Georgia Governor Nathan Deal (R) met with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat on Sunday to celebrate 20 years of economic cooperation between Georgia and Jerusalem. Deal, who also met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanahu, traveled to the region for a five-day trip with a delegation of business and community leaders from the Peach State, including Attorney General Sam Olens, to explore more partnership opportunities.
Deal talked up Georgia’s growing tourism, technology and film industries with Barkat.
“We’re both scaling in film production, health services and hi-tech, so we’re sharing notes on how to make 1 + 1 = 3,” said Barkat. “The visit of the governor to our city reflects how Jerusalem is developing.”
The Mayor linked the cooperation with Georgia with increased tourism and more investments in Jerusalem’s hi-tech and bioresearch sectors.
“The best way to describe our future is to go back 3,000 years,” Barkat said. “For thousands of years this was the center of the world… And our DNA of welcoming everyone is second to none. …The relationship between Israel and the USA is a strategic one. We share values and understand opportunity. I believe that if we look into the future, we will do more business together and expand the common denominator between us.”
Georgia currently hosts 40 Israeli companies.
“This is the 20th year that Georgia has had a trade relationship with Israel, which has been proven to be successful for both sides,” said Deal. “Like Israel, we are a leader in software and IT services, as well as tourism.”
In the 40-minute long meeting between Deal and Netanyahu, the prime minister focused on cybersecurity. The Israeli leader expressed a desire to partner with Georgia’s schools and companies specializing in that area, which is not surprising considering Israel’s difficult political and geographic position where cyber warfare is a real threat.
Georgia Board of Regents Chancellor Hank Huckaby, who was present at the meeting with Netanyahu, said he would work with Israel to create cybersecurity partnership, according to a report by the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Deal’s delegation spent five days in the Jewish state. The trip has some political benefits for the governor, since Deal is running against former President Jimmy Carter’s grandson Jason Carter (D) in his 2014 reelection bid. The former president is known for his anti-Israel sentiments, although the younger Carter has stressed throughout the campaign that he does not share his grandfather’s views on Israel.