Minister-President Geert Bourgeois visited Israel on 6 and 7 May. The focus of the visit was on innovation and economy. At the moment, Israel spends 4,2% of its GNP on research and development and is one of largest R&D spenders in the world. With 2,69% (2017) Flanders scores better than the EU average, and is well on track to achieve the European 3% norm by 2020.
Minister-president Bourgeois paid a visit to the Israel Innovation Authority – that supports the private sector with their R & D efforts - and Start up Nation - that stimulates new and the development of startups in the high-tech sector. At the Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) it was discussed how and in which domains cooperation between innovative players from Flanders and Israel can be established.
On 7 May, the Minister-President was received in the Knesset and guided by Michael Oren, the Israeli State Secretary for Foreign Affairs. During their conversation, he clarified the position of the Israeli government on the nuclear agreement with Iran, the peace process with the Palestinians, and relations with other Arab neighbors - in light of the increasing military power of Iran in the region.
During his stay in Jerusalem, Minister-president Bourgeois also paid a visit to Yad Vashem, the world Holocaust Remembrance Centre.