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State-to-State Cooperation:
Connecticut and Israel


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Connecticut Jewish History
Delaware

 

 

Trade and Population Statistics

Exports to Israel (2013)
$115,309,811
      Percentage Change (2012-2013)
+17.15%
      Total Exports to Israel (1996-Present)
$1,856,527,415
Israel's Trade Partner Rank (2013)
28th
Military Contracts with Israel (2012)
$58,687,484.91
Jewish Population (2012)
116,050
      Jewish Percentage of Population
3.2%

 

Binational foundation grants shared by Connecticut and Israel

Agricultural Research & Development (1979-Present)
$1,238,832
Science & Technology (1996-Present)
$6,231,901
Industrial Research & Development (1977-Present)
$1,836,962
Total Binational Grants
$9,307,695

Grant recipients in Connecticut from U.S.-Israel binational foundations:

Alcide Corp.
Canberra Industries Inc.
CAS Medical Systems Inc.
Corometrics Medical Inc.
Executone Information Systems
General DataComm
Hydrofera
Kollmorgen Motion Tech.
Lansco Inc.
MacDermid Inc.
Micromint Inc.
Packet/PC Inc.
Presstek Inc.
Timex Corp.
TranSwitch Corp.
University of Connecticut
University of Connecticut Med School
VA Medical Center
Yale University
Yale Medical School

 

Bilateral Institutions

Connecticut - Israel Exchange Commission- Established in the late 1980's by Connecticut's Department of Economic and Community Development, the CONNIX was created with the inherent purpose of promoting and expanding economic, scientific, educational, technological, commercial, industrial and cultural cooperation and exchange between Connecticut and Israel. Then-Governor William O'Neill signed the agreement that officially created CONNIX. In recent years, unfortunately, CONNIX has no longer received state funds though State Representative David Baram is hoping to resurrect CONNIX. Read the agreement that established CONNIX, CLICK HERE.

 

Cooperative Agreements - "Memoranda of Understanding"

September 2005 - Sikorsky Aircraft, based in Stratford, signed an MOU with the government of Israel to develop the Armed Blackhawk (ABH) helicopter, also known as the BattleHawk, for use by the Israeli Air Force. In 2009, Sikorsky announced that the test phase for the ABH was complete which paves the way to upgrade the IAF's existing fleet of BlackHawk helicopters currently in use. Read more about the project, CLICK HERE.

 

Connecticut Government Missions to Israel

April 2010 - Congressman Joe Courtney (D-CT) led a very successful economic trade mission to Israel that included businesspeople from at least one dozen Connecticut companies and organizations. The goal of the mission was to promote long-term economic growth and job creation by growing export opportunities for small and mid-sized companies by developing a mutually beneficial relationship with Israel. "This mission to Israel is about creating long-term economic opportunities and jobs for a more sustainable and robust Connecticut economy,” stated Courtney. “I want to help open doors for Connecticut companies who otherwise have no global reach or resources to bridge the international divide." Anne Evans, District Director of the US Department of Commerce's Export Assistance Center in Middletown, added, "Our trade mission to Israel will serve as the vehicle to proactively open up the Israeli market to our state’s companies." Read more about the mission at the blog of the International Trade Administration, CLICK HERE.

March 2008 - Senator Joe Lieberman joined Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on an official congressional visit to Israel to learn more about regional threats in the Middle East and ways in which the United States and Israel can collaborate on responses. While in Israel, the trio of senators met with Israeli Vice Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni who stressed the importance of dealing with the rising tide of Islamic extremism. "It is impossible to achieve peace without dealing with the fundamental issues of terrorism and extreme Islamism. A change in Gaza is essential," said Minister Livni. Read more about this high level meeting, CLICK HERE.

 

Partners For Change

The U.S.-Israel relationship is based on the twin pillars of shared values and mutual interests. Given this commonality of interests and beliefs, it should not be surprising that support for Israel is one of the most pronounced and consistent foreign policy values of the American people.

It is more difficult to devise programs that capitalize on the two nations' shared values than their security interests; nevertheless, such programs do exist. In fact, these SHARED VALUE INITIATIVES cover a broad range of areas, including the environment, science and technology, education and health.

As analyst David Pollock noted, Israel is an advanced country with a population that surpassed eight million people in 2013 and a robust, dynamic economy that allowed it to join the  Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Between 2005 and 2013, Israel has represented a larger market for U.S. exports than Saudi Arabia. Although Israel's citizenry make up just 3 percent of the total region's population, Israel accounts for 25 percent of American exports in the Middle East.

"It has also been one of the top 20 foreign direct investors in the United States since 2009," Pollock confirms. He adds that "$2.25 billion of the $3 billion in annual U.S. aid to Israel comes back via Israeli purchases of U.S. military equipment - and that is just 5 percent of the total bilateral trade each year."

Today's interdependent global economy requires that trade policy be developed at the national and state level.

Many states have recognized the opportunity for realizing significant benefits by seeking to increase trade with Israel. Connecticut is one of 33 states that have cooperative agreements with Israel.

In 2012, Connecticut exported over $98,393,209.00 worth of manufacturing goods to Israel. Since 1996, Connecticut exports to Israel have totaled more than $1,701,217,604.00and Israel now ranks as Connecticut’s 22nd leading trade partner.

Additionally in 2012, Connecticut received more than $58,687,484.91 in foreign military financing (FMF) for US military aid to Israel. Some of those companies that have received funding through FMF in 2012 or past years include: Kahn Industries Inc. in Wethersfield, United Technologies Corporation in East Hartford, and Roller Bearing Company of America in Fairfield.

Israel is certainly a place where potential business and trade partners can be found. It can also be a source, however, for innovative programs and ideas for addressing problems facing the citizens of Connecticut.

Israel has developed a number of pioneering education programs. For example, AICE introduced an innovative Israeli peer tutoring program to North Carolina that educators adapted for use in the United States. Now known as Reading Together, the program is used in 28 states. The program is designed to help students achieve reading fluency and is mostly used for children in second grade. The hope is that with its implementation, increasing numbers of students will perform at grade level or above.

A range of other exciting approaches to social problems like unemployment, environmental protection and drug abuse have been successfully implemented in Israel and could be imported for the benefit of Americans.

The potential for greater cooperation with Israel for the benefit of Connecticut is limited only by the imagination.

 

Connecticut Firms Profit From Business With Israel

As the only country with free trade agreements with both the United States and the European community, Israel can act as a bridge for international trade between the United States and Europe. Moreover, because of the deep pool of talent, particularly in high­technology areas, Israel provides excellent investment opportunities. Some of the nation's largest companies, such as IBM, Microsoft, Motorola and Intel have found that it is indeed profitable to do business in Israel.

More than 250 Connecticut companies have also discovered the benefits of trade with Israel. Several own interests in Israeli companies or have subsidiaries there, including MacDermid, Brink's, General Electric and Branson Ultrasonics.

For example, in addition to the funds already given to Connecticut companies through the FMF program, Pratt & Whitney Military Engines, based out of East Hartford, has been chosen as one of the principle contractors in a US Congressional deal to send as much as $15.2 billion worth of F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft to the Israeli government. Being chosen as a principle contractor in this deal is a major achievement for the Connecticut-based firm which will be required to run multiple trips to Israel involving US government representatives in order to hammer down the specific technical details and training. Read more about this deal, CLICK HERE.

The Connecticut-Israel Exchange Commission, which is located in the Governor's office in Bridgeport, provides information about trade opportunities and helps match Israeli and Connecticut companies that are interested in cooperative ventures.

One good way to break into the Israeli market is through a joint venture with an Israeli company. Funding for such projects is available from the Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation (BIRD). BIRD funds projects in 36 states and the District of Columbia and hundreds of companies including AOL, GE, BP Solar, Texas Instruments and Johnson & Johnson have benefitted from BIRD grants.

The United States and Israel established BIRD in 1977 to fund joint U.S.-Israeli teams in 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 800 joint high-tech R&D projects through conditional grants totaling more than $210 million. Products developed from these ventures have generated more than $8 billion in direct and indirect revenues for both countries and has helped to create an estimated 20,000 American jobs. Dr. Eli Opper, the former Israeli chair of BIRD, has said that BIRD is a strong pillar of US-Israel industrial cooperation and that the extreme success of BIRD has led Israel to adopt similar models of R&D with other countries.

Several Connecticut companies have benefited from BIRD grants, including Alcide Corp., Executone Information Systems, Lansco, Micromint, TranSwitch Corp., General DataComm, Timex, Presstek and MacDermid. Connecticut's BIRD recipients to companies total nearly $2 million.

In 2011, Hydrofera, based out of Willimantic, was awarded funding through the BIRD Foundation to team up with the Israeli-based company ART Healthcare in order to develop a device to reduce infections in intensive care units. This grant was part of over $8 million awarded by BIRD to nine new projects with companies across both the US and Israel in 2011.

One BIRD annual report highlighted a project between Middlebury­based General DataComm Industries, a leading provider of communications networks, and Orckit, an Israeli company in the forefront of High­bit­rate Digital Subscriber Line (HDSL) technology. Orckit's technical capabilities and experience designing products to meet both American and European standards attracted GDC's attention. The products they are jointly developing will allow worldwide carriers to improve and expand telecommunication services without major investments in infrastructure, such as fiberoptic cabling, according to the report.

MacDermid of Waterbury has had several BIRD grants for joint ventures with its Israeli subsidiary. One successful project was the development of a photoresist, which is used in the semiconductor industry to help make smaller and finer components. The latest grant is to produce an improved photoresist for printed circuit boards, the platform on which computer chips are mounted. Jurgen Diekmann, director of imaging systems, said the grants are a catalyst for projects because they reduce the risk of undertaking new and costly ventures.

Dr. Daniel Upp has used the BIRD grant to TranSwitch Corp. to accelerate the development of a new integrated circuit chip. This technology will be used by manufacturing firms that make transmission equipment for telephone companies.

With help from BIRD grants in 2010, VCortex Ltd. (Kiryat Gat, Israel) and Presstek Inc. (Greenwich) will combine their capabilities to design an automatic color control for digital printing, leading to more capable and more productive digital press.


Scientific Innovations

Connecticut researchers are making scientific breakthroughs and developing cutting-edge technologies in joint projects with Israeli scientists thanks to support from the Binational Science Foundation (BSF). BSF was established in 1972 to promote scientific relations and cooperation between scientists from the United States and Israel. The fund supports collaborative research projects in a wide area of basic and applied scientific field for peaceful and non-profit purposes. Since its inception, BSF has awarded some $480 million through more than 4,000 grants in 45 states and the District of Columbia.

BSF-sponsored studies are highly successful in achieving their two main goals: strengthening the US-Israel partnership through science and promoting world-class scientific research for the benefit of the two countries and all mankind. The BSF grants help extend research resources to achieve milestones that might not otherwise be attainable; introduce novel approaches and techniques to lead American researchers in new directions; confirm, clarify and intensify research projects; and provide unmatched access to Israeli equipment, facilities and research results that help speed American scientific advances. BSF has documented no less than 75 new discoveries made possible by its research grants and counts 37 Nobel Prize and 19 Lasker Medical Award laureates among its joint partners.

Scientists in Connecticut have shared with their counterparts in Israel more than $5.6 million in BSF grants awarded since 1996 alone. Yale and the University of Connecticut are among the grant recipients.

Jeffrey Kocsis is a professor of neurology at Yale Medical School doing research on proteins that are believed to be related to types of pain associated with secondary nerve injuries. He said that surgeons find that, for example, after an amputation a patient's pain goes away temporarily, but then returns later. He is trying to understand the cause of that pain so that eventually drugs might be developed to alleviate it.

“I can't emphasize enough how wonderful the BSF program is,” Kocsis said. “It fosters collaboration that would not otherwise occur and made possible an exchange of visits with my colleague that has led to a number of publications.”

The Yale Child Studies Center has had extensive collaboration with counterparts in Israel, according to Robert King. He was a scholar­in­residence at “a wonderful place” in Jerusalem run by B'nai B'rith Women, called the Residential Treatment Center, which offers residential care and psychotherapeutic treatment to severely emotionally disturbed boys.

The project he is working on with a BSF grant looks at traits in adolescents related to physical pain and suicide. Israel has a much lower suicide rate than the United States, according to King. Israelis are not as likely to abuse alcohol or suffer from conduct disorders. They do, however, feel tremendous pressure to be high achievers and those who think they have failed may be more prone to suicide. He has also found that Israelis who are more tolerant of pain are more prone to suicide. “Each year, the army screens every adolescent in Israel,” King said, “and this provides a rich source of information that allows us to prospectively study how kids with certain traits adapt.”

Yale geneticist Kenneth Kidd is trying to identify a gene for inherited deafness that will make it possible to offer genetic counseling to treat the condition. The BSF grant has allowed his colleague to study a large number of genetic markers, which have been passed on to his lab for further analysis. "The more hands working on the project, the faster it goes," he said.

Researchers Aner Shalev from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem along with Efim Zelmanov at Yale University in New Haven, understood that the sequencing of certain events is important. Using both Lie algebra and the Abelian group in their research, Shalev and Zelmanov hope to discover new findings that can be applied to the fields of physics, economics, and biology. Lie algebra consists of a group of elements in which there is a commutator (the difference between the process of a group of events in one sequence and then again in the opposite sequence). In other words, in Lie algebra, the sequence of events changes the outcome. In an Abelian group, however, the sequence has no affect on the outcome of events and the commutator is zero.

General benefits to America from BSF­sponsored 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 and early access to Israeli research results that sped American scientific advances.

 

Agriculture Benefits

In 1978 the United States and Israel jointly created the Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund (BARD) to help fund programs between US and Israeli scientists for mutually beneficial, mission-oriented, strategic and applied research into agricultural problems. Since its inception, BARD has funded more than 1,000 projects in 45 states and the District of Columbia with a total investment of more than $250 million. In 2000, an independent and external economic review of 10 BARD projects conservatively projected more than $700 million in revenue by the end of 2010, a number which far outweighs the total investment in all BARD projects over its 33 year existence and helps to continually strengthen the foundation.

Most BARD projects focus on either increasing agricultural productivity, plant and animal health or food quality and safety and have been influential in creating new technologies in drip irrigation, pesticides, fish farming, livestock, poultry, disease control and farm equipment. BARD funds projects in 45 states and the District of Columbia and at present is beginning to administer collaborative efforts between Australia, Canada and Israel as well. It is difficult to break down the impact on a state-by-state basis, but overall, BARD-sponsored research has generated sales of more than $500 million, tax revenues of more than $100 million and created more than 5,000 American jobs. Connecticut institutions, including the University of Connecticut and Yale University have shared grants worth more than $1.2 million since 1979.

Richard Crain, a professor of molecular and cell biology at the University of Connecticut at Storrs has received grants from both BARD and BSF. One project involves the investigation of what regulates the aging process (for example, why leaves lose their green color) in plants. The long­term application would be to develop improved methods for storing vegetables to retard the aging process.

A second project looks at plant responses to environmental changes. Crain wants to understand, for example, why some plants wilt easily. The study, he said, applies to plant reactions to conditions such as drought, changing light and variations in salt content.

The grants allow Crain to travel to Israel, which is important for allowing him to interact and exchange ideas with his colleagues. BARD also allowed him to hire a graduate student to work in the lab for three years. And, most important, the collaboration results in prestigious publications.

A project with implications outside Connecticut involves the study of cow reproduction. Bob Milvae of U Conn is studying structures in the ovary of cows to try to understand the biochemical messages that determine whether a calf will develop. Dairy cows only produce milk after having calves. Ideally, cows would give birth every 12 months, but today the interval is 14 months and the two-month difference costs the dairy industry millions of dollars. Milvae hopes his research will help bridge the gap.

Milvae's research may also have important implications for humans, such as understanding why women have early, spontaneous abortions even if an embryo is healthy. "I couldn't do the research without funding from BARD," Milvae said, adding that he and his collaborator have different techniques and labs and therefore benefit from looking at the problem from different perspectives.

An earlier BARD project conducted by researchers at Yale, Israel's Kimron Veterinary Institute and the USDA Plum Island Animal Diseases Center in New York, developed a test for Rift Valley Fever. This test has improved detection of a virus that infects cattle, sheep and humans in many developing countries.

 

Other Cooperative Programs

Central Connecticut State University launched an innovative learning partnership in the 2010s with leading universities in Israel as part of its international course curriculum and study-abroad opportunities.


Sister Cities

CONNECTICUT
ISRAEL

 

UJA Partnership 2000 Communities

CONNECTICUT
ISRAEL
Bridgeport
Afula - Ta'anach - Gilboa
Danbury
Afula - Ta'anach - Gilboa
Greenwich
Afula - Ta'anach - Gilboa
Hartford
Afula - Ta'anach - Gilboa
Stamford
Afula - Ta'anach - Gilboa
Waterbury
Afula - Ta'anach - Gilboa
Westport
Afula - Ta'anach - Gilboa

State Contacts:

Hillel Campus Profiles

Connecticut-Israel Exchange Commission
Dept. of Economic Development, 10 Middle St., 1st Fl.
Bridgeport, CT 06604
Tel. 203-336-8700

Dr. Israel Peleg
Trade Representative for Israel
Department of Economic & Community Development
Connecticut-Israel Exchange Commission
14 Rahavat Ilan
54056 Givat Shmuel
Tel: 03-532-5974
Fax. 03-532-2460
Email: peleg@netvision.net.il

Jewish Federation
1035 Newfield Ave., P.O. Box 3038
Stamford, CT 06905
Tel. 203-321-1373

Jewish Federation
360 Amity Road
Woodbridge, CT 06525
Tel. 203-387-2424

Jewish Federation
333 Bloomfield Avenue
West Hartford, CT 06117
Tel. 860-232-4483

Jewish Federation Association of Connecticut
40 Woodland Street
Hartford, CT 06105
Tel. 860-418-5701

Jewish Federation Of Eastern Connecticut
28 Channing Street
New London, CT 06320-5702
Tel. 860-442-8062

Jewish Federation Greater Danbury
105 Newtown Road
Danbury, CT 06810-4114
Tel. 203-792-6353

Jewish Federation of Eastern Fairfield County
4200 Park Avenue
Bridgeport, CT 06604
Tel. 204-372-6567

Jewish Federation of Eastern Fairfield County
4200 Park Avenue
Bridgeport, CT 06604
Tel. 203-372-6567

Jewish Federation Of Greater Hartford
333 Bloomfield Avenue
W Hartford, CT 06117-1544
Tel. 860-232-4483

Jewish Federation Greater New Haven
360 Amity Road
Bethany, CT 06524-3407
Tel. 203-387-2424

Jewish Federation Of Greenwich
600 W Putnam Avenue
Greenwich, CT 06830-6080
Tel. 203-622-1434

Jewish Federation Of Waterbury
100 Williamson Drive
Waterbury, CT 06710-1134
Tel. 203-756-7234

Jewish Federation of Greater Waterbury
73 Main St. South
Woodbury, CT 06798-3404
Tel. 203-263-5121


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