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Whitmer heads to Israel on first international trip as governor

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is in Israel all week on a trip aimed at strengthening Michigan’s business ties with the country. The goal is to help Michigan compete for tech jobs that pay well.

Whitmer will travel between Bethlehem, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem to meet with government, business and nonprofit leaders.

The trip, according to a statement from Whitmer, is all about relationships. She said, “I look forward to a number of productive conversations on how we can strengthen our ties with our partners overseas and help attract more businesses and jobs to Michigan.”

But Whitmer will also be focusing on water. According to Whitmer’s public schedule, she will participate in the Water Technology and Environmental Control Conference. The conference is a combination of speakers and showcases on new technologies and solutions about water and environmental management.

According to a spokeswoman, Whitmer is traveling with members of the business community, members of philanthropic organizations, and some members of her cabinet, including the chair of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

Whitmer will also make several cultural stops. She will tour the Yad Vasham Holocaust Museum. In Bethlehem she’ll visit the Church of the Nativity, and she will tour the Shrine of the Book. It’s the home of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

According to a press release, Whitmer was invited by the Israeli government. The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit is hosting the trip along with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.