Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) visited iconic sites in Jerusalem including the Western Wall and Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial on day four of his weeklong trip to Israel.
“It was just a very emotional experience to see the faces and to hear the voices of victims of the Holocaust, one of the darker chapters in history,” Hogan said Friday in a phone interview with Washington Jewish Week.
Hogan has spent the week meeting with leaders of Israeli companies in order to expand the country’s presence in Maryland. There are 24 Israeli companies that do business in the state.
“The primary focus is really in two areas where we have a real commonality,” he said. “The cyber security businesses and defense kind of things are a real focus that they’re very good at and it’s the same for Maryland. We believe that we’re a cyber hub if not the cyber capital of America with the NSA and all of those private sector companies.”
Hogan said he was pleased with his meeting on Tuesday with leaders of Enzymotec, parent company of Baltimore-based VAYA Pharm. He said he encouraged them to expand their business to the University of Maryland-College Park’s BioPark. Hogan also touted the partnership between Baltimore’s Electronic Technology Associates and Ra’anana-based Cyberbit that will bring a cybersecurity training center to Baltimore and create what he estimated as 100 new jobs.
Before his visit ends on Sept. 26, Hogan plans to visit to Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, where he will speak about his battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Hogan, now in remission, was treated by University of Maryland Medical Center oncologist Aaron Rapoport, the son of former Hadassah Medical Center CEO Morton Rapoport. Both men will speak on during Hogan’s visit, Hogan said. There will also be an announcement of a collaboration between Hadassah, the National Institutes of Health and Johns Hopkins University.
Hogan said he intended to make the trip to Israel last year, but could not because of his cancer diagnosis. He said so far the trip has been a success.
“On the business side it’s been extremely productive and I’ve found people here to be very welcoming and anxious to do business with us,” he said. “The fact that I’ve been supporting them in opposition to BDS stuff and we’ve been buying $20 million in Israeli bonds and that we have a friend and ally in Israel and we want to further that relationship … it’s been a moving experience for me.”