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Crist in Israel talks about pension fund

Gov. Charlie Crist completed Day One of his trip to Israel today, the first official visit the governor has made to a foreign nation since taking office in January. (Story here.)

The first day was comprised of lots of official meetings, including questions from Israeli's about SB 2142 that requires Florida to divest its pension fund of stock from companies that do business with Sudan and Iran.

Crist is accompanied on the five-day tour by U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Miami Republican, State Rep. Dan Gelber, a Miami Beach Democrat, Broward County Commissioner Stacy Ritter, a Democrat, U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, a Miramar Democrat, U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler , a Delray Beach Democrat, State Sen. Nan Rich, a Weston Democrat and Rep. Adam Hasner, a Delray Beach Republican.

Foreign_minister_tzipi_livini_is_left_fHere's Gelber's summary of events from the first day:

Photo: Foreign Minister Tzipi Livini is left flanked by the outgoing and incoming Counsel General of Israel in Florida; Gov. Crist and the Florida Delegation is to the right.
Most of the Florida delegation has arrived and, notwithstanding some serious jet lag, we began our day receiving a commercial briefing from officials with the U.S. Embassy in Israel.

From there we met with Israel's Foreign Minister Tzipi Livini at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem. U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (Dem. - Vermont) and other federal officials were just concluding their briefing when we arrived.  There was much discussion about the bill recently passed by the Florida Legislature limiting investment of Florida's pension fund in companies that do business with Iran.  Governor Crist indicated that he was looking foward to signing the bill upon receipt. The Israeli press corps were out en mass to see the new governor from Florida.

Img_0049_2  After the meeting, we received a briefing about the Israeli Life Sciences industry, and the extraordinary work being done at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, and the Hadassah Medical Organziation.

Photo: Broward County Commissioner Stacy Ritter, Rep Adam Hasner, Congresswoman Ileana Ros Lehtinen; Governor Crist, Senator Nan Rich, Rep Dan Gelber