Pawlenty leaves on trade trip to Israel

Pawlenty to Israel
Gov. Tim Pawlenty, center, left the Twin Cities Thursday for a four-day trade trip to Israel. With him are Ed Dieter, deputy director of the Minnesota Trade Office, left, and Brian Kamin, president of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas.
MPR Photo/Tim Pugmire

Gov. Tim Pawlenty is traveling to Israel today for a four-day trade mission.

Pawlenty is leading a delegation of 37 business executives, community leaders and government officials, with stops planned in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

State officials say 100 Minnesota companies are currently doing business in Israel. During an airport news conference before his departure, Pawlenty said he hopes to expand exports to the Middle East country.

"We want to make sure we open as many doors and as many eyes to future trade and future friendship between Israel and Minnesota, both economically, culturally and otherwise," said Pawlenty.

Pawlenty is leading Minnesota's second trade mission to Israel. Gov. Arne Carlson traveled there in 1993. Israel is Minnesota's 21st largest trading partner.