Washington, DC and Jerusalem, Israel — A bipartisan delegation of Secretaries of State from across the US recently visited Israel with the American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) Project Interchange. The program featured in-depth discussions on cyber-security policies and practices at the state, local, and federal level as it relates to business services, election administration, and records management.
The week long educational seminar aimed to enhance U.S.- Israel relations at the vital state level. A number of American states have been expanding commercial and other ties with Israel. This is the first National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) delegation to visit Israel in partnership with Project Interchange.
Founded in 1904, the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) is the nation’s oldest, nonpartisan professional organization for public officials. Membership is open to the 50 states, the District of Columbia and all U.S. Territories. One of their concerns is reaching Americans, no matter where they live, about the elections process, including voter registration, state election laws, voting and much more.
“As key state executives, Secretaries of State are uniquely on the forefront of today’s most complex issues, including election cyber-security. My fellow Secretaries and I are excited to partner with AJC Project Interchange to not only relay our important work to the region, but also learn from their leaders and compare notes,” said Paul Pate, NASS President, Iowa Secretary of State and delegation chair.
“Secretaries of State are key leaders in the U.S., and foster important public policy, while working closely with all branches of government and business,” said Nisha Abkarian, AJC Project Interchange Director. “With their vital role supervising elections and promoting bilateral business exchanges, we are truly delighted with this new partnership, and to host our first-ever NASS delegation in Israel.”
The seminar provided the 11 state officials with a firsthand understanding of Israel and mutually-beneficial bilateral ties. During their visit, they learned about Israel, known as the “Start Up Nation”; its vibrant democracy, diverse population, regional challenges, and economic and technological innovation, and the shared values between the U.S. and Israel.
Delegation participants include: Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, Alaska Lt. Governor Kevin Meyer, Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab, Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton, Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way, West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner, and Wyoming Secretary of State Ed Buchanan.
The group met with influential figures across the political and social spectrum, leaders of Israel’s minority communities, and business leaders. The delegation participated in comprehensive discussions with top leaders of Israel’s National Cyber Directorate, and focus on collaboration between government, academia, and the private sector. In addition to visiting significant historic, cultural and religious sites across Israel, the delegation visited Tel Aviv, Haifa, Israel’s northern and southern borders, and Jerusalem—including the Old City and Yad Yashem. The delegation also met with Palestinian civic and business leaders in Ramallah in the Palestinian Authority.
Overseas voters, NASS is here to help you register to vote. Find your election official by visiting canivote.org, a nonpartisan website created by state election officials.