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State-to-State Cooperation: Indiana and Israel












Trade and Population Statistics

Exports to Israel (2023)


      Percentage Change (2022-2023)


      Total Exports to Israel (1996-Present)


Israel’s Trade Partner Rank (2023)


Indiana’s Rank as Exporter to Israel (2023) 18
Military Contracts with Israel (2015)


Jewish Population (2023)


      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 Indiana From U.S.-Israel Binational Foundations

Energy Systems Group
Indiana State
Indiana University
Indiana University Medical School
Purdue University
Purdue Medical School
Purdue Research Foundation
Notre Dame University
USDA Soil Erosion Lab
Valparaiso University

Bilateral Institutions

Indiana Economic Development Corporation Eastern Mediterranean Office - Headed by Sherwin Pomerantz, the IEDC-EM looks to match companies in Indiana and Israel to develop joint business ventures and bilateral trade to enhance the economies of both states. 

Anti-Boycott Law

In a 47-3 vote, the Indiana State Senate approved anti-BDS legislation on March 1, 2016. The House approved the legislation in January. The law requires mandatory state divestment from any company that participates in, “the promotion of activities to boycott, divest from, or sanction Israel,” including “territories controlled by the Jewish State of Israel.”

Cooperative Agreements

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Indiana Government Missions to Israel

May 2021 - Governor Eric Holcomb visited Israel just after the ceasefire that ended Operation Guardian of the Wall. Holcomb met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, visited an Iron Dome battery, and received a briefing from an officer from the IDF Home Front Command. “I wanted to get here as soon as possible to show not just moral support on the ground on Israeli soil, but also Israel and Indiana have a long-standing bond,” Holcomb told the Times of Israel.

Referring to the recent fighting, he said, “This is terrorism, which throws out all the rules and norms and values. And that’s unfortunately what we all must be prepared for… and we have to stand together against terror.”

Holcomb previously traveled to Israel in 2018 to promote economic development.

December 2014 - Indiana Governor Mike Pence spent his winter holiday with family in Israel in late December 2014 during a 9-day government mission to Israel. During his time there, Pence met for three days with Indiana and Israeli business and technology leaders, discussing future increased cooperation between Indiana and Israel. Pence and his entourage were invited to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s annual Christmas dinner at his home but promptly refused the invitation. In addition to business leaders, Pence also held meetings with Prime Minister Netanyahu, stating that “appreciation for the state of Israel and the partnership between the state of Israel and America has never been stronger.”  This visit was funded by the Zionist organization Christians United for Israel, and the Indiana Economic Development Foundation.

March 2014 - Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN) visited Israel with two colleagues, a fellow Democrat and one Republican, and met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres. “[The US-Israel relationship] is as strong as it could be ... when we were with [Netanyahu] tonight, there was a very clear understanding on both [sides] that we’re standing shoulder to shoulder,” Donnelly said. The trio of senators also presented Peres with a Congressional medal for his years supporting and nurturing the US-Israel alliance. 

April 2012 - Governor Mitch Daniels visited Israel for eight days on a trip that Indianapolis businessman Mickey Mauer led and that Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis members had requested. Gov. Daniels met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and several prominent Israeli businessmen and leaders of aerospace companies. He also visited significant cultural sites in Israel.

July 2008 - Representative Mike Pence visited Israel and the Palestinian territories as part of a Congressional delegation to the area. Rep. Pence and his colleagues met with high-ranking government officials, including Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. As the ranking Republican on the Middle East and South Asia Subcommittee of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Rep. Pence needed a first-hand look at the situation in Israel and to discuss the prospects for a renewed peace process with the Palestinian Authority. 

March 2006 - Mayor Kevin Smith, of Anderson, and several high-ranking staff officials traveled to Israel to make contacts with Israeli businesses with the hope to lure profitable companies to Anderson, in particular, and Indiana in general. The delegation met with a slew of Israeli businesspeople across a wide spectrum of fields. 

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. 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. Indiana is one of 33 states that have cooperative agreements with Israel.

In 2023, Indiana exported more than $171 million worth of manufacturing goods to Israel. Since 1996, Indiana’s exports to Israel have totaled more than $1.8 billion, and Israel now ranks as Indiana’s 33rd leading trade partner. Indiana ranks 18th among all states in exports to Israel.

Additionally, in 2015, Indiana companies received more than $$950,000 in foreign military financing (FMF) for contracts to provide materiel for the Israeli Defense Forces. Since 1996, Indiana companies have received more than $120 million in FMF. These include CNC Industries, Inc. in Fort Wayne, Indiana Heat Transfer Inc. in Marshall, and AM General Corporation in South Bend.

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 Indiana.

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.

Indiana has 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 Indiana is limited only by the imagination.

Indiana 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.

At least 70 Indiana companies have discovered the benefits of doing business in Israel, including Magnavox, ALCOA, Allied-Signal, Colgate Palmolive, and ITT Aerospace.

Biomet has been doing business in Israel for about ten years, says Tom Allen, Director of International Sales, Marketing & Operations. The company sells orthopedic equipment, such as hip and knee replacements. Allen says it’s a good market for the size of its population (roughly six million) and that it’s easier to do business in Israel than in countries like Japan and France. “The Israelis always meet their payment terms and that puts them in the top ten,” says Allen, who sees the country as a growth market for his products because of its aging population. Given his positive experience, he enthusiastically recommends that other companies look for business opportunities in Israel.

Edmond Schaefer, Magnavox’s Director of International Marketing, has also found Israel a good place to make money. “Magnavox has been doing business with Israel for about 20 years,” he says. “We sell defense communications equipment and the Israelis in this industry are high caliber. You need to be patient and flexible,” he adds, “but it’s definitely a place where a company can make a profit.”

ITT Aerospace is another company with long experience in Israel. “Israel’s military needs make it a good market,” says President and General Manager Dr. Marvin Sambur, whose company sold military radios to the Israel Defense Forces. “It’s also a good place to visit; I learned a lot from dealing there. Israel’s also a growing marketplace, which goes beyond the military.”

One of the benefits of doing business there, adds Sambur, is that Israelis make up their minds quickly and then go forward. “The defense industry is a tough one to crack. It’s a long process to establish yourself in the market.” Since Israel uses a lot of the same equipment as the U.S. Army, which ITT supplies, Sambur looks forward to doing more business in Israel in the future.

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.

Energy Systems Group, LLC in Newburgh became the state’s first recipient of a BIRD grant for a project with Fluence Water Products and Innovation of Caesarea to develop and demonstrate a new energy-efficient process for nitrogen removal in water resource recovery facilities, which use anaerobic digesters for sludge treatment.

Scientific Innovations

Indiana 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.

Purdue, Notre Dame, and Indiana University are among the institutions that have received a total of more than $1.7 million in BSF grants.

Purdue’s Louis Sherman studies photosynthesis in organisms called prokaryotes, a type of bacteria that doesn’t contain a nucleus. He is trying to understand chlorophyll binding mechanisms to explain how photosynthesis occurs under different conditions, a project that could have important implications for agriculture. He has applied for a new grant to continue the research to learn more about photosynthesis in extreme environments, for example, to see how cells maintain themselves in the desert. Sherman says he and his Hebrew University collaborator have different but complementary skills. “Dr. Ohant is well-known for his research related to photosynthesis and has built special equipment that aided our work. Israelis are very good at studying extreme events like drought and Sde Boker, where the research is done, is like no other lab in the world.”

Some BSF projects have practical applications, such as the work of chemical engineer James Carberry at Notre Dame, whose research on the effects of changing crystallite sizes has important implications for the chemical, petroleum, and food industries.

Other projects, however, involve basic science and are meant only to stimulate advances in a particular field. This is typically the case for grantees in mathematics. Notre Dame’s William Dwyer, for example, works in a branch of mathematics that studies higher-dimensional shapes and tries to find quantitative ways to describe their forms. Together with his Hebrew University colleague, Emmanuel Dror-Farjoun, Dwyer hopes to ultimately reach a comprehensive understanding of higher-dimensional geometry. Dwyer met his collaborator in graduate school and values the association. “Emmanuel is energetic, imaginative, inventive, fun, and productive to work with,” says Dwyer. “and has helped push our field further.”

Agriculture Benefits

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.

Indiana institutions have received BARD grants worth nearly $6 million.

In 2008, Purdue University professor of horticulture Natalia Doudareva received a three-year BARD grant to work with Israeli scientists at the Volcani Center and Ben-Gurion University to research and help produce better-tasting fruits such as tomatoes. In recent years, farmers and growers have sacrificed flavor in their fruits and vegetables to produce ones that are more attractive to the eye and have a longer shelf life. Professor Doudareva and her colleagues have found a way to genetically enhance the aroma and taste of these fruits without harming their look or shelf life.

Thanks to the support from BARD, the researchers from Purdue and Israel also believe that these genetically enhanced fruits and vegetables will also be marked by improved quality. Their achievements so far have been widely praised in print media and television, and they hope this research will lead to improved crop yields and better produce at your local grocer.

Finding new ways to protect Indiana’s corn crops and egg production are two other benefits of joint research projects conducted under the auspices of BARD.

Bernie Engel is an Agricultural and Biological Engineer at Purdue who has been trying to develop a sensor that can determine the quality of fruit so it can be sorted more efficiently. He has been working with cantaloupes, while his Israeli counterpart has worked with tomatoes. Both are using different types of sensors to detect qualities like firmness and aroma. “The innovation,” he said, “is the software we’ve developed using artificial intelligence that puts all the sensory inputs together to judge quality.” The idea is to have the sorter use the system to ensure only the highest quality fruits and vegetables reach the grocer. Does this mean you’ll never see another piece of rotten fruit in the store again? Not quite, Engel says, but he hopes once the program is commercialized, it will significantly improve the quality of produce.

The collaboration was very successful, Engel adds. “The Israelis are some of the best researchers in the world in the field of automation for fruit and vegetable sorting.” Combining their skills with his own expertise in using computing technology to solve agricultural problems, has enabled the team to develop a system with great potential commercial value.

Purdue University Developmental Physiologist Nick Carpita has had two BARD grants to study the structure of cell walls. His most recent project involved research on tobacco and carrot cells to learn more about how plants tolerate salt. Ultimately, the findings could help scientists manipulate genes in plants to enable them to grow normally in a salty environment. The collaboration gave Carpita the opportunity to work with Hebrew University’s Debbie Delmer, one of the leading scientists in the field, “the matriarch of plant biology.” He said his colleague’s expertise working with cell walls and seed biology complemented his own proficiency in chemistry.

In another project, researchers at the State University of Indiana at Terre Haute have discovered a virus that may protect corn, barley, and oats from smut diseases. This research may enable farmers to kill diseases and pests that threaten the State’s corn crops.

BARD research done outside the State also benefits Indiana. For example, the state’s egg industry has benefitted from BARD projects that produced a vaccine that prevents infections that cause egg production losses.

Other Cooperative Programs

Israeli auto parts manufacturer Omen Casting Group announced plans to open its first U.S. production facility in Richmond, Indiana on January 26, 2016. A production facility that will provide more than 100 new jobs will be renovated and operational by 2019 with a preliminary $16 million investment from Omen. Steering components, oil pumps, and various other aluminum parts for American and German automobiles will be produced in the factory. Indiana Secretary of Commerce Victor Smith traveled to Israel to attend the Cybertech conference in Tel Aviv and announced the project alongside representatives from Omen. Other Israeli businesses that do business in Indiana include Taditel, Resin Partners, Keter Plastics, ACS Motion Control, and ICL Performance Products.

In 2021, the Mammoth Solar Project broke ground in Knox. The collaboration between Indiana and Israel’s Doral Renewables will result in the construction of the largest planned solar field in the U.S. — capable of powering 170,000 households annually.

Sister Cities

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UJA Partnership 2000 Communities



Western Galilee

South Bend

Western Galilee

Northwest Indiana

Western Galilee

State Contacts

Hillel Campus Profiles

Sherwin Pomerantz, Israel Director
Indiana Department of Commerce
c/o Atid EDI Ltd.
Bldg. 2, Har Hotzvim
POB 45005, 91450 Jerusalem
Tel: 011-972-2-571-0199
Fax: 011-972-2-571-0713
E-mail: [email protected]

Jewish Federation Greater Indianapolis
615 N Alabama St #-412
Indianapolis, IN 46204-1434
Tel. 317-637-2473

Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council
1100 West 42nd St.
Indianapolis, IN 46208
Tel. 317-926-2935
Fax. 317-926-2952

Jewish Federation
2939 Jewett St.
Highland, IN 46322
Tel. 219-972-2250

Michigan City United Jewish Welfare Fund
Temple Sinai, 2800 S. Franklin St.
Michigan City, IN 46360
Tel. 219-874-4477

Jewish Federation
105 Jefferson Center, #804
South Bend, IN 46601
Tel. 219-233-1164

Jewish Federation
105 E Jefferson Blvd #-804
South Bend, IN 46601-1917
Tel. 219-233-1164

Fort Wayne Jewish Federation
227 East Washington Blvd.
Fort Wayne, IN 46802
Tel. 219-422-8566
Fax. 219-422-8567 (f)

Evansville Jewish Community Council
P.O. Box 5026
Evansville, IN 47716
Tel. 812-476-5091

Federated Jewish Charities Hillel
912 W. State. St.
W. Lafayette, IN 47906
Tel. 317-743-1293

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).