|Exports to Israel (2022)
|Percentage Change (2021-2022)
|Total Exports to Israel (1996-Present)
|Israel’s Trade Partner Rank (2022)
|Florida’s Rank as Exporter to Israel (2022)
|Military Contracts with Israel (2015)
|Jewish Population (2022)
|Jewish Percentage of Population
|BARD - Agricultural Research & Development (1979-Present)
|BSF - Science & Technology (1999-Present)
|BIRD - Industrial Research & Development (1977-Present)
|Total Binational Grants
Grant Recipients in Florida from U.S.-Israel Binational Foundations
Agricultural Research Center, Gainesville
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
America-Israel Chamber Florida Chapter - Established in 1993 by a group of Florida industrialists, entrepreneurs, and business professionals, the Florida Chapter of the AIC sponsors events and offers networking opportunities that promote and enhance business-to-business connections between Florida to Israel and Israel to Florida. The Chamber assists in promoting trade and joint business ventures between Israel and Florida. The Chamber has a Business Development Department, which can help you regarding your specific business needs. The Chamber has assisted with the relocation and recruitment of many major companies to establish businesses in Florida as well as in Israel. The Chambers’ network is designed to connect companies in all industries.
Florida-Israel Business Forum - The FIBF was incorporated in 2008 as a private, nonprofit, non-governmental economic development organization whose mission is to actively promote bilateral trade, commerce, and economic relations between Florida and Israel. FIBF provides companies with business-matching solutions to fit their business needs and gives these companies access to suitable partners and collaborators in both Israel and Florida.
Florida-Israel Institute - FII is a public organization that was created by the Florida legislature and is jointly administered by Florida Atlantic University and Broward College. Its primary purpose is to promote the development of enhanced governmental, economic, technological, cultural, educational, and social ties between the State of Florida and the State of Israel. This mission is achieved through the formation of cooperative initiatives in research, academic development, student and faculty exchange, cultural exchange, and technical assistance between FAU, BC, and Israeli institutions of higher learning as well as private-sector commercial endeavors.
Florida’s State Legislature passed SB-86 on February 24, 2016, with bipartisan support, sending a message that they benefit from their relations with Israel and do not support the BDS movement, companies associated with it, or its agenda. In early March the Florida Senate passed an adjusted version of the bill calling for the repeal of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s “West Bank country of origin marking requirements,” which prevent West Bank products from being labeled as “Made in Israel.”
On March 10, 2016, the Florida House of Representatives passed HB-527, directing the State Board of Administration to create a list of companies that engage in boycotts of Israel, and instructing all government entities to divest from companies listed. On the same date, Florida governor Rick Scott signed SB-86.
Florida Governor Rick Scott signed HB-545 into law in a ceremony at the Orlando Torah Academy on March 30, 2018. The anti-BDS bill prevents companies that engage in boycotts of Israel from bidding on local or state government contracts.
In March 2011, as part of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer’s mission to Israel, the Florida Hospital and the Sheba Medical Center at Tel HaShomer in Israel signed a Memorandum of Understanding for international collaboration and strategic relations. Working together, Sheba Medical Center and the eight campuses of the Florida Hospital will leverage their unique strengths, experience, and perspectives in delivering and improving patient care both in their respective communities and internationally. Among the many areas of collaboration are robotic surgical training, medical simulation, and stem cell transplant.
In December 1987, the Florida-Israel Cooperative Venture (FICV) was created to foster cooperation in areas of mutual benefit, including tourism, trade and investment, and the advancement of technologies. In August 1989, an Agreement of Cooperation was signed by Gov. Bob Martinez to reinforce the FICV.
April 2023 - Governor Ron DeSantis visited Israel as part of an international trade mission, calling it
one of the most valued and trusted allies of the United States. While there, he signed legislation to provide law enforcement agencies with new enforcement mechanisms to punish perpetrators of antisemitic incidents and those who target religious communities. DeSantis also signed a proclamation to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Israel’s independence.
2019 - Governor Ron DeSantis visited Israel with a trade mission and held a cabinet meeting at the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. Speaking about the trip when he returned to Israel in 2023, he said,
We signed our legislation to combat anti-Semitism. We visited the biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria. We even held a public event at Ariel University.
January 2018 - New College of Florida President Donal O’Shea visited Israel in January 2018 to tour Israeli universities and learn from their curriculum, techniques, and procedures. He was joined by other University and College Presidents from California State University Northridge, Hunter College, Georgia State University, San Jose State University, and Wake Forest University. The group held working meetings with administrators from Bar Ilan University, Ono Academic College, Shenkar College of Engineering, Design and Art, the Technion Israel Institute of Technology, and the University of Haifa.
February 2013 - Senator Marco Rubio (FL-R) traveled to Israel as part of a larger Middle East trip and met with Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres. While in Israel, Sen. Rubio told Peres that Jerusalem is “of course the capital of your country.”
December 2011 - Governor Rick Scott led a five-day trade mission to Israel with more than 30 senior Florida business and government leaders to further strengthen the mutually beneficial business and cultural ties between Florida and Israel. During the trip, Gov. Scott met with top Israeli business and government leaders in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Beersheba, who are interested in expanding their business to Florida. “I call on Israelis to come and do business with us,” Gov. Scott said during a panel discussion called “Business Opportunities in Florida’s Global Economy” at the Globes Israel Business Conference in Tel Aviv.
The governor emphasized the range and diversity of industries and, thus, business opportunities in Florida. “When you do business in Florida, you get two for the price of one: access to U.S. markets, but equally access to rapidly growing markets in South and Central America. If we were an independent country, we’d be number 22 in terms of business activity,” he said. In particular, Gov. Scott emphasized the agriculture, aerodynamics, aerospace, and life sciences industries of Florida, the last of which is one of the state’s growing industries.
November 2011 - Miami-Dade County mayor Carlos Gimenez traveled to Israel with the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and four other major U.S. city mayors as part of Project Interchange and AJC-run educational institute. Gimenez expressed his appreciation to the AJC for the opportunity to learn about Israel, as it is very important to a large proportion of his constituents since his county is one of the largest Jewish areas of the U.S.
August 2011 - Congresswoman Frederica Wilson and Congressmen Steve Southerland and Allen West accompanied the 81-member Congressional delegation to Israel to learn more about regional politics and the U.S.-Israel relationship.
March 2011 - Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and members of the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission led a trade and business development mission to Israel. The goal of the trip was to encourage Israeli healthcare companies to participate in the medical city at Lake Nona as well as to sign collaborative agreements with medical institutions in Israel for cooperative research with Florida. The mayor also met with Israel Aerospace Industries to see how they could help companies in the Metro Orlando area as well as with Solel, Israel’s leading solar thermal energy company.
October 2010 - Representative Maria Sachs (D-FL) led a delegation to Israel with the purpose of expanding trade relations between Florida and Israel. ep Sachs has long been a proponent of renewable energy and smart, sustainable economic models, things which she investigated in Israel. “Developing a green energy industry in Florida will diversify our economy, creating more stable and sustainable avenues for growth. This new sector will create hundreds of thousands of high-tech jobs in research, manufacturing, and distribution. By working with our friends in Israel, we can develop this new sector faster and better and can bring new growth to both of our economies sooner,” said Rep Sachs.
June 2007 - Commissioner Andrew Gillum, the youngest person ever elected to the Tallahassee City Commission, participated in a Tallahassee Sister City exchange trip to Ramat Ha-Sharon.
May 2007 - Governor Charlie Crist led a trade mission to Israel that was aimed at working to establish a memorandum of understanding between Florida and Israel on bilateral cooperation in private sector industrial research and development. After meeting with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Gov. Crist spoke with reporters. “Israel is such a great trading partner with the state of Florida and America,” Crist said, “It’s important for us to have the opportunity to express that face-to-face.”
On February 27, 2019, Gabriel Groisman, Mayor of Bal Harbour, joined with the chair of the Federation of Local Authorities in Israel, Haim Bibas, and Uwe Becker, Mayor of Frankfort-am-Main, Germany to create an international coalition of mayors to combat anti-Semitism and the BDS movement.
Previously, in 2015, Groisman wrote and shepherded the adoption of the first municipal anti-BDS ordinance and, in 2017, led his council to the passage of the first codification of a unified definition of anti-Semitism in the United States.
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. States can benefit from Israeli innovations in these areas as well as through collaboration.
In addition, 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. Florida is one of 33 states that have cooperative agreements with Israel.
In 2022, Florida exported more than $489 million worth of manufacturing goods to Israel. Since 1996, Florida's exports to Israel have totaled more than $5.9 billion, and Israel now ranks as Florida’s 37th leading trade partner. Florida ranks 6th among all states in exports to Israel.
Additionally, in 2015, Florida received nearly $67 million in foreign military financing (FMF) for contracts to provide materiel for the Israeli Defense Forces. Since 1996, that total is nearly $1 billion.
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 Florida.
Israel has developed several 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.
Florida has also received nearly $13 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, such as 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 Florida 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 McDonald’s, have found that it is indeed profitable to do business in Israel.
More than 250 Florida companies have discovered the benefits of doing business in Israel, including Tensolite, Homes of Merit, and Cook Machinery. “In Florida,” noted Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez noted, “we have benefited from various Israeli companies spurring cutting-edge research in everything from healthcare to cyber and space exploration.”
Tensolite has provided Israeli companies with insulated wire and cable used mainly in aircraft for the past several years. Teresa Foster of Tensolite’s International Sales Department said that they have a sales representative in Israel who handles most of the direct contact with the Israelis, and she believes Israel is a good market for these products.
Homes of Merit, a mobile home distributor, ships manufactured mobile homes to Israel. These homes are about 600 sq. feet with two bedrooms and one bathroom. Although Homes of Merit does not advertise in Israel, Israeli clients came directly to Homes of Merit to satisfy their requests.
Trak Microwave Corporation has been exporting various types of microwave components to Israel for 15 to 20 years, said contract administrator Ellen Glass. The company works in both the military and commercial sectors as well through U.S. government contracts. In addition, Trak also exports products directly to Israel. Glass has found it to be a good market and easy to deal with Israeli businesses.
Another Florida company that works with Israel through government contracts, as well as private requests, is Technical Systems Associates. The company has been designing and manufacturing antenna systems for companies in Israel since 1988.
According to John Cook, an engineer at Cook Machinery, his company has been exporting citrus processing equipment to Israel for 30-35 years.
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 Florida companies, including Pharmos Corp., Encore Computer Corp., Sensormatic Electronics Corp., Telematics International, Boston Whaler Inc., Computer Products, Enhanced Vision Systems, Bausch & Lomb Pharmaceuticals, Harris Corp., and Racal- Datacom Inc, have benefited from more than $2.6 million in BIRD grants over the last three decades.
Racal-Datacom Inc. teamed up with NCC, a software company in Israel, to create a frame relay network management system. This grant was just awarded in 1997, so while some of their achievements have reached the product level, they expect to complete the final project by the end of 1998, said Luyuan Fang, a research staff member. She added, “This relay network system is a type of network that is pretty popular right now. This particular frame relay system will be used to configure, monitor, and troubleshoot the network.”
NCC and Racal-Datacom had been collaborating on a project for two years prior to the BIRD grant. Fang said that while they were discussing possible future research ideas, they decided to collaborate and apply for a BIRD grant. Racal-Datacom wanted to do the project with or without extra funding, and, according to Fang, if Racal-Datacom Systems is successful in their venture, they will return all of the royalties to BIRD, and both companies will benefit. The weekly or monthly conference calls and the one-half-year report keep both partners in touch with each other. Fang said, “overall, it’s good.”
The wireless communications industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the international arena. Harris Corporation is a worldwide company. One of their four divisions, Digital Telephone Systems (DTS), is a supplier of business telephone systems (PBX’s) worldwide. They joined up with CTP Systems of Israel, which specializes in wireless communications and digital broadcasting systems. The result of the joint venture was the development of a wireless PBX system. DTS developed the switching features of the system while CTP developed the RF/Digital Communications and the wireless telephone handset. This new system is marketed by CTP under the name CTPhone and by Harris Corporation as WireFree.
BIRD approved a project between Simbionix Ltd (Lod, Israel) and Health Professions Conferencing Corporation (Tampa) which will develop a simulation model for laparoscopic hysterectomy. Clinicians will be able to learn, practice, and receive feedback on performing the critical steps of the procedure in a realistic environment without risk to actual patients.1
Another project funded by BIRD’s homeland security program brought together Ashdod-based ELTA Systems, a group and subsidiary of Israel Aircraft Industries, and TLC Solutions of St. Augustine to develop an advanced drone-mounted search and rescue system for locating victims under ruins and in disaster areas by accurate location of their cellular phones. The size of the system was significantly reduced so that it could be installed on small aerial platforms, such as commercial drones, as well as on vehicles. The project was successfully completed in 2021, and the companies believe that there will be strong demand for this solution by rescue forces around the world.
OpSys Technologies of Holon teamed up with Orlando-based sdPhotonics for a BIRD project involving light detection sensors. BIRD also supported a project to develop improved flavor delivery for sugar reduction in food applications undertaken by DouxMatok of Tel Aviv and American Sugar Refining from West Palm Beach.
In 2021, the BIRD homeland security program approved a grant for CentralSquare Technologies of Lake Mary to partner with Tel Aviv-based Carbyne to develop a real-time multi-media emergency call (911) communications for public safety and first responders.
In a speech during his 2023 visit to Israel, Gov. DeSantis said,
We have an issue in Florida of a big lake in the middle of Florida, in southern Florida called Lake Okeechobee. Sometimes, because of runoff from fertilizer, this stuff creates algal blooms....Well, we have [an] Israeli company in Lake Okeechobee combating the algae that’s growing with their technology.
Florida 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 U.S.-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.
The University of Florida, University of Florida Medical School, Florida State University, University of Miami Medical School, and Florida International University are among the many Florida institutions that have received more than $2 million from 98 grants awarded by BSF.
Doron Nof of Florida State received a BSF grant in 1997 to collaborate with Nathan Paldor of Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Together they are studying the interactions between the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean to determine how much water is transported in and out. This research is important to the knowledge about the general flow of the ocean and its effect on the climate. Professor Nof said that he was attracted to the BSF program because he and Paldor “had worked together before and wanted to continue to do so.”
Florida State’s Tiruvalem Krishnamurti has been studying aerosol radiation with Pinhas Alpert of Tel Aviv University. The goals of their project relate to weather forecasting in the region, which is a semiarid area. Weather is affected by solar radiation, which can be depleted by dust, so the collaborators are studying the dust in the area with satellites and research models. Although on opposite sides of the world, Krishnamurti and Alpert use the same computer programs, which enable them to better share their data and findings. Although the grant focuses on the weather in Israel, it can also be applied to other semiarid regions such as Texas. With the extreme dryness in Texas, dust can be lifted up and create a dust bowl on a small scale. When there are heat waves in the region, hundreds of people may die, so Krishnamurti adds, “this research helps us to understand the weather in the [Texas] region as well because of the same semiarid conditions.”
Krishnamurti has had ties with Israel for a long time. He says the present collaboration has “been very, very nice. They are very bright people, very strongly motivated, and a great pleasure to work with.”
Rodney Bartlett is with the Quantum Theory Project at the University of Florida. Together with Uzi Kaltor of Tel Aviv University, he is studying the theoretical quantum chemistry of molecules. Kaltor is doing work on the relativistic corrections to quantum mechanical physics, and, together, they are working on finding new methods for the excited states of molecules and also searching for further improvements to the coupled-cluster theory. The two collaborators are doing basic research to learn more about the chemistry of the upper atmosphere; however, there are many practical applications that may be 10 to 20 years away. Some of these include being able to detect and identify plumes of missiles and having the ability to shoot them down, and the design of new drugs. Bartlett said, “both Uzi and I have done a number of things during the duration of the grant. All that I get out of it is money to go over to Israel to visit, but that has turned out to be very profitable.”
Pharmacologist David Silverman of the University of Florida Medical School has been very satisfied with his collaboration with Professor Aaron Kaplan of Hebrew University. They are studying the physiology of algae that take up CO2 from the atmosphere. They have basic goals and applied goals, both of which were achieved. Their basic goal was to understand the molecular mechanism of carbon dioxide utilization of organisms. The applied goals were to help understand the algae’s role in the environment – how much CO2 they take up from the atmosphere and how to control algal blooms that can be harmful to lakes and rivers. Silverman knew his counterpart previously, and this BSF grant gave him the opportunity to “collaborate with outstanding Israeli scientists,” as he put it.
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.
Florida institutions have received 76 grants worth more than $8 million, with most (67) awarded to the University of Florida.
Studying diseases in tomatoes and pregnancy in cows are just two examples of joint research projects conducted under the auspices of BARD in Florida.
Harold Kistler is a professor of plant pathology at the University of Florida in Gainesville. He is studying two diseases, wilt disease and root rotting disease, which are prevalent both in Israel and Florida. Kistler and his counterpart, Talma Katan of the Volcani Center, are attempting to distinguish two pathogens in these diseases that are controlled by different genes. Their ultimate goal is to control the disease. So far, they have been successful in characterizing the disease genetically. “We have found many forms of the pathogens but it will take much more detailed study to distinguish the reliability based on molecular pathologies. The project is a lot harder than we originally thought,” said Kistler. “We have had a great interaction and it has been a truly cooperative project. Often one person does all of the work and the effort is lopsided, but we are both benefitting from this interaction.”
Michael Fields studies reproductive physiology at the University of Florida. He has known Mordechai Shemesh of the Kimron Veterinary Institute since they were students together, so the BARD program offered an excellent opportunity to work together. They are studying pregnancy in cows and the role that the hormone oxytocin plays in pregnancy and birth. Oxytocin is the most potent hormone in the world and leads to contractions in pregnant mothers. This research is important because in the U.S. alone, 5-10 percent of all calves are lost at birth. This translates into a minimum of a $600 million dollar loss without taking into account the possibility of the mother’s death or the future reproductive problems it may create.
Not much is known about the birthing process of cattle, so their study of oxytocin will hopefully devise ways to reduce the loss of calves. “The collaboration has been extremely productive. Just out of one grant we’ve published 31 manuscripts and those are in the leading scientific journals of the world. That’s awesome!” said Fields. “Our research has brought enormous benefit and has led to new discoveries such as regulating ovulation. In Florida, we lose 25 percent of all embryos due to the harsh environment as well as other factors.” Fields is currently in the process of applying for a new BARD grant for research related to the oxytocin regulation of prostaglandin synthesis, a spinoff from the initial grant.
The University of Florida’s Gloria Moore has received several BARD grants to do research involving citrus. She and her Israeli collaborator are interested in mapping genes related to cold and salt tolerance and those influencing the color, taste, and texture of citrus. Moore is currently working with Godal Ben-Hayyim of the Volcani Institute in Israel. Their research does not yet have any immediate practical applications, but they have identified regions in the citrus genome that appear to be important in cold or salt stress. This knowledge may ultimately help plant breeders distinguish between desirable and undesirable plants.
High temperatures causing heat stress can create fertility problems in cattle in both the U.S. and Israel. Bill Thatcher of the Department of Dairy and Poultry Sciences at the University of Florida and David Wolfenson of Hebrew University studied strategies to optimize reproduction in heat-stressed dairy cattle. For example, they created an insemination program that would increase fertility and pregnancy rates during the summer. This created an economic advantage of $60-70 per cow in a herd. In addition, they applied this program to embryo transfer in cattle and developed a nutritional approach to increase the chance of embryo survival.
The two scientists became acquainted when Wolfenson was a postdoctoral fellow in Thatcher’s lab. The BARD grant allowed them to take two different approaches to the same hypothesis and test them in two different locations. “The interchange of ideas with Israeli scientists was critical,” said Thatcher. “They have expertise we don’t have and we have expertise they don’t have, so together we are much more productive than as individual groups.”
Florida 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 thanks to this BARD-sponsored research.
Flowers that propagate by bulbs, corns, and tubers rather than seeds are particularly susceptible to virus disease. BARD researchers developed highly sensitive tests to detect cucumber mosaic virus, ben yellow mosaic virus, and other viral infections in gladiolus. These tests are already being used to produce virus-free breeding stock for Israel and Florida and to develop effective methods for preventing reinfection.
The Citrus Assessor’s Office in Charlotte County, Florida, uses a BARD computer program that analyzes diseases in citrus orchards. They were able to halve their staff, and still reduce surveying time twelve-fold. The programs involved are both simple and small enough to run on personal computers.
In March 2011, four Israeli firefighters from the Hadera area visited Lee and Charlotte counties as part of the Partnership 2000 program, which was recently renamed Partnership Together, and partners Jewish communities around the world with Israeli communities. The Israeli firefighters took part in intensive professional contact with local Florida fire departments.
As a follow-up to that exchange, in November, six firefighters from Lee County joined two individuals from Partnership Together’s Southeast Consortium communities to visit Israel for eight days. The Hadera Fire Department firefighters who had visited Florida in March hosted the American firefighters in Israel. The trip provided a wonderful professional as well as a bonding experience for all who participated. “There is nothing like seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and walking this place to get a better understanding of Israel,” one American firefighter said.
Sunny Isles Beach
|UJA Partnership 2000 Communities
|American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)
7770 W. Oakland Blvd., #405
Sunrise, FL 33351
|Holocaust Learning Center
5850 South Pine Island Rd.
Davie, FL 33328
Tel. 305-434-0499 ext 314
713 E Broward Blvd
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301-2015
|Jewish Federation Greater Orlando
851 N Maitland Ave
Maitland, FL 32751-4426
|Jewish Federation Palm Beach County
3625 S Congress Ave.
Boynton Beach, FL 33426-8410
|Florida Holocaust Museum
55 5th St. South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
|Holocaust Memorial Miami Beach
1933 Meridian Ave
Miami, FL 33139-1817
100 N Pine Island Rd
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33324-7805
|Jewish Federation of Jacksonville
8505 San Jose Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32217
|Jewish Federation Pine Inc
13191 Starkey Rd #-8
Largo, FL 34643-1438
|Florida Int'l Affairs Commission
Executive Office of the Governor,
Tallahassee, FL 32399
|Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center
851 N. Maitland Ave.
Maitland, FL 32751
|Jewish Federation Of Brevard
108-A Barton Ave.
Rockledge, FL 32955-2704
|Jewish Federation Of Lee County
6315 Presidential Ct #-A
Fort Myers, FL 33919-3568
|Jewish Federation of Pinellas County
301 South Jupiter Ave.
Clearwater, FL 34615-6561
|Florida Israel Chamber of Commerce
225 South Federal Highway, 2nd Fl.
Deerfield Beach, FL 33441-4129
Email. [email protected]
100 N. Biscayne Blvd., #1800
Miami, FL 33132
|Jewish Federation of Collier County
1250 Tamiami Trail North, #304C
Naples, FL 33940
|Jewish Federation of Lee & Charlotte Counties
6237 - E Presidential Court
Fort Myers, FL 33919-3568
|Jewish Federation Pinellas County Inc
13191 Starkey Rd
Largo, FL 34643-1400
Willis Holcombe Center
Building 31-Room 302G
225 East Las Olas Blvd
Fort Lauderdale, FL. 33301
Tel. (954) 201-7707
E-mail: [email protected]
|Israel Economic Development Council
225 South Federal Hwy., 2nd Fl.
Deerfield Beach, FL 33441
|Jewish Federation Greater Ft. Lauderdale
8358 W Oakland Park Blvd
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33351-7319
|Jewish Federation of Miami
4200 Biscayne Blvd.
Miami, FL 33137
|Jewish Federation S Broward Inc
2719 Hollywood Blvd
Hollywood, FL 33020-4821
|Holocaust Documentation &
Florida International University,
3000 N.E. 145 St.
North Miami, FL 33181
|Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of Broward County
3801 South Ocean Dr., 2V
Hollywood, FL 33019
|Jewish Federation Greater Ft. Lauderdale
10101 W Sample Rd
Pompano Beach, FL 33065-3937
|Jewish Federation Palm Beach County
4601 Community Dr.
West Palm Beach, FL 33417-2716
|Jewish Federation Volusia & Flagler
733 S Nova Rd
Ormond Beach, FL 32174-7332
1 “BIRD to Invest $4.2 Million in Six Projects Involving Medical Simulations,” US-Israel Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation, (June 2010).
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).
Sergio Carmona, “Municipality passes anti-BDS ordinance,” Jewish Journal, (December 18, 2015);
Sergio Carmona, “Bal Harbour’s anti-Semitism definition ordinance gets overwhelming support,” Jewish Journal, (December 22, 2017).
Jeanette Nuñez, “Florida has a special bond with Israel, our greatest ally in the Middle East,” Miami Herald, (May 5, 2022).
“Governor Ron DeSantis Delivers Keynote Address in Jerusalem to Commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Founding of Israel,” Ron DeSantis, (April 27, 2023)
“Governor Ron DeSantis Signs Legislation in Israel Further Combatting Antisemitism,” News Release, (April 28, 2023).