Georgia governor visits Israel on trade development trip

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on a state visit to Israel. Source: Twitter/Gov. Brian Kemp.

(JNS) — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp arrived in Israel over the weekend for a weeklong visit focused on strengthening economic ties between the southern U.S. state and Israel.

He met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on May 21 for about an hour “to discuss U.S.-Israeli relations, the threat of a nuclear Iran and economic development opportunities in Georgia,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

The newspaper added that Netanyahu asked Kemp about a state bill to combat antisemitism, “a sign the stalled measure has attracted the attention of Israel’s senior leaders.”

The Republican governor also met with Israeli President Isaac Herzog and Eli Cohen, Israeli minister of foreign affairs.

“I expressed my appreciation for his support in battling BDS and antisemitism. We discussed the common challenges and the potential for deepening our cooperation,” Herzog tweeted. The Israeli president “peppered Kemp with questions about the state’s economy,” the Atlanta paper reported. “Cohen promised to send a trade delegation to Atlanta to strengthen ties between the two governments.”

Cohen tweeted that the governor is a “true friend of Israel.” Kemp and his delegation also made a “special proclamation” celebrating Israel’s 75th anniversary and 75 years of strong bilateral relations with the United States, according to Cohen. “Discussed the many opportunities to further strengthen them,” he added.

Kemp tweeted something to the same effect.

The Georgia governor visited the Tower of David and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, both in Jerusalem, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

“Israel is a relatively small trade partner with Georgia, ranking as the state’s 34th-largest export market. About 20 Israeli firms have operations in Georgia,” according to the Atlanta paper.

The state exported $280 million worth of goods and services to Israel in 2021, per Georgia’s economic development department, the Associated Press reported. Georgia’s imports from Israel were worth $560 million, which is the 29th largest for the state, per the AP, which added that state officials said that 1,000 Georgians work for Israeli companies.

The overseas trip is Kemp’s fourth since becoming governor, according to the AP. He has said he is not running for president in 2024, but there is speculation that he might launch a campaign.