One of Phoenix's very own city council members is on his way to the Middle East.
The reality in Israel and Gaza is a volatile mix of aggression with talks of peace. It's a process that has dominated the international news cycle for the last few weeks.
But instead of steering clear of the conflict, Phoenix City Council member Daniel Valenzuela is headed toward it. He'll land in Tel Aviv late Saturday night after an entire day of traveling.
"To get 21 elected officials to go out to Israel and have these meetings with other delegates from Israel, an opportunity to share best practices and ideas, I think it's a priceless opportunity," said Valenzuela.
For his first trip outside the country, council member Valenzuela picked a dangerous one, and he knows it, but the benefits outweigh the risks.
"I'm not naive. I've been watching the news, I have been on several conference calls and I understand that anytime you take a step out of this country there are calculated risks," said Valenzuela.
The councilman is being sent to Israel for educational opportunities and to exchange ideas from our city's local governmental level to another.
"Immigration, education, economic development, healthcare, what are their ideas? Those are some of the things I want to report directly back to the people of Phoenix with," said Valenzuela.
The American Israel Education Foundation is sponsoring Valenzuela along with 20 other local elected officials from western states.
For pictures and the day to day events in his trip, you can follow councilman Valenzuela on Twitter, @Daniel4phoenix.