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McRae: Our bond with Israel

By Treasurer David McRae

The terrorist attacks by Hamas on Israel were heinous and inhumane acts. Children were slain. Infants murdered. Innocent civilians treated as no human should be. To say that I condemn these barbaric attacks is an understatement. They should never – ever – have happened.

Like so many across Mississippi, I stand firmly with Israel.

As State Treasurer, of course, my influence over foreign policy is limited. That said, there are steps we can and have taken to support our ally.

Prior to 2019, the State Treasury was primarily authorized to invest funds into state banks and the U.S. Treasury. With a change imposed by the State Legislature, however, another promising investment option became available. We can now place the state’s excess general funds into investment bonds issued by Israel. Not only is this a safe investment, but it provides a higher rate of return compared to many other options.

Mississippi has been invested in Israeli bonds since 2019 and has earned over $1.7 million in interest income on our initial $20 million investment. Israel has a high-quality credit rating, and the bonds have a solid coupon.

In the decades since David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, initially conceived of this idea, the bonds have become a reliable investment for institutional as well as private investors seeking to diversify portfolios and preserve capital. Moreover, proceeds from the bonds have helped build every sector of Israel’s economy, paving the way for the nation to become a leader in the high-tech and biotech sectors globally.

Not only is Israel a sovereign nation, a critical ally, and a beacon of democracy in the Middle East, but Israel is also a very important contributor to Mississippi’s economy.

In addition to several other investments in our state from other Israeli companies, Stark Aerospace in Columbus is a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries (AIA), Israel’s major aerospace and aviation manufacturer. The proud Mississippians employed there produce key components for Israel’s Arrow 3 Missile, contributing directly to Israel’s defense. Stark also provides key support to the American defense industry, making the most of Israeli and American innovation to protect both of our great nations.

By choosing to stand with Israel, we support the continued growth of democracy; we support the freedom of religion, speech, and assembly; we support the promise of liberty that America has come to represent. Now more than ever before, our friendship with Israel must be unwavering.

Mississippi Treasurer David McRae is the 55th Treasurer for the State of Mississippi. In this role, he helps manage the state’s cash flow, oversees College Savings Mississippi, and has returned nearly $75 million in unclaimed money to Mississippians. For more information, visit Treasury.MS.gov.

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