SALT LAKE CITY — The announcement of the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit coming to Utah opens doors for other opportunities for Israel and Utah to unite, according to Utah's governor.
Gov. Gary Herbert will embark on a trade mission to the Mediterranean state on Saturday, leading a group of Utah business owners and others interested in trade with Israel.
"It will foster opportunities that will be mutually beneficial to the economies of both Utah and Israel," Herbert said Wednesday. "We have a lot of commonality in our culture, in our values, in our work ethic, in the things we've found to be of benefit to us as a state and a community."
The Utah Legislature passed a resolution during the recent session, honoring Israeli ties to the Beehive State and encouraging the upcoming trade mission.
Herbert said the bill is further evidence that Utah "is a friend of Israel."
Israeli Consul General David Siegel has visited Utah twice, including this week with his family. He invited Herbert and others to come to his home state of Israel, which he said is "really the start-up capital of the world."
The Middle Eastern democracy hosts more than 6,000 startups and more than 260 international research and development locations, including Apple, Microsoft and Intel, which has been there more than 40 years.
"Utah is highly diversified in its economy. Israel is as well," Siegel said, citing similarities between the two states. "We're very excited to share our innovation with the state of Utah."
About 60 people had signed up to accompany Herbert to Israel on the initial trip that was scheduled last December. Civil unrest along the Gaza Strip and security risks of traveling there canceled that mission, but Herbert vowed to reschedule.
Participants cover their own travel costs, and the tour is slated to visit Tel Aviv for three days and Jerusalem for two. The trip concludes Friday, April 26.
The proposed itinerary includes a U.S. Embassy briefing in Tel Aviv, a U.S. consulate briefing in Jerusalem and business meetings in both cities, as well as sightseeing opportunities for accompanying guests throughout the duration of the seven-day trip.
"As we deal with people economically, they become our friends," Herbert said. "It is a great way to improve and foster better relationships around the world as we expand our export business and are mutually benefited by the trade that takes place."