State-to-State Cooperation: Colorado and Israel
Trade and Population Statistics
|Exports to Israel (2022)||
|Percentage Change (2021-2022)||
|Total Exports to Israel (1996-Present)||
|Israel’s Trade Partner Rank (2022)||29|
|Colorado’s Rank as Exporter to Israel (2022)||33|
|Military Contracts with Israel (2015)||
|Jewish Population (2022)||
|Jewish Percentage of Population||
Binational Foundation Grants
|Agricultural Research & Development (1979-Present)||
|Science & Technology (1999-Present)||
|Industrial Research & Development (1977-Present)||
|Total Binational Grants||
Grant Recipients in Colorado From U.S.-Israel Binational Foundations
Agricultural Research Center, Western Region
Aspen Center for Physics
Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes
City and County of Denver
Colorado School of Mines
Colorado State University
National Center for Atmospheric Research
National Institute of Standards & Technology
National Jewish Center for Immunology & Respiratory Medicine
National Jewish Hospital
National Jewish Medical & Research Center
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration
National Renewable Energy Lab
Solar Energy Research Institute
University of Colorado
University of Colorado Medical School
University Corporation for Atmospheric Research
U.S. Geological Survey
U.S. West Interactive Services
Colorado-Israel Chamber of Commerce:
The CICC was formed by a group of Colorado business and civic leaders to help foster economic and business development opportunities between Colorado and Israel. Among the objectives of the Chamber is to help Colorado businesses identify development and investment opportunities in Israel; to provide Colorado businesses a point for facilitating the import of technology, intellectual capability, and goods and services from Israel; and to assist Israel in formulating public policy and incentives that will attract investment by Colorado firms.
The Colorado House of Representatives passed HB-16-284 on February 26, 2015. The legislation orders the state Public Employee Retirement Association (PERA) to identify all companies that participate in the BDS movement and add their names to a list of restricted companies. The bill then requires PERA to send notice to the company alerting them of their status, and if the company does not stop supporting BDS activities within 180 days of notification the legislation requires PERA to divest from that company. This list of restricted companies is to be reviewed on an annual basis. The legislation was signed into law by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper on March 18, 2016.
In July 2010, Governor Bill Ritter and Professor Pedro Berliner of Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research (BIDR) in Israel’s Negev desert signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the stated goal being to “encourage voluntary interaction and cooperation and to promote friendship between the two parties for their mutual benefit.” After signing the MOU, together with President of Colorado State University Anthony Frank, Governor Ritter spoke about the importance of Colorado and Israeli collaboration. “This agreement builds upon our mutual interests and common fields of research in fields such as water, biotechnology, and solar energy,” Gov. Ritter said. “These are quality of life issues for the people of Colorado.”
During a government mission to Israel in the summer of 2010, Colorado’s Department of Natural Resources and Agriculture signed an MOU with the Desert Agro Research Center in Israel that is focused on water and agriculture research and development in arid and semi-arid climates. “Water will be one of the most important economic drivers for Colorado as we continue to grow,” Gov. Ritter said. “Colorado and Israel can learn from each other on water technologies such as desalination, treatment, and conservation.”
Also, in July 2010, the Colorado School of Mines agreed to establish workforce-development ties with Noble Energy and the Israel Institute of Technology (Technion) to help develop the discovery of a vast natural gas reserve off Israel’s coast. Israel lacks the workforce to develop such a project, and CSM will jointly help in the overall development.
Colorado Government Missions to Israel
August 2012 - Senator Michael Bennet traveled to Israel where he participated in an educational seminar on foreign policy and national security issues related to the U.S.-Israeli relationship; visited various cultural, historic, and political sites; and met with government officials, business leaders, military leaders, and experts. On his trip, Sen. Bennet visited Sderot, Tel Aviv, the Golan Heights, and the West Bank.
August 2011 - Congressmen Ed Perlmutter and Scott Tipton accompanied the 81-member Congressional delegation to Israel to learn more about regional politics and the U.S.-Israel relationship.
July 2010 - Colorado Governor Bill Ritter led an economic development mission to Israel in 2010 together with a delegation of administration officials and more than a dozen Colorado businesspeople and community personalities. The mission focused on job creation, exchanging knowledge, and building bilateral partnerships in such innovative fields as energy, clean-tech, and water. Looking back at the mission, in which the delegation signed a number of MOUs and met with top Israeli officials such as President Shimon Peres, Gov. Ritter said it was “a success on all fronts- business, academic, and research.”
September 2009 - Colorado Congresswoman Betsy Markey made her first-ever trip to Israel and got a first-hand look at the realities of living in the Middle East. During the trip, Markey met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, and a number of other high-ranking government officials. After returning from the mission, Markey commented on her understanding of Israel’s role in international relations, especially due to the fact that it is a “beacon of democracy” in the region. She also mentioned that Israel has every right to exist and defend itself from hostile neighbors.
Colorado Formalizes Support for Israel
On March 18, 2011, Colorado’s legislative leaders- both Republicans and Democrats- came together to honor Israel by passing Senate Joint Resolution 11-027 that proclaims “continued support by the Colorado General Assembly for a strong relationship between the United States and Israel.” Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, stopped in both chambers of the Legislature to witness the reading and passage of the resolution. Senate President Brandon Shaffer (D-Longmont) spoke about the connection between the state of Colorado and Israel. “We share with Israel not only a mutual friendship but mutual economic and trade interests. Today, Colorado boasts more than $36 million in annual exports to Israel. Tomorrow, and in the years ahead we hope to grow this trade relationship many times over. It was wonderful to hear Democrats and Republicans share their fond stories and feelings about Israel, and we look forward to growing our friendship.”
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.
Today’s interdependent global economy requires that trade policy be developed at the national and state level.
Many states have recognized the opportunity to realize significant benefits by seeking to increase trade with Israel. Colorado is one of 33 states that have cooperative agreements with Israel.
In 2022, Colorado exported nearly $51 million worth of manufacturing goods to Israel. Since 1996, Colorado’s exports to Israel have totaled more than $1 billion and Israel now ranks as Colorado’s 29th leading trade partner. Colorado ranks 33rd among all states in exports to Israel.
Additionally, in 2015, Colorado companies received more than $18 million in foreign military financing (FMF) to provide materiel for the Israeli Defense Forces. Since 1996, Colorado companies have received nearly $223 million in FMF. These include Aerospace Technologies in Boulder, Conduant Corporation in Longmont, LITEYE SYSTEMS, Inc. in Centennial, and InfoTrust Inc. in Colorado Springs.
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 Colorado.
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.
Colorado has also received more than $4.4 million worth of grants from binational U.S.-Israel foundations for joint research in science, agriculture, and the promotion of commercial ventures.
A variety 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 Colorado is limited only by the imagination.
Colorado 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 high-technology areas, Israel provides excellent investment opportunities. Some of the nation's largest companies, such as IBM, Microsoft, Motorola, Intel, and McDonald’s, have found that it is indeed profitable to do business in Israel.
More than 80 Colorado companies have discovered the benefits of doing business in Israel, including Cryenco, Translogic Corp., and Golden Software.
Lisa Sanchez said that her company, Cryenco Incorporated, deals with Israel through government contracts. Just last year, they began exporting tanks used for liquid oxygen and nitrogen but have already found Israel to be a good business market and have had an easy time doing business there.
Translogic is a light material handling company. The company sells computerized pneumatic tube systems that move materials under 10 pounds to hospitals in Israel, according to international business development specialist Steve Leazengood. These may be used for transporting lab samples that are used within a pharmacy or around the hospital. Translogic has been selling these items to both big and small hospitals in Israel for more than 20 years. “Israel is a mature market in many senses of the word,” said Leazengood. “They have a high degree of technological know-how and their appreciation of technology is evident.”
Golden Software is a computer graphics retailer. They have been selling their products—mainly two and three-dimensional scientific software used for graphing and contouring—to Israel for at least five to eight years. Patti Dierking, Director of Operations, said Israel is one of 120 countries where its products are sold. Dierking added that Golden Software has never had a problem dealing with its Israeli buyers and has had a fine working relationship.
In the medical field, Rocky Mountain Instrument Corporation has been exporting laser optics that are used in eye surgery to Israel for several years, according to one sales representative. Valleylab exports hospital supplies to Israel, such as electrical, surgical, and ultrasonic equipment.
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). 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 companies 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 1977, the Foundation has approved investments of more than $125 million in more than 1,000 projects in 36 states and the District of Columbia. Hundreds of companies, including AOL, GE, BP Solar, Texas Instruments, and Johnson & Johnson, have benefited from BIRD grants.
Dr. Eli Opper, the former Israeli chair of BIRD, has said that BIRD is a strong pillar of U.S.-Israel industrial cooperation and that the extreme success of BIRD has led Israel to adopt similar models of R&D with other countries.
Several companies in Colorado have taken advantage of the BIRD grants, which have totaled more than $2 million since 1980. These include Clonetics Corporation, Daisy/Cadnetix Inc., and U.S. WEST Media Group.
US WEST Media Group is a domestic and international cable and telephony, wireless communication, and directory and information systems company. The company teamed up with VDOnet Corporation, the leading Israeli provider of real-time video for the Internet. They received a BIRD grant to develop public/private parallel networks for the Internet that will allow cable operators to provide a higher quality, lower cost service than is now available through standard telephone modems or ISDN. The new technology will make it possible to offer video applications, such as video telephones and video email, which require the higher bandwidth provided by cable modems.
Colorado 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 fields for peaceful and non-profit purposes.
Since its inception, and in today’s value, BSF has awarded over $700 million to more than 5,000 research projects involving thousands of scientists from more than 400 U.S. institutions located in 46 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. Many of these projects have led to important scientific, medical, and technological breakthroughs with wide-ranging practical applications.
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
Colorado State, the University of Colorado, and NOAA are among the many Colorado institutions that have received more than $1 million in grants from BSF.
Dr. William Cotton, a professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University, is collaborating with Professor Zev Levin at Tel Aviv University to determine the process responsible for creating haze in the Dead Sea area. “If we can understand the processes in the Dead Sea, then maybe we can help the situation in the Salt Lake City area,” said Professor Cotton. Their collaboration basically consists of exchanging modeling codes. Cotton shows his Israeli counterparts how to use the Regional Modeling Atmospheric Systems (RAMS) and Israel gives Colorado access to their codes. The two scientists had been working together for five years previously, “so this project was a natural continuation,” said Cotton. They have also worked together on research sponsored by the Department of Energy and other organizations.
University of Colorado Professor James Jankowski is studying “ethnic relations in 20th century Egypt.” Together with his collaborator, Israel Gershoni of Tel Aviv University, they are exploring the relationship and social and political tensions between different communities in Egypt, such as the Muslims, Jews, and Egyptians. Their objective is to produce a manuscript that offers new insights into the relationship between various ethnic communities in modern Egypt. In Israel, Gershoni has students doing field work, conducting interviews and making site observations. Both professors will also visit Egypt as part of their research. Jankowski and Gershoni have worked together on three previous projects and Jankowski says, “we work well together.”
Chemist David Nesbitt of the University of Colorado is working with Benny Gerber of Hebrew University to study gas surface state-to-state inelastic scattering. This relates to the way molecules strike a surface and either stick or doesn’t stick. “This is of considerable importance in semiconductor manufacturing and in ozone depletion,” said Nesbitt. “The dynamics at the interface are important in understanding cell membranes, manufacturing batteries, corrosion, and friction.”
Gerber is doing the theoretical aspect of the research, while Nesbitt is conducting experiments on thin films of molecules as they sublime into a vacuum. Sublimation is the process in chemical physics when a solid goes into a gas phase. By doing reverse physics, he can see the molecules transform from gas to a condensed state, and this allows him to understand the condensation phenomenon.
“In my personal experience, the most powerful thing to do is to encourage scientists to get away from their own lab and get into other labs because that’s where the real connections are made,” says Nesbitt. “The amount of funds may be small, but they can steer a significant amount of research and catalyze new ideas. A small amount of money can be extremely cost-effective. The people I’ve dealt with resulting from this grant have been extremely good collaborators and the [BSF] program should absolutely be continued and supported.”
Roger Pielke, a professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State, is studying with his Israeli collaborator how winds develop over Lake Kinneret in Israel. Practical applications of this experiment include the knowledge and insight of what may happen if, for example, there is a pollution spill in the Kinneret. Since Lake Kinneret has a breeze over it, their models may help provide information on where the pollution will move and how to eradicate it. The collaborators used a Regional Atmospheric Modeling System that was developed at Colorado State. Because Lake Kinneret is a relatively small area to model, it is easy to develop a technique, said Pielke.
The two scientists, along with a third colleague at Rutgers, have had long professional and personal relationships. “Our research cooperation has continued over a long time and will undoubtedly continue into the future. One good thing about the BSF grant was that it allowed me to travel to Israel and interact with the students,” said Pielke. He added that the research collaboration has continued even though their BSF project was completed.
This is not the first time that Professor Albert Myers of Colorado State University and Alfred Hassner of Bar-Ilan University have worked together. They have known each other since they both worked at Harvard 30 years ago. In 1997, they received a BSF grant for a chemistry project relating to generating optically active compounds that are important in the synthesis of new pharmaceuticals. This research could have important applications for companies developing new drugs. According to Meyers, most of the chemical experimentation will take place in Israel. Myers will visit Israel, and his lab will provide support services and instruments. He added, “this will be a fruitful cooperation because Hassner is an excellent scientist and we have excellent equipment. Between his ability and our ability to support his work, we will be able to come up with some meaningful products that will be helpful to the pharmaceutical industry both in the U.S. and Israel.”
Twentieth-century physics has been able to understand different forces of gravity, elector-magnetic force, and strong and weak nuclear forces. But what forces bring the molecules together and how exactly do these particles change into other particles? Scientists Ram Brustein from Ben-Gurion University in Be’er Sheva, and Senarath P. de Alwis of the University of Colorado in Boulder are collaborating on a deeper understanding of string theory. String theory postulates that particles are string-like or one-dimensional, and possibly have many dimensions.
BSF-sponsored studies benefit the United States by extending research resources to achieve milestones that might not otherwise be attainable; introducing novel approaches and techniques that can lead American researchers to move in new directions; confirming, clarifying and intensifying research projects; providing access to Israeli equipment and facilities and early access to Israeli research results that speed American scientific advances. BSF documented no less than 75 new discoveries that probably would not have been possible without foundation-supported collaboration.
In 1978, the United States and Israel jointly created the Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund (BARD) to help fund programs between U.S. and Israeli scientists for mutually beneficial, mission-oriented, strategic, and applied research into agricultural problems. Since its inception, BARD has awarded more than $130 million to U.S. institutions for 1,352 joint projects. A 40-year review in 2019 involving 20 case studies estimated the foundation’s contribution to the U.S. economy at $2.7 billion. BARD research has resulted in the adoption of approximately 200 new agricultural practices, around 40 commercial engagements, and approximately 100 patents and breeding rights licenses.
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 administers 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.
Colorado State and the University of Colorado at Boulder faculty have been doing joint research projects with Israel conducted under the auspices of BARD. They have received grants worth more than $1.3 million.
James DeMartini of Colorado State and his Israeli collaborators’ main goal was to prepare a DNA vaccine for sheep viral infection. “Overall,” he said, “the project was quite satisfactory. Our approach to the new vaccine didn’t work out but we gained new insight into virus-host interaction.” DeMartini said the BARD program allowed him to work with capable Israeli scientists who had mutual interests.
Colorado State researchers have also collaborated with Hebrew University to study Trichoderma fungus species that can prevent fungus-related diseases in emerging seeds and young plants. The researchers have developed new methods for growing these fungi, which they’ve patented. Conventionally produced Trichodermas have already been approved for commercial use by the Food and Drug Administration.
While pesticides are needed in modern agriculture, they have also become a contamination problem of rural water resources. For example, sorghum, a major crop in Colorado, is sensitive to bromacil and terbacil, common agricultural herbicides. BARD researchers developed a new, economical procedure for diminishing water-born pesticides using the sun. In the laboratory, scientists tested 69 dye sensitizers that can oxidize pesticides when activated by visible light. After testing the pesticide breakdown products, they found that these treatments were harmless and permitted normal germination and seed growth. After these lab tests, a prototype Solar Wastewater Disinfection Plant was built that achieved the goal of removing injected pesticides. In addition, the BARD solar process destroyed 99.9% of most bacterial pathogens in the sewage within two hours.
Colorado produces more than $100 million worth of potatoes a year. New potato plants are started from the “eyes” of seed potatoes. This method of reproduction allows for the transmission of debilitating viral diseases, such as potato leaf-roll virus (PLRV), from generation to generation, with substantial economic loss. For example, downgrading U.S. Grade #1 potatoes to U.S. Grade #2 means a loss of $400-600 per ton to the farmer. Thus, assuring virus-free seed potatoes is extremely profitable to the industry. BARD grantees improved techniques for extracting useable virus samples from diseased plants and the samples were then injected into rabbits and sheep to stimulate the production of antiviral antibodies. The grantees then used their antibodies to develop a test that could detect many different strains. The same method used in this process is also used in pregnancy test kits. The new test, both cheaper and more general than its predecessors, is now produced and distributed free of charge to certain agencies. A diagnostic kit is also sold commercially to farmers through a U.S. agricultural firm. The rate of PLRV infections has dropped drastically since the invention of this new test.
Colorado also benefits from BARD research done elsewhere in the country. BARD grantees in Georgia, for example, have been studying CO2, a normal component of the air we breathe, and demonstrated that it is a viable non-toxic alternative to other gases that leave toxic residues in stored grains and are believed to cause damage to the ozone layer, to the fumigation of stored grains. These methods are already being applied by several commercial firms in the U.S. and Israel, and wheat-producing states, such as Colorado, are likely to benefit.
A team of agricultural economists from the University of Maryland and the University of California found that the economic benefits of just five projects — related to cotton, pecans, and solarization — exceeded all U.S. investment in BARD. New projects promote increased quantity and improved quality of agricultural produce.
Other Cooperative Programs
Biking for Kids Under Fire - Program created by a number of Jewish youth organizations in Denver that raises money that will be put towards purchasing bikes, helmets, and bicycle repairs for children in the Israeli town Kibbutz Nahal Oz. This Denver-based group of children recognized the daily struggles that kids their age at Kibbutz Nahal Oz endure in the form of Hamas rocket attacks, and are sending their support one bike at a time.
UJA Partnership 2000 Communities
Kiryat Milacha - Hof Ashkelon
Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado
Jewish Federation of Colorado
300 South Dahlia St.
Denver, CO 80222
Branches of Colorado Jewish Federations:
25 Broadway, Suite 1700
New York, NY 10004-1010
E-mail: [email protected]
300 South Dahlia Street, Suite 300
Denver, CO 80246-8118
E-mail: [email protected]
|Fort Collins Network
25 Broadway, Suite 1700
New York, NY 10004-1010
E-mail: [email protected]
25 Broadway, Suite 1700
New York, NY 10004-1010
E-mail: [email protected]
25 Broadway, Suite 1700
New York, NY 10004-1010
E-mail: [email protected]
Sources: World Institute for Strategic Economic Research.
Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation (BIRD).
United States-Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund (BARD).
United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF).