Exports to Israel (2016)
Percentage Change (2015-2016)
Total Exports to Israel (1996-Present)
Israel's Trade Partner Rank (2016)
Military Contracts with Israel (2012)
Jewish Population (2016)
Jewish Percentage of Population
Agricultural Research & Development (1979-Present)
Science & Technology (1996-Present)
Industrial Research & Development (1977-Present)
Total Binational Grants
Grant recipients in Pennsylvania from U.S.-Israel binational foundations:
Allegheny Research Institute
Penn State University
Bilateral Institutions top
America-Israel Chamber of Commerce Central Atlantic Region - Established in 1987, AICC-CAR , is an independent, member-based, not-for-profit network of business professionals who share an interest in furthering business relationships among each other and between the Greater Philadelphia Region and Israel. Our offices are located in Philadelphia, and we serve constituents in Southeastern PA, the Lehigh Valley as well as locations in neighboring states. AICC’s mission is to provide members with relevant intelligence on Israel's economy and markets; present opportunities for trade and investment; cultivate an intimate network of like-minded business professionals; and connect companies in Israel and in the U.S. Learn more about the AICC Central Atlantic Region based in Philadelphia, CLICK HERE.
Cooperative Agreements - "Memoranda of Understanding" top
In June 1997, Governor Tom Ridge signed Pennsylvania's first cooperative agreement with Israel, noting that "good trade makes good friends." The objective of the five year pact was to “seek to enhance technological research and economic development as well as to increase cultural awareness in order to promote a deeper understanding of shared values through the economy, arts, technology and education.”
Pennsylvania Government Missions to Israel top
August 2011 - Congressman Mark Critz traveled to Israel as part of an 81 member delegation to meet with top Israeli officials and learn more about the U.S.-Israel relationship. To learn more about the mission, CLICK HERE.
February 2006 - Philadelphia and Pennsylvania state law enforcement, security and public service officials were sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia for an educational mission to Israel to learn more about anti-terror security. The delegation of security officials focused on Israel’s anti-terror security procedures, facilities, and response tactics -- providing valuable information and hands-on experiences that can help enhance local homeland security and medical facility preparedness. In the buildup to the trip, Governor Ed Rendell commetted on its importance. “Israel’s leadership in security preparedness and effectiveness is recognized worldwide," said Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell. “Now our security professionals will have a unique opportunity to meet with key security officials in Israel, exchange information and receive hands-on experience to learn anti-terror security measures that can significantly benefit Pennsylvania’s homeland security programs.” Read more, CLICK HERE.
July 1999 - Pennsylvania Attorney General Mike Fisher joined eight other attorneys general for a trip to Israel. The participants in the mission went to explore U.S.-Israel cooperation in legal affairs and discussed issues including youth violence, the death penalty, and extradition laws.
May 1998 - Gov. Tom Ridge led a technology trade mission to Israel and signed an agreement to create high-tech business incubators and family-sustaining jobs in Pennsylvania and Israel. The agreement will assist high-tech start-up firms by offering them low-cost or free office space; shared administrative services; development of targeted programs to stimulate joint ventures and research and development; investment banking and venture capital financing; marketing; networking and personnel recruiting. Pennsylvania also opened a trade office in Jerusalem.
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. Pennsylvania is one of 33 states that have cooperative agreements with Israel.
In 2012, Pennsylvania exported over $224,678,260 worth of manufacturing goods to Israel. Since 1996, Pennsylvania exports to Israel have totaled more than $2,681,328,417 and Israel now ranks as Pennsylvania’s 10th leading trade partner.
Additionally in 2012, Pennsylvania received more than $30,273,510.43 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: Streamlight, Inc. in Eagleville, Columbus McKinnon Corporation in Pittsburgh and Pall Aeropower Corporation in Philadelphia.
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 Pennsylvania.
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 Pennsylvania is limited only by the imagination.
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 high-technology areas, Israel provides excellent investment opportunities. Some of the nation's largest companies, such as IBM, Microsoft, Motorola, Intel and National Semiconductor have found that it is indeed profitable to do business in Israel.
More than 350 Pennsylvania companies have also discovered the benefits of trade with Israel. Several own interests in Israeli companies or have subsidiaries there, including Ecogen, Kulicke & Soffa Industries and Vishay Intertechnology.
The Philadelphia-Israel Chamber of Commerce provides information about trade opportunities and helps match Israeli and Pennsylvania companies that are interested in cooperative ventures.
Another 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.
Sixteen Pennsylvania companies have benefited from more than $4.6 million in BIRD grants over the last three decades, including Kulicke & Soffa Industries, Ecogen, General Instrument Corp. and PDQ Industries.
In 2011, the hit American television show "Glee" featured the Israeli invented ReWalk™ that was designed with the help of a grant from the BIRD Foundation. The ReWalk™ which was jointly developed by the Technion incubator SCP-Vitalife in Israel and Allied Orthopedics in the US, is the name for an exoskeleton that enables wheelchair-bound users with lower limb disabilities to walk. Since December 2010, the ReWalk™ technology has been engaged in clinical trials as MossRehab in Philadelphia. Thanks to BIRD and joint research conducted in the US and Israel, miracles such as this can help millions of people around the world. Read a short press release on the ReWalk™, CLICK HERE.
In 2010, BIRD provided matching funds to Purolite, Inc., a Bala Cynwyd, PA based resin manufacturer and Israel’s Transbiodiesel to jointly manufacture and market biocatalysts to replace chemicals for diesel production with Israeli start-up Transbiodiesel. Chemical catalysts have significant environmental and operational drawbacks with substantial impact on cost-effectiveness that are eliminated by enzyme-based catalysts.
Also in 2010 BIRD awarded one of five grants specifically for Cooperative Clean Energy Projects to OMAT Ltd. of Jerusalem and General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems, Inc. located locally in Scranton, Pennsylvania. This cooperative project will aim to develop and implement a system to monitor, control, and economize energy consumption in metal machining industries.
In 2009, BIRD began making grants up to $1 million and approved projects in Pennsylvania with area companies including: Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., Arkema, Inc., B. Braun, Inc. and Purolite, Inc.
Ecogen Inc. is an agricultural biotechnology company specializing in the development and marketing of biological products to control plant pests and pathogens. The company received a BIRD grant to work with its subsidiary, Ecogen Israel Partnership, on the development of a new fungal agent to protect grapes, ornamental flowers and grapes. The product is now awaiting final EPA approval.
"BIRD brought together the resources of Israelis and Americans and expedited the research and development of the product," said John McIntyre, Ecogen's vice president of business development. "The grant enhanced the rate of technology transfer."
Orbit Advanced Technologies used a BIRD grant for a joint venture with its Israeli subsidiary to develop an automatic near-field antenna measurement system. The project combined the Israeli company's hardware manufacturing with the American side's expertise in software design.
“BIRD made the bridge between the two companies quicker and more economical,” according to Orbit President Yossi Harlev. “The grant also softened the risk of undertaking the project. Since you don't always know ahead of time if a product will succeed, BIRD made the project economical.” Harlev said the product was finished a year ago and the company is already beginning to pay back the grant from its profits.
In 2013, BIRD granted funding to Freshpoint Quality Assurance Ltd (Israel) and West Pharmaceutical Services(Pennsylvania) to jointly develop novel printable integrated threshold indicators for monitoring the quality of unit level pharmaceutical products.
Scientific Innovations top
Pennsylvania 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.
Institutions in Pennsylvania have shared with their counterparts in Israel more than $9 million in BSF grants awarded since 1996 alone. Drexel, Carnegie-Mellon, Temple, Bryn Mawr, Hahnemann, Haverford, Penn State and the University of Pennsylvania are among the grant recipients.
Charles Swindell, a chemist at Bryn Mawr University is working with a pharmacologist in Israel to develop a better understanding of the way a new anti-tumor drug called Taxol works. Currently, the drug is used to treat ovarian tumors, but Swindell noted that evidence suggests it may also help people with tumors in the lung and breast. “By better understanding Taxol,” Swindell says, “it may be possible to assist in the future development of more effective drugs to treat tumors.” He called the project a “truly collaborative one, where neither piece could be done without the other.”
At Carnegie-Mellon, physicist James Russ has been working for two years with a colleague at Tel Aviv University to develop equipment that will precisely measure the energy of photons that comes from atomic debris. One practical application may be to improve the precision of devices that are difficult to calibrate, such as CAT scanners. "This is a real team project," Russ noted.
Chemist Irwin Rose of the Fox Chase Cancer Center collaborated with an Israeli biologist on a study of how protein is broken down in a cell. Rose said many medical problems are associated with inadequate protein breakdown and their research may provide a better understanding of degenerative diseases in humans.
Researchers Ze'ev Seltzer from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem along with his colleague Professor Gary Bennett from Allegheny University in Philadelphia may have discovered the genes that cause chronic pain and additional genes that cause related symptoms including depression, anxiety, and epilepsy. Seltzer and Bennett are researching the cause of chronic pain.
The general 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.
Agriculture Benefits top
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.
Pennsylvania institutions have shared grants worth more than $2.29 million since 1979. The Fox Chase Cancer Center, Monell Chemical Senses Center and U.S. Department of Agriculture research labs have received grants.
Roland Kallen, a professor in the School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, collaborated with a group of scientists from California, Washington and Israel on a BARD sponsored project that examined the production of non-hazardous insecticides. The group's work is not yet completed, though they have made great strides toward developing a new class of insecticides that are highly effective, not harmful to animals and humans, and environmentally friendly; research that has generated much interest in the scientific community worldwide. This research has been on-going for nearly two decades and, as this is very important to the farming industry in both the US and Israel, BARD continues to support the project today. With the increase in insecticides used by farmers across both countries, they are raising pollutant levels and, by sheer irony, also increasing incest resistance to these agents. The insecticide the scientists are making will nullify these ill effects. Read more about this important project, CLICK HERE.
Beverly Cowart, a psychologist at the Monell Chemical Senses Center, worked with chemists at Hebrew University and the Agricultural Research Organization in Haifa to study the enhancing purity of spice flavor in herbs.
Israelis have been heat-shocking apples and found that this process inhibited the fruit's growth. Peter Irwin used money from BARD to buy a special probe for the USDA lab, and time to do spectroscopy in an effort to help the Israelis understand the inhibition of ripening fruit.
In an older BARD study, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that inert fats in the diet of cows boosted milk fat and protein quality, while improving reproduction and the general health of the animals. According to the BARD publication Partnership for Tomorrow, inert fats have subsequently become part of commercial rations in both nations.
A joint BARD project between researchers in Israel and at Penn State, Michigan State and the University of Delaware led to the invention of a new machine for harvesting peppers.
Some of the benefits to Pennsylvania from BARD research are more indirect. For example, BARD grantees have developed guidelines for vaccines to prevent egg production losses due to infection and DNA-probes that can detect the onset of disease. These innovations can lead to significant savings for Pennsylvania's multimillion dollar egg industry.
BARD grantees have also developed techniques to help preserve the color, taste and texture of apples, one of the State's important crops.
Other Cooperative Programs top
In May 1998, the University City Science Center in Philadelphia signed an agreement with the Technion that will allow Israeli start-up companies to locate in the Science Center, and Pennsylvania start-ups to have incubator space at the Technion.
eV Products of Pittsburgh is collaborating with GE Medical Systems of Wisconsin and ISORAD of Israel on a $2.2 million project funded by the U.S.-Israel Science & Technology Commission to develop high performance imaging cameras for medicine.
Pennsylvania schools also have ongoing relationships with counterparts in Israel. Temple University in Philadelphia has a relationship with Tel Aviv University Law School, and Philadelphia’s Drexel University has a presence in Israel as well.
Sister Cities: top
UJA Partnership 2000 Communities:
State Contacts: top
The America-Israel Chamber of Commerce
Central Atlantic Region
200 South Broad St., #700
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Email. [email protected]
225 S. 15th St., 8th Fl.
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition
204 State St.
Harrisburg, PA 17101
Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development
c/o Atid EDI Ltd.
Bldg. 2, Har Hotzvim, P.O. Box 45005
Email. [email protected]