11 NASS Members Visiting Israel with AJC Project Interchange

For Immediate Release — Dec. 16, 2019 —

Washington, D.C. and Jerusalem, Israel — A bipartisan delegation of Secretaries of State from across the U.S. are visiting Israel with the American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) Project Inter­change. The program features in-depth discussions on cybersecurity policies and practices at the state, local, and federal level as it relates to business services, election administration, and rec­ords management.

The weeklong educational seminar further aims to enhance U.S.- Israel relations at the vital state level. A number of American states have been expanding commercial and other ties with Israel. This is the first National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) delegation to visit Israel in partnership with Project Interchange.

“As key state executives, Secretaries of State are uniquely on the forefront of today’s most com­plex issues, including election cybersecurity. My fellow Secretaries and I are excited to partner with AJC Project Interchange to not only relay our important work to the region, but also learn from their leaders and compare notes,” said Paul Pate, NASS President, Iowa Secretary of State and delegation chair.

“Secretaries of State are key leaders in the U.S., and foster important public policy, while working closely with all branches of government and business,” said Nisha Abkarian, AJC Project Inter­change Director. “With their vital role supervising elections and promoting bilateral business ex­changes, we are truly delighted with this new partnership, and to host our first-ever NASS delega­tion in Israel.”

The seminar will provide the 11 state officials with a firsthand understanding of Israel and mutually-beneficial bilateral ties. During the visit, they will learn about Israel, known as the “Start Up Nation”; its vibrant democracy, diverse population, regional challenges, and economic and technological innovation, and the shared values between the U.S. and Israel.

Delegation participants include: Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, Alaska Lt. Governor Kev­in Meyer, Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab, Maine Sec­retary of State Matt Dunlap, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton, Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way, West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner, and Wyoming Secretary of State Ed Buchanan.

The group will meet with influential figures across the political and social spectrum, leaders of Is­rael’s minority communities, and business leaders. The delegation will participate in comprehen­sive discussions with top leaders of Israel's National Cyber Directorate, and focus on collaboration between government, academia, and the private sector. In addition to visiting significant historic, cultural and religious sites across Israel, the delegation will visit Tel Aviv, Haifa, Israel’s northern and southern borders, and Jerusalem—including the Old City. The delegation also will meet with Palestinian civic and business leaders in Ramallah in the Palestinian Authority.

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NASS Media Contact:
Maria (Dill) Benson, Director of Communications | 202-624-3528

AJC Media Contact:
Ken Bandler, Director of Media Relations | 212-891-6771