State-to-State Cooperation: Georgia 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)||
|Georgia’s Rank as Exporter to Israel (2021)||8|
|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 Georgia from U.S.-Israel Binational Foundations
21st Century Robotics
LaRoche Industries Inc.
Conexx (formerly the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce Southeast Division) was established in 1992 as a non-profit, non-governmental agency serving Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, and Tennessee. It is committed to connecting Americans and Israelis through the vehicle of business. Conexx assists Israeli companies seeking U.S. market entry and American companies interested in the Israeli market. Conexx works with more than 140 Israeli companies in the Southeast and helps drive investments, deals, and employment gains in the region and in Israel. Since its inception, Conexx has been involved in completed transactions valued at over $1 billion, thereby contributing to the economies of both Israel and the Southeastern United States.
Georgia Department of Economic Development Israel Office - This Georgia government department, founded in 1994, promotes trade, investment, and tourism in Israel through its international office located in Jerusalem. It hails itself as the one-stop shop for businesses looking for the right opportunity to break into the American business market as it can partner with both public and private sector companies.
Georgia-Israel Exchange - Governor Zell Miller created the Georgia-Israel Exchange in 1992 to explore emerging technology in both industry and agriculture, enhance trade, encourage tourism, and jointly participate in economic development programs.
Georgia’s SB-327 was approved by the State Senate on February 26, 2016, in a 45-6 vote. The bill prohibits the state, “including all of its subdivisions and instrumentalities,” from entering into contracts or agreements with companies involved with the BDS movement. This legislation passed the State House of Representatives on March 24, 2016, and was sent to the Governor to sign. Governor Nathan Deal signed the legislation on April 26, 2016.
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Georgia Government Missions to Israel
January 2018 - Georgia State University President Mark Becker 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, New College of Florida, 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.
January 2012 - Mississippi’s Senator Thad Cochran participated in a U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee delegation to Israel with Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI) and Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), during which the senators met with Israeli President Shimon Peres. The group discussed the growing threat of Iran, the Middle East at large, and the Palestinian Authority.
August 2011 - Congressman Tom Graves and Tom Price joined a bipartisan Congressional mission to Israel designed to strengthen the American-Israeli relationship and to provide members of the government with information about the latest security and economic issues in the Middle East and their impact on U.S. interests.
March 2011 - The Georgia Department of Economic Development is planning a trip to Israel in March 2011 that will be centered on exploring multi-industry trade opportunities between the two states. The mission will focus on companies in the environmental, telecom, advanced manufacturing, and alternative energy industries.
November 2005 - Governor Sonny Perdue led a delegation that included 36 Georgians on a technology and trade mission to Israel. State Senate Majority Leader Tommie Williams and State Representative Joe Wilkinson also went on the mission that met with top-ranking Israeli government officials as well as potential Israeli business investors in the technology and bioscience industries. In his build-up to the trip, Governor Perdue spoke about the connection between Georgia and Israel. “Israel is a world leader in business and technology, and already one of Georgia’s major trading partners,” said Perdue. “We expect this mission will generate new economic activity in Georgia and enhance our state’s position as one of Israel’s primary business centers in North America.”
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. Georgia is one of 33 states that have cooperative agreements with Israel.
In 2021, Georgia exported more than $280 million worth of manufacturing goods to Israel. Since 1996, Georgia’s exports to Israel have totaled more than $4.2 billion and Israel now ranks as Georgia’s 34th leading trade partner. Georgia ranks 8th among all states in exports to Israel.
Additionally, in 2015, Georgia companies received more than $46 million in foreign military financing (FMF) for contracts to provide materiel for the Israeli Defense Forces. Since 1996, Georgia companies have received nearly $615 million in FMF. These include GE Intelligence Platforms Technology in Atlanta, Hewlett-Packard Company in Atlanta, and Northrop Grumman Support Services in Warner Robins.
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 Georgia.
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.
Georgia institutions have also received more than $7 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 Georgia is limited only by the imagination.
Georgia 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 National Semiconductor have found that it is indeed profitable to do business in Israel.
More than 100 Georgia companies have discovered the benefits of doing business in Israel, including BellSouth, Coca-Cola, Home Depot, and Holiday Inn. Several now have operations based in Israel.
Israelis have been drinking Coke for more than 25 years and it is the nation’s leading soft drink. Carol Martel, who works in the European Community External Affairs branch of the company, said the independent bottler in Tel Aviv is one of the most high-tech associated with the company, having developed onsite advances in computerization.
The Holiday Inn name is a newer one in Israel, introduced in the last three years after Africa Israel Investments bought a license to convert the Jerusalem Hilton to a Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza, converted a Tel Aviv property as well, and opened hotels in Tiberias and Eilat. Africa Israel is planning a rapid expansion of the chain throughout Israel, with new hotels slated to open in Eilat, the Dead Sea, and Nazareth.
Levin subsequently moved to Atlanta-based U.S. Franchise Systems, which has a partnership with Isrotel to build a Hawthorne Suites Hotel in Tel Aviv across from the U.S. Embassy.
Atlanta-based Apica Cardiovascular, a combined Georgia Tech, and Emory University medical device startup received a $5.1 million investment in June 2010 from a partnership of investors that included TriVentures, a venture capital firm based in Herzliya, Israel. Apica Cardiovascular has licensed the Georgia Tech / Emory technology and will further develop the system which will make the transapical access and closure procedure required for delivering therapeutic devices to the heart more routine for all surgeons. The goal is to expand the use of surgery techniques that are less invasive and do not require stopping the heart.
In January 2011, it was announced that Canton-based J&S Chemicals formed a distribution agreement for their specialty chemical products in the Israeli market through the Ra’anana-based Orian International Marketing, Ltd. Orian, a leading distributor in Israel of chemicals and materials, specializing in plastics, filtering materials, professional bonding, and specialized lubricants for industrial applications, was introduced to J&S Chemicals by the representative office in Israel of the GDEcD. “We are happy we found a government partner to collaborate with internationally. The GA department has helped us in numerous ways, both directly and indirectly,” said Thomas Smith, Sales Manager of J&S Chemical.
Ami Bental, President of Systematic Controls in Kennesaw, said he was looking to do business in Israel and found a kibbutz on the Golan Heights that was in the same field, so he worked out a partnership agreement to manufacture instrumentation and control systems for Israeli industry. “It has been an extremely successful relationship,” Bental said. “Israel is a good place to do business.” He is particularly excited about the prospects for exports from Israel if the peace process is successful. “Our product has a tremendous future in Arab states. The potential is unlimited.”
BellSouth is part of a consortium that won the tender to operate the second cellular phone network in Israel. The consortium now provides digital phone service at the lowest price in the world to approximately 900,000 subscribers.
Sandy Springs-based Advance Building Supply opened the first Ace hardware store in Israel. Atlanta-based Home Depot has not gone that far yet, but it does import products from Israeli companies.
At least three industry-specific exchanges between Israel and Georgia have been organized by the Atlanta-based American-Israel Chamber of Commerce to promote health care, telecommunications, and business with software incubators. In addition, 26 Israeli companies now have U.S. or regional headquarters in Georgia.
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.
Georgia companies have benefited from almost $1.9 million in BIRD grants
ARRIS, a Suwanee, Georgia company that is a leading provider of broadband access and cable telephony solutions, and Resolute Networks Ltd., the pseudowire Circuit Emulation Service (CES), have developed an integrated end-to-end solution enabling Multi-Service Operators (MSOs) to provision T1/E1 services over standard HFC DOCSIS infrastructure. The solution was developed based on a grant from the BIRD Foundation.
“The BIRD Foundation is pleased to see that ARRIS and Resolute Networks have successfully brought this solution to market,” said Dr. Eitan Yudilevich, the Executive Director of the BIRD Foundation.
According to Bryant Isaacs, President of ARRIS New Business Ventures, “The BIRD Foundation grant, Resolute’s TDM, and CES technology expertise, and ARRIS’ leadership in DOCSIS technology and TDM over HFC have helped us productize this solution rapidly.”
Ayecka Communication Systems of Kfar Saba and Envistacom in Atlanta received a grant to develop a Satellite Communication and 5G Virtual Modem Edge Device to enable waveform technologists and service providers to input digitized proprietary waveforms for wireless transmission.
Binyamina-based OncoHost and RayBiotech Life in Peachtree Corners are using their grant to develop and clinically validate a Host Response test for the early prediction of treatment responsiveness in non-small cell lung cancer patients treated with immunotherapy.
Snappers of Or Yehuda and Turner Studios in Atlanta received a grant to develop The Affiliate Crowdsourced Video Platform.
Another grant will allow Herzliya’s MS Tech Ltd. and Tekwave Solutions Inc. in Alpharetta to develop a Rapid Field Analysis of Chlorates, Perchlorates, Fentanyl and Synthetic Opioids using HF-QCM Nanotechnology Detection Sensors.
BIRD also manages the U.S.-Israel Energy Center which, in April 2021, awarded through the U.S. Department of Energy, the Israeli Ministry of Energy, and the Israel Innovation Authority $6 million to a consortium led by Arizona State University and Ben-Gurion University that includes the Georgia Tech Research Corporation for the project “Comprehensive Cybersecurity Technology for Critical Power Infrastructure AI Based Centralized Defense and Edge Resilience.”
“Cybersecurity for energy infrastructure is key to deploying new innovative technologies to combat the climate crisis, promote energy justice, and create new clean energy jobs. It is vital that we ensure the security and reliability of critical energy infrastructure, as well as protecting U.S. assets. I am pleased that this international consortium will develop new tools to address the cybersecurity threats we will face as we invest in our people, supply chains, and the capacity to meet our clean energy goals,” said Dr. Andrew Light, who serves as Assistant Secretary for International Affairs (Acting) at the U.S. Department of Energy.
Georgia 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.
Institutions in Georgia have received nearly $1.5 million in BSF grants. The University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Emory are among the grant recipients.
Albert Padwa of Emory, for example, has been working for many years with a collaborator from Bar-Ilan University who shares his interest in alkaloid synthesis. The compounds they are working with can act as cancer inhibitors and have antibiotic properties; however, in their natural state they are toxic. Padwa is working at the theoretical level to maximize the beneficial effects and minimize the harmful ones. His colleague is the world’s expert in the field and does most of the experimentation.
“We complement each other,” Padwa said, “and have published several papers together.” The BSF grant has also made it possible for the two scientists to visit each other.
BSF-sponsored studies benefit the United States by extending and elaborating research to achieve milestones that might not otherwise be reached; introducing novel thinking and techniques that led American researchers to move in new directions; confirming, clarifying, and intensifying research projects; providing access to Israeli equipment and facilities unavailable elsewhere and early access to Israeli research results that sped American scientific advances.
BSF documented no less than 75 new discoveries that probably would not have been possible without foundation-supported collaboration. These advances included the development of new methods and techniques, the discovery of new phenomena, and major theoretical breakthroughs.
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.
The University of Georgia has received grants worth more than $3.7 million.
Edward Law, a biological and agricultural engineer at the University’s Athens campus, has received two BARD grants. The first resulted in the development of an electrostatic sprayer system that is now used commercially. “The system makes more effective and efficient use of pesticides,” Law said, “and can reduce the amount of toxic materials used for crop production.” The system can be used in greenhouses and for nursery plants.
Law’s second grant is for basic research into the role of electric forces in the transfer of pollen. The goal is to engineer a system to collect and reapply pollen at the most opportune time to improve crop production.
Law’s partners in these projects were from Israel’s Volcani Center. “The collaboration is broadening our base of knowledge,” Law said. The relationship has worked well, he added, because his colleague’s work compliments his own.
Another professor in Athens is working on alternative technologies to produce orange juice. Kevin Simpson explained that a “cloud” forms when orange juice is shaken. He and his collaborators hope that gaining an understanding of the enzyme that affects the cloud will obviate the need to use heat to produce orange juice. “I’ve learned a lot about citrus processing,” Simpson said of the research, which will continue for at least two more years under the BARD grant. An earlier project involving Georgia researchers found chicken “fattiness” to be an inherited trait. They developed strategies for breeding leaner poultry. Georgia researchers also were involved in work that produced better guidelines for vaccines to prevent egg production losses caused by infection. Combined with other projects that developed computer programs to help farmers optimize feed use, BARD grantees have made it possible for Georgia poultry farmers to breed leaner, more nutritious chickens and produce them more profitably.
Georgia also benefits from research done elsewhere. For example, BARD grantees developed a computer model that predicts whether peach trees will have sufficient winter chill to permit normal bloom in the Spring, or whether growers should spray them with special growth control chemicals. Another model predicts bloom times. “By giving advance warning of possible frost damage,” a BARD report notes, “the program helps farmers mobilize in time to prevent significant losses.” Another computer model helps cotton farmers develop optimal irrigation and fertilization strategies.
Other Cooperative Programs
In October 2004, a new partnership was launched between the University of Georgia and Hebrew University to study the effects of terrorism on children. The program began with an international symposium on terrorism in Jerusalem. Topics that were addressed included the effects of exposure to terrorism and the rights of victims of terror. A second conference is scheduled for April 13, 2005, on the UGA campus. The project, aimed at improving services to terror victims, was initiated after Mark Lusk, UGA’s associate provost for international affairs visited Israel to review hospital protocols after a terrorist attack.
In August 2012, students at the University of Haifa and the University of Georgia partook in the same comparative health systems course through innovative technology that facilitated their educational experience. Professor Richard Schuster, who directs the Center for Global Health at UGA, traveled to Israel with six American graduate students, while the remaining American students took the class from Georgia. “This is new technology, and it’s very exciting,” Schuster said. “Part of what we’re learning about globalization is that education can be globalized – that half of the class can be in one location and the other half of the class can be ten thousand kilometers away.”
Israeli solar energy company Energiya opened Georgia’s first commercial-scale solar field in Glynn County, on June 3, 2016. Energiya Global won a $30 million, 20-year contract to build the solar field in coordination with Georgia Power in 2014. Once fully operational, the solar field will produce 22.5 megawatts of electricity. Nine other similar projects are being completed throughout Georgia, with different companies heading each one, and this field was Energiya’s 10th commercial-sized solar field. Energiya’s U.S. subsidiary, Energiya USA, created a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education program within the county school system.
Since 1993, law enforcement professionals have traveled to Israel to study the counterterrorism techniques and emergency management methods of their Israeli counterparts as part of the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange (GILEE) program. This privately funded program run by Georgia State University has been providing law enforcement officers with global perspectives and unique training since 1992. Law enforcement officers from Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee participated in the 2019 GILEE program. In 2022, 16 Georgia police chiefs and command staff, sheriffs, and other top security officials were shown best practices and the latest technologies in policing and public safety in Israel. Police in LaGrange has also received training inspired by an Israeli program to shoot to incapacitate to stop a threat rather than use lethal force.
UJA Partnership 2000 Communities
American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)
2839 Paces Ferry Rd., #1255
Atlanta, GA 30339
American-Israeli Chamber of Commerce-SE Region
1100 Spring St., #410
Atlanta, GA 30309
Email. [email protected]
Atlanta Jewish Federation
1440 Spring St., NW
Atlanta, GA 30309
Georgia Department of Industry, Trade & Tourism
Lynn Douek, Associate Director
c/o Atid EDI Ltd
Bldg. 2, Har Hotzvim, P.O. Box 45005
Email. [email protected]
Fred Roberts Crawford Witness to the Holocaust Project
Atlanta, GA 30322
1100 Spring St., N.W., #440
Atlanta, GA 30309-2823
JCRC, Jewish Federation
1753 Peachtree Rd.
Atlanta, GA 30309
Jewish Federation of Augusta
P.O. Box 15443
Augusta, GA 30919
Jewish Federation of Columbus
P.O. Box 6313
Columbus, GA 31907
Jewish Federation of Savannah
P.O. Box 23527
Savannah, GA 31403
Zachor Holocaust Center
1753 Peachtree Rd. NE
Atlanta, GA 30309
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).
Katja Ridderbusch, “New Israeli-inspired firearms course aims to train US cops to shoot, but not to kill,” Times of Israel, (June 7, 2022).
“Senior US police and public safety delegation completes two-week training course in Israel,” JNS, (July 10, 2022)