Zions Bank participated in Utah Governor Gary Herbert’s recent trade mission to Israel and the West Bank. The trip was considered a resounding success, as the delegation made personal, cultural, diplomatic, and business connections with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. The governor’s international team, World Trade Center Utah and business leaders from the state worked together to arrange a gathering of top Israeli venture capitalists, private meetings with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; an excursion to the Knesset; and an unprecedented visit to the West Bank, where the delegation met with Salam Fayyad, outgoing prime minister of the Palestinian National Authority. It was the first U.S.-governor led trade mission to the West Bank in recent memory, according to representatives from the U.S. Embassy there.
In a meeting with President Peres, Governor Herbert pointed out some of the similarities between Utah and Israel: “You have a Dead Sea; we have a dead sea. You have a River Jordan; we have a River Jordan. You have a Mount Nebo; we have a Mount Nebo. You have a Moab; we have a Moab. Hey, we even have a Zions Park and a Zions Bank!” The similarities extend to the business community as well, with both places encouraging entrepreneurship and startup companies. Throughout the trip, the connections and similarities were apparent in areas such as renewable energy, water, medical devices, and aviation.
In Palestine, approximately 60 leaders from local companies representing high-tech, energy, and resource industries attended a meeting with the Utah delegation hosted by the Palestinian American Chamber of Commerce. It was clear that the country needs many of the products and services that companies in Utah have to offer. While in Ramallah, World Trade Center Utah and the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce each signed Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with the Palestinian American Chamber of Commerce to pursue future opportunities to work together.