ST. PAUL – Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL – Minneapolis) will lead a delegation of ten Minnesota lawmakers on a nine day trip to Israel and the West Bank from November 4th to November 13th to foster stronger Minnesota connections to the region, learn more about Israeli clean and high-tech businesses, explore the dynamics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and visit religious and historical landmarks. Minnesota lawmakers joining Rep. Hornstein on the visit include Rep. Bernie Lieder, Crookston; Rep. Tina Liebling, Rochester; Rep. Steve Simon, Saint Louis Park; Rep. Jeremy Kalin, North Branch; Rep. Sandra Masin, Eagan; Rep. Sarah Anderson, Plymouth; Sen. Terri Bonoff, Minnetonka; Sen. Ann Rest, Golden Valley; Rep. Phyllis Kahn, Minneapolis.
“Our goal on this trip is to listen and learn," said Hornstein. “We want to bring back to Minnesota a wealth of information that can enrich our understanding of this important region of our world.”
On their visit to the region, the delegation will meet with public officials, business owners, and citizen groups. The tour will visit sites of historical and religious significance in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, and the Galilee, and receive a security briefing in the Golan Heights.
Highlights of the Minnesota Legislative Delegation trip to Israel include:
• Meeting with parents of captured Israeli soldier, Gilat Shalit, who has been held in captivity in the Gaza Strip since the summer of 2006. The City of Minneapolis designated Wednesday, August 26th, 2009 Gilat Shalit Day in recognition of his plight on his 23rd birthday. The Minnesota delegation will present the Shalit family with the proclamation.
• Examine the role of water resources in regional development, peace, and security issues with a focus on the Jordan River, including meetings with Israeli and Jordanian officials.
• Tour Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Memorial and Museum.
• Tour Israeli high tech and renewable energy companies, including Better Place a world leader in developing electric car infrastructure.
• Tour child care center serving Ethiopian Immigrants funded in part by Minneapolis Jewish Federation.
• Meet with Israeli and Palestinian peace activists who authored a blue-print for peace known as the Geneva Initiative.
• Meet with Palestinian youth and civic leaders in Bethlehem in the West Bank.
• Meet with Israeli elected officials and representatives from the Foreign Ministry during a tour of Knesset, Israel’s parliament.
• Discuss opportunities and challenges in coexistence between Arabs and Jews in Jaffa.
Hornstein worked with local groups as well as NGOs in the region to set up meetings and activities. Locally, these included the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas, and Minneapolis Jewish Federation.
The delegation is paying for all their own expenses and the trip is not sponsored by any group or organization.