays in the relationship between America and Israel,” Rabbi Ciment said.
Rabbi Ciment said Arkansas is not given enough credit for being a leader in certain aspects of the world. He mentioned cyber security and an up-and-coming workforce and visits to other countries like this allow for Arkansas to display it on an international stage.
“It allows us to show ourselves as not just someone who’s at the bottom of the list in many things, it’s not so true. We’ve had many opportunities and with this relationship going on now and those opportunities are showing themselves and they are developing great ties,” Rabbi Ciment explained.
He believes there are similarities between Arkansas and Israel in the thirst for wanting to be leaders in the new cyber world and using the natural resources in each place to do so.
He also thinks the younger generations in both places are being set up to thrive in those industries.
“Using those natural resources, which like Israel has been blessed with many natural resources, using the brains behind it and sharing the information, we can show a lot coming from our state,” Rabbi Ciment said.
Governor Hutchinson hopes trips like this will bear fruit for the state in both the immediate future but also long-term.
“It’s critical to engage other nations, global businesses and showcase what Arkansas represents, our values. But also our global presence in terms of our companies,” the Governor explained.