Rutherford talks cyber in Israel

Maryland Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford speaks at the Cybertech Conference in Tel Aviv, Photo courtesy of Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford

Following his first trip to Israel, Maryland Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford (R) said he was impressed with the scenery, appreciated the country’s historical significance and was amazed by not only how good the food was but how often he was fed.

Rutherford didn’t go for the food. He led the Maryland delegation on a trade mission that was arranged by the Maryland/Israel Development Center.

Rutherford said that during January’s three-day Cybertech Conference in Tel Aviv, he spoke with several Israeli businesses interested in partnering with Maryland companies or setting up their own companies here.

“Cyber is one of our state’s most important industries,” said Rutherford. “This is an industry where people want to be, and it is an industry where Maryland is known to be a leader,” he wrote in a press release.

“No state in America is better able to address the rapidly emerging and evolving cybersecurity challenges facing the world today,” Rutherford said in the press release. “And in an increasingly competitive international economy where companies can — and do — locate virtually anywhere, we are looking beyond our borders for opportunities to strengthen international partnerships, and strengthen Maryland’s position as the cyber capital of America.”

During an interview in his statehouse office in Annapolis, Rutherford said the conference “was a lot of meeting people.”

He spoke with representatives from RADA Electronic Industries, which opened a manufacturing facility in Germantown three months ago after first briefly setting up an office in Silver Spring. RADA has two Israeli locations.

The Germantown facility produces advanced electronics for the defense and aerospace industry, including its active electronically scanned array tactical radars.

RADA Technologies, which is the American subsidiary of RADA Electronics, expects to hire 80 fulltime employees by the end of 2023.

Its $4 million project is partially funded through a $50,000 Economic Development Fund condition grant from Montgomery County, $300,000 from Maryland’s Advantage Maryland conditional loan and an expected $450,000 in job creation tax credits.

During his trip to the Middle East — he visited Dubai before arriving in Israel — Rutherford also met with representatives from Orgenesis, a biotech company that specializes in regenerative cellular therapy. That Israeli company has a relationship with Johns Hopkins University.

Rutherford and representatives from the University of Maryland’s Baltimore campus met with officials from Tel Aviv University, where it already has a relationship. Representatives from Morgan State University in Baltimore met with Hebrew University officials to see how the two colleges could work together, possibly setting up a student exchange, Rutherford explained.

Also during his trip, Rutherford received briefings by the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Israel Foreign Trade Administration. He also toured Yad Vashem.

Rutherford said Tel Aviv’s beaches were beautiful, adding that he preferred the time he spent in Jerusalem, for its historic and religious significance.

“I think it is beautiful the way they use the Jerusalem stone on all the buildings,” he said.

But it was the food that seemed to surprise him most.

“They feed you a lot there. The food was very good, but they definitely feed you a lot,” he said. “Everywhere we went, people were feeding us, even after we ate lunch, we went to another meeting and people had this food laid out for us.”

Suzanne Pollak is a Washington-area writer.

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