O'Malley plans development mission to Israel

Gov. Martin O'Malley is planning a post election economic development mission to Israel -- a popular destination for American politicians thought to have aspirations to higher office.

The governor's office announced that O'Malley will lead a delegation on an eight-day trip to Israel to promote the state's business and cultural ties to Israel in late November -- weeks after O'Malley will have wound up what is expected to be a busy fall in his role as one of the chief surrogates for President Obama's re-election campaign.

Among other stops, the governor plans to visit the port city of Eilat  to speak at a conference on renewable energy -- one of his favorite causes. O'Malley will then travel  to Tel Aviv to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and to host a breakfast for high-tech Israeli entrepreneurs. The governor also announced plans to  take part in a wreath-laying ceremony at Yad V’Shem, Israel’s Holocaust Memorial.

The official trip will be O'Malley's second to Israel as governor. He previously led a delegation of business leaders to Israel in 2008. At that time, O'Malley was facing a re-election challenge. Now the term-limited governor is widely thought to have his eye on a run for president in 2016.

During the November trip, O'Malley also plans to meet with executives from ELTA Systems Ltd., a defense electronic company and parent of a firm that has just opened a 7,500-square-foot facility in the Maple Lawn area of Howard County with the help of a $300,000 loan from the Department of Business and Economic Development.

The governor joined other elected officials at Maple Lawn Monday to celebrate the opening of the  office of ELTA North America, which has announced plans to create about 100 high-tech jobs in Maryland. O'Malley was joined at the event by U.S. Sens. Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin, Second District U.S. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger,  Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown and Howard County Executive Ken Ulman  -- Democrats all. Also on hand was  Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren.

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