State-to-State Cooperation: Connecticut and Israel
Trade and Population Statistics
|Exports to Israel (2021)|| |
|Percentage Change (2020-2021)|| |
|Total Exports to Israel (1996-Present)|| |
|Israel’s Trade Partner Rank (2021)|| |
|Connecticut’s Rank as Exporter to Israel (2021)|
|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 Connecticut From U.S.-Israel Binational Foundations
|Alcide Corp. |
Canberra Industries Inc.
CAS Medical Systems Inc.
Corometrics Medical Inc.
Executone Information Systems
Kollmorgen Motion Tech.
|Packet/PC Inc. |
University of Connecticut
University of Connecticut Med School
VA Medical Center
Yale Medical School
Connecticut - Israel Exchange Commission- Established in the late 1980s 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 through State Representative David Baram is hoping to resurrect CONNIX.
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.
Connecticut Government Missions to Israel
February 2022 - For the first time in 25 years a governor of Connecticut visited Israel. “It’s the most innovative country in the world,” Gov. Ned Lamont told Jewish Insider.
He added, “Tel Aviv is just the most compelling city in the world, certainly in the region… Jerusalem’s got a lot of growth going on there as well,” he said. “It sort of defies the sort of traditional Middle Eastern stereotypes… this is one of the most dynamic, modern, contemporary economies in the world and you’ve got to see it to believe it.”
The delegation included representatives from Raytheon, Hartford HealthCare, the Digital Currency Group, the Jewish Federation Association of Connecticut, the University of Connecticut, the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, and Connecticut Innovations, the state’s venture capital firm. They met with businesses including food manufacturer Strauss Group, VC firm Vintage Investment Partners, tech investment group Viola Ventures, investment platform OurCrowd and biotech firm Future Meat Technologies.
The University of Connecticut signed a memorandum of understanding with The Technion during the trip.
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.”
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.
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, 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. Connecticut is one of 33 states that have cooperative agreements with Israel.
In 2021, Connecticut exported more than $224 million worth of manufacturing goods to Israel. Since 1996, Connecticut's exports to Israel have totaled more than $3.1 billion and Israel now ranks as Connecticut’s 15th leading trade partner. Connecticut ranks 13th among all states in exports to Israel.
Additionally, in 2015, Connecticut companies received more than $25 million in foreign military financing (FMF) to provide materiel for the Israeli Defense Forces. Since 1996, Connecticut companies have received more than $900 million in FMF. These 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.
Connecticut has also received more than $6.8 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 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.
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 principal contractors in a 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 principal 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.
Israeli medical software company DreaMed Diabetes announced a partnership with Yale New Haven Health System in March 2021 to use artificial intelligence (AI) in monitoring insulin and glucose levels in children with Type 1 diabetes, a condition that afflicts around 600,000 children worldwide.
DreaMed co-founder and CEO Eran Atlas told Reuters collaborating with Yale could encourage the U.S. health system to adopt AI-based technologies. The company’s dose-optimization software will be tested on 100 diabetic children at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital. It is designed to give patients information to adjust insulin doses in five minutes.
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 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 in more than 1,000 projects, which have yielded direct and indirect revenues of more than $10 billion. More than $125 million worth of grants has been approved for projects in 37 states and the District of Columbia.
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 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 more than $2.2 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 U.S. 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 at 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 fiber optic 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 a more capable and more productive digital press.
Oxitone Medical in Kfar Saba and Cigna Corporation in Hartford also received a BIRD grant to develop a digital continuous care platform.
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 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.
Scientists in Connecticut have received more than $3.1 million in BSF grants. 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 effect 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.
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 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 received grants worth more than $1.4 million.
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.
UJA Partnership 2000 Communities
Afula - Ta’anach - Gilboa
Afula - Ta’anach - Gilboa
Afula - Ta’anach - Gilboa
Afula - Ta’anach - Gilboa
Afula - Ta’anach - Gilboa
Afula - Ta’anach - Gilboa
Afula - Ta’anach - Gilboa
Connecticut-Israel Exchange Commission
Dept. of Economic Development, 10 Middle St., 1st Fl.
Bridgeport, CT 06604
Dr. Israel Peleg
Trade Representative for Israel
Department of Economic & Community Development
Connecticut-Israel Exchange Commission
14 Rahavat Ilan
54056 Givat Shmuel
Email: [email protected]
Jewish Federation Association of Connecticut
Jewish Federation Of Eastern Connecticut
Jewish Federation Greater Danbury
Jewish Federation of Eastern Fairfield County
Jewish Federation of Eastern Fairfield County
Jewish Federation Of Greater Hartford
Jewish Federation Greater New Haven
Jewish Federation Of Greenwich
Jewish Federation Of Waterbury
Jewish Federation of Greater Waterbury
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).
Steven Scheer, “Israel’s DreaMed, Yale team up on AI diabetes monitoring,” Reuters, (March 15, 2021).
Marc Rod, “Just back from Israel, Lamont touts business ties,” Jewish Insider, (March 2, 2022).