With the goals of fostering technological innovation and boosting bilateral opportunities, a diverse, bipartisan delegation of California state legislators is visiting Israel for intensive dialogue and briefings with AJC (American Jewish Committee) Project Interchange. The visit this week highlights topics important to the legislators, including medicine and humanitarian work, agriculture and water management, immigrant absorption and integration, and innovation, while also exposing participants to Israel’s politically and ethnically diverse society.

The delegation is sponsored entirely by Project Interchange, an educational institute of AJC (American Jewish Committee) at no cost to California taxpayers.

Featuring California State Senate and Assembly leaders, the program is designed to strengthen Latino-Jewish, Asian-Jewish, and interfaith relations, and interaction of California’s and Israel’s diversity and strong economies. Meeting with their Israeli counterparts, the California delegation will explore opportunities for bilateral collaboration.

“California and Israel share similar challenges with respect to natural resources and an appetite for innovative solutions,” said Robin Levenston-Kudisch, AJC Project Interchange Executive Director. “The meetings and briefings with Israeli experts will provide a fitting setting for great minds to share information, discuss partnerships, and explore opportunities for mutually-beneficial collaboration between California and Israel.”

“I hope to share the connection the Jewish people have with Israel, the innovation and entrepreneurship Israelis bring to the world, including water conservation and technology, and the collaborative partnership Israel and California share,” said Assemblymember Marc Levine, D-Marin County, chair of the Legislative Jewish Caucus.

Previous Project Interchange delegations have contributed to the formation of innovative enterprises, including the University of California and Israel Innovation Authority Partnership.

Chaired by Marc Levine, Assemblymember, 10th Assembly District, North Bay, California, the delegation includes:

  • Marc Berman, Assemblymember, 24th Assembly District, Los Altos, California
  • Mike Gipson, Assemblymember and Democratic Caucus Chair, 64th Assembly District, Compton, California
  • Timothy Grayson, Assemblymember, 14th Assembly District, Concord, California
  • Kevin Kiley, Assemblymember, 6th Assembly District, Granite Bay, California
  • Ricardo Lara, Senator, 33rd Senate District, Los Angeles, California
  • Chad Mayes, Assemblymember, 42nd Assembly District, Rancho Mirage, California
  • Al Muratsuchi, Assemblymember, 66th Assembly District, Torrance, California
  • Blanca Rubio, Assemblywoman, 48th Assembly District, Baldwin Park, California

The AJC Project Interchange program will provide these policymakers with a deeper understanding of Israel, its dynamic society and democracy, and often-times complicated reality. The trip includes meetings with influential figures across Israel’s political and social spectrum, including senior Israeli, Palestinian, and Israeli Arab leaders.

The delegation is expected to traverse much of Israel, including Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Israel’s Northern border with Syria, and the Southern border with Gaza for a first-hand look at Israel and its geo-strategic realities. Discussion topics with renowned Israeli experts will range from best practices on economic development and technology start-ups, environmental management and renewable energy, absorption and integration of immigrant communities, and education -- all issues facing communities the legislators represent. Several sessions dealing with Israel’s strategic environment, diversity issues and inter-religious cooperation, are also on the agenda, including Israeli high-tech initiatives that foster effective economic cooperation between Jews and Arabs.

The delegation also will travel to Ramallah to meet with Palestinian experts in the Palestinian Authority.


About AJC Project Interchange: For 35 years, Project Interchange, a nonprofit educational institute of AJC (American Jewish Committee), has brought nearly 6,000 influential figures to Israel from 110 countries and all 50 U.S. states, offering them broad exposure and firsthand understanding of the complex issues facing Israel and the region. Projectinterchange.org

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