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Hogan to lead trade mission to Israel

Gov. Larry Hogan will lead a group of business, education and cultural officials on an economic development trip to Israel later this month.

The trip, Hogan’s second foreign mission, will take him to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and is expected to be accompanied by several business-related announcements, according to Barry Bogage, executive director of the Maryland-Israel Development Center.

Included in the delegation are a number of local business and education leaders, including David Trudil, biotechnology director for Baltimore-based Brimrose Corp., which recently won a grant for R&D collaboration with an Israeli company; Steve Shapiro, managing partner at Montgomery County-based eHealthVentures, who is setting up a digital health incubator in Israel; Christy Wyskiel, adviser to the president of Johns Hopkins University on innovation, commercialization, and entrepreneurship; and Abba Poliakoff, chairman of Securities Law Practice Group, Gordon Feinblatt LLC Chairman and president of the Baltimore Jewish Council.

Hogan will also be accompanied by Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn, Commerce Secrretary Michael Gill and Department of Aging Secretary Rona Kramer, who will advise the governor or cultural matters.

This is Hogan’s second foreign trade mission. The first-term Republican governor led a delegation on a 12-day trip to Japan and Korea last summer, a month before he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of lymphoma. During that trip he signed a memorandum of cooperation with a Korean small business organization and another agreement with the Japanese government to study a multibillion-dollar high speed maglev train that could one day link Baltimore and Washington.

Hogan’s trip to Israel will include a number of speaking events, receptions and cultural visits.

The governor is scheduled to speak at the Freeminds conference of about 200 high-tech Israeli entrepreneurs. He’ll also attend a reception at the U.S. Embassy for 150 business people and executives from Israel as well as a speaking engagement on cancer research and Israeli biotech at Hadassah Hospital.

He is expected to meet a number of Israeli officials and dignitaries including former Israeli President and Nobel Peace Prize Winner Shimon Peres, Ambassador Liora Herzl, Ohad Cohen, director of the Israel Foreign Trade Administration, and Chief Inspector Mikey Rosenfeld, Israeli Police anti-terror unit, for a homeland security briefing.

Bogage said it is also likely that Hogan will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Hogan is scheduled to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Via Dolorosa and Stations of the Cross, Western Wall and Yad V’Shem, Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Museum.

 The trip to Israel is expected to cost the state $120,000. Other members of the delegation from the private sector will pay their own expenses on the trip, a state spokeswoman said.

Hogan is the latest in a line of governors dating back to Democratic former Gov. Harry Hughes that have visited Israel. Democratic former Gov. Martin O’Malley went twice as governor and once as mayor of Baltimore.

The Maryland-Israel Development Center grew out of a cooperation agreement signed in 1998 by then-Gov. William Donald Schaefer and Israeli officials.

Bogage said the frequent trips are necessary to keep Maryland in the minds of companies looking to do business in the United States.

“Just like any kind marketing for anything: Out of sight, out of mind,” Bogage said. “It’s a continuous outreach program. It’s a long cycle of relationship building.”