Partners for Change
Science And Technology
[We must] maintain our ability to compete with Europe and Japan in emerging technologies like biotechnology,
superconductors and computer-integrated manufacturing.
Science and technology have no boundaries, nor do the American and Israeli commitment to education, research
and innovation. Whereas the United States is competing with Japan and Europe, it is cooperating with Israel.
Joint research is conducted on both a formal and informal basis between the two governments, nongovernmental
institutions, private industry and individuals.
Recognizing the potential for greater cooperation, President Clinton established in March 1993 a U.S.-Israel
Science and Technology Commission. Its mission is to encourage high-tech industries in both countries to
engage in joint projects; foster scientific exchanges between universities and research institutions; promote
development of agricultural and environmental technologies and assist in the adaptation of military technology
to civilian production.
U.S. Firms' Investments in Israel Pay Dividends
American companies wanting to expand their research and development efforts, establish manufacturing for
new, sophisticated technologies and employ highly-motivated and trained engineers and scientists can find what
they are looking for in Israel. Projects that are not always cost-effective in the United States, moreover, are
often affordable in Israel. Israeli companies, meanwhile, find that American firms can offer experience, capital,
mass manufacturing and marketing expertise. The shared culture, ease of communication and common goals the
two countries enjoy facilitate the establishment of successful partnerships.
Many of America's high-tech giants have consequently either invested in Israel or set up subsidiaries there.
These include: IBM, Motorola, National Semiconductor, Intel and Microsoft.
Some of the technologies originating in Israel and now used worldwide include:
Software developed for Intel's Pentium processor; Intel's overdrive chip (the 486-DX2); Intel's Math
Coprocessor; and the Intel 8088 Central Processor Unit.
National Semiconductor's 32-bit Microprocessor and a second Microprocessor used in many laser printers.
Motorola's low voltage and fast 24-bit Digital Signal Multimedia Engine and Chipset for Fiber Optics
Distribution Data Interface.
The disk compression and antivirus components of Microsoft's DOS-6 operating system.
A bidirectional Windows operating system and Hebrew Windows developed for Microsoft by Kivun
Industrial Research and Development
One of the best ways to stimulate the economy is to invest in research and development. Recognizing the
resources available in Israel for collaborating to achieve this goal, the United States and Israel established the
Binational Research and Development Foundation (BIRD) in 1977. BIRD provides grants to joint U.S.-Israeli
product development teams in the high-tech field, typically sharing costs. Grants are paid back, with interest, if
revenues are shown from the R&D project. Products developed from these ventures have netted sales of more
than $1 billion in each country, tax revenues of more than $200 million in the United States alone and created
an estimated 20,000 American jobs.
BIRD provides grants for the development and subsequent commercialization of innovative, nondefense
technological products from which both the Israeli and American company can expect to derive benefits
commensurate with the investments and risks. Most grant recipients are small businesses involved with
software, instrumentation, communications, medical devices and semiconductors.
Since its inception, BIRD has funded more than 300 joint high-tech R&D projects. For example:
BIRD funded two projects involving GTE Spacenet of Virginia and Gilat Communications Systems that
involved the creation of a unique satellite-based telecommunications service for large retail businesses.
Massachusetts-based Basicnet, the largest office products distribution organization in the world, developed a
new product to meet the management needs of both commodities and hardgoods distribution in partnership with
Relational Technology Systems Ltd.
Coherent, Inc. of California and Holo-Or Ltd. combined to develop a new high-power laser for medical and
Stratus Computer of Massachusetts teamed with Manof Systems to create and market a software package that
provides banks with a single communications gateway to networks such as telex, fax, electronic data
interchange, and domestic and international payment networks.
The Binational Science Foundation (BSF) is a grant-awarding institution that promotes research cooperation
between scientists from the United States and Israel. It was established by the two governments in 1972 and has
awarded more than 2,100 research grants, involving more than 1,800 scientists from 298 institutions located in
43 states. Active grants include:
Hebrew University and the New York State Department of Health -- Genetic code and cell physiology.
Tel Aviv University and the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory -- Experimental search for the
The Weizmann Institute and Virginia Polytechnic Institute -- Heavy metal contamination of ground water.
Ben-Gurion University and MIT -- Effect of ignition system characteristics on flame initiation in gasoline
The benefits to the United States from BSF-sponsored studies include the extension and elaboration of
research to achieve milestones that might not have been reached otherwise; the introduction of novel thinking
and techniques that led American researchers to move in new directions; confirmation, clarification and
intensification of research projects; access to Israeli equipment and facilities unavailable elsewhere and early
access to Israeli research results that sped American scientific advances.
BSF documented no less than 75 new discoveries that probably would not have been possible without
foundation-supported collaboration. These advances included the development of new methods and techniques,
the discovery of new phenomena and major theoretical breakthroughs.