Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn heading to Israel on trade mission

TAMPA — Mayor Bob Buckhorn heads to Israel today to talk trade with high-tech companies and join a group presenting a humanitarian aid check to Tampa's sister city on the Mediterranean Sea.

The trip will take 28 people from Tampa to Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Tampa's sister city, Ashdod, a busy port and tourism hub with a population of more than 200,000.

At every stop, a main focus will be economic development and trade, with meetings scheduled at Ashdod's port, the Better Place electric car plant and a project focused on breaking down biowaste.

Along with administrators traveling separately from the University of South Florida, Buckhorn also will meet with executives from Simbionix, a manufacturer of medical training simulators. "We'll be making the case to them that perhaps they ought to look at establishing a presence here in the Tampa Bay area," Buckhorn said.

It would only make sense, officials say, since USF is building the Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation, or CAMLS, near the Tampa Convention Center. The 90,000-square-foot center will offer training in robot-assisted surgery and other high-tech medical techniques to doctors who travel to Tampa from around the world.

And USF Health physicians already are working with Simbionix to develop what the university says is the first simulation product on the market for laparoscopic hysterectomies, a product that will be tested at CAMLS.

The trip rose from the Tampa Jewish Federation's efforts to raise $108,000 for the city of Ashdod.

"Rather than wiring the money to them and waiting for a thank-you letter, we decided it would be great to give that money in person," said Mark Segel, a spokesman for the federation.

In Ashdod, which tradition credits as the site of the tomb of Jonah, the biblical prophet swallowed by a whale, the money will go toward two projects.

One will renovate a bomb shelter for older residents who are forced to take shelter from rockets fired at Ashdod from the Gaza Strip. The other helps immigrating doctors get settled and licensed to practice medicine in Israel.

The federation also thought it would be good if the mayor could go along, so it worked to line up economic development discussions that would make it worth his while.

"I hope it results in some fruitful new relationships for the city," said City Council member Harry Cohen, one of three city officials going on the trip. The third is City Attorney Jim Shimberg Jr. The city is paying for Buckhorn's travel, while Cohen and Shimberg are each paying their own way.

The delegation, which returns Nov. 22, also will include Tampa business leaders and residents, both Jewish and non-Jewish, members of Tampa's Sister Cities Committee and the Tampa Jewish Federation.

Richard Danielson can be reached at or (813) 226-3403.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn heading to Israel on trade mission 11/15/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 15, 2011 11:05pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lightning among early suitors for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said he planned to explore free agency for potential needs, which include bolstering his blue line and adding a wing or two.

  2. Senate leaders try to appease members as support for health bill slips


    WASHINGTON — Senate Republican leaders scrambled Sunday to rally support for their health care bill, even as opposition continued to build outside Congress and two Republican senators questioned whether the bill would be approved this week.

    Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill on Thursday, is one of the five Republican senators who announced they cannot support the health care bill as drafted.
  3. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of June 26-July 2.


    Vans Warped Tour: The festival returns Saturday to St. Petersburg's Vinoy Park, featuring shock-metal icons Gwar, hardcore punks Sick Of It All, ska band Save Ferris and indie-pop group Never Shout Never ($39.50-$49.50). vanswarpedtour. …

    Crowd for the Motionless in White band at the 2014 Vans Warped Tour at Vinoy Park, Friday, July 25, 2014.  CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times
  4. Airbag maker Takata bankruptcy filing expected in Japan, U.S.


    DETROIT — Drowning in a sea of lawsuits and recall costs, Japanese airbag maker Takata Corp. is expected to seek bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the United States today.

  5. AP: Rick Scott to name Jimmy Patronis CFO on Monday


    From the AP's Gary Fineout:

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott is turning to a long-time political ally and former north Florida legislator to take over one of the top elected jobs in state government. 

    Then state Rep. Jimmy Patronis, R-Panama City Beach, left, and Gov. Rick Scott, tour downtown Panama City, Fla. on Tuesday, April 19, 2011. Scott will name Patronis CFO on Monday.