Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick landed in Israel Monday morning to seek a direct Boston-Tel Aviv route to help bring high-tech jobs to his home state.
The 10-day trip, criticized by some quarters in his home state for its $141,000 price tag, not including private support from businesses, will take the governor and his entourage to London on a five-day through Haifa, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
He met with El Al Airline officials Monday morning and requested a direct route to Boston, which he said would help reduce unemployment in Massachusetts.
One Massachusetts television station sent a reporter to cover his trip, and most local media have cited Israel as the number two country for high-technology, which Gov. Patrick hopes to tap for jobs.
The Massachusetts trade delegation also will meet with leaders in the fields of life science, clean energy, education and venture capital to try to forge new partnerships.
The governor faces criticism at home for leaving behind a debate on expanded gambling as well as his problems with a bloated deficit and an angry union protest over health care reform plans.
One Boston newspaper heaped criticism on the trip, noting that the budget includes nearly $22,000 for meals and more than $60,000 on accommodations in Israel, in addition to expenditures in Britain.