Reprinted from WTOK
MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) — Mississippians welcomed the consul general of Israel as he took the stage in Meridian Thursday evening. Lior Haiat stopped by the Queen City in his continued effort to promote peace between our two countries.
“People are just eager to know about Israel,” Haiat says. “I wish I could take all of you and all of the people of Mississippi to visit Israel with me. This is the best way to get to know Israel. For the time being, we will get some of Israel here for you to get to know it.”
Our local and state leaders worked with the American-Israel Friendship League in setting up this visit. It’s an organization that aims at strengthening ties across all demographics. And that’s the goal of Haiat’s entire visit.
“There’s such an outreach from that country,” Attorney Gen. Jim Hood says. “Particularly our area, they’re a smaller nation. They relate to Mississippians. I really enjoy all those that I’ve met, and they really have a good outreach to our government.”
The attorney general says when they began planning the meeting, Rep. Greg Snowden was quick to suggest Meridian as a prime location for the event.
“They asked us to co-host this,” Snowden explains. “When they did, I suggested Meridian as the place, and General Hood was very gracious and I think anxious to say yes, Meridian is the place for this.”
The MSU Riley Center provided the perfect location for Haiat to meet with political and business leaders. On stage, the governor spoke about the importance of a healthy relationship between Israel and the U.S. and even became emotional during his speech.
“I think so goes Israel and the middle east, so goes America,” Gov. Phil Bryant says. “That’s how important this relationship is, and Mississippi has been leading among states in the United States with their relationship with Israel, and we’re very proud of that.”
Haiat serves as the consul general for Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Puerto Rico. There are 10 total consul generals in the U.S. The consulate is an official office of the government of Israel.