Governor reviews trade trip to Israel

Gov. Bill Haslam says Israel and Tennessee have “an obvious connection” related to health care and other sectors, reports the Times-Free Press.

“We catch heat about being low-cost. We’re low-cost compared to New York, San Francisco and L.A.,” Haslam said in Chattanooga on Thursday.

The governor, fresh off a jobs recruitment trip to Israel, cited work done at Erlanger hospital that he learned about in which surgeons are using Israeli technology to help stroke victims.

“Chattanooga has some advantages in that,” he said of an idea raised by Erlanger physician Dr. Thomas Devlin to make the city a low-cost entry point for Israeli companies to get into the U.S. market and through federal regulatory testing.

Devlin, who directs the Southeast Regional Stroke Center, said Israeli companies don’t want to go to places such as California or Boston.

“We have an opportunity to do this here. We have all the right business acumen, technology, health care research to do this,” he said.

Haslam, who took an 18-person delegation to Israel, said that’s the kind of connection he tries to make on such trips.

“One of the reasons I go on trips like this is to help enable those connections,” he said to about 100 people at the Jewish Cultural Center.