Houston’s Mayor, Sylvester Turner made a historic visit to Israel early this June in the hopes of creating more economic relations in the areas of energy and medical research and development (R&D) with the Jewish State. Houston economically dominates in these two areas as it is considered to be one of the greatest energy leaders in the world and houses the largest medical complex in the world (The Texas Medical Center), the largest Children’s hospital in the world (the Texas Children’s Hospital) and the largest cancer hospital in the world (MD Anderson Cancer Center). Further, Israel’s more recent breakthroughs in biomedical research and devices as well as its offshore discoveries of natural gas position it to be a perfect economic ally for Houston companies.
As Israel and Houston overlap in the areas of medical R&D and energy, top executives in these fields from Houston joined the mayor on the visit from companies such as the Texas Medical Center and Noble Energy. Executives from the Houston Airport System also made the visit as Mayor Turner is seeking to encourage more direct flights from Houston to Tel Aviv. The Mayor expressed to the Times of Israel, “There are direct flights on the West Coast of the US and on the East Coast… But when you look at the city of Houston and all that the city has to offer and the synergies with Israel, we think there are tremendous opportunities if we can establish a direct flight between the two.”
The Texas-Israel Chamber of Commerce has played a significant role in ushering this growing economic alliance between Houston and Israel. As Houston is the third largest city in the United States, stronger economic relations between it and Israel would signify on the international stage an affirmation of the U.S.’ commitment to stand with Israel.