Minnesota and Israel
Trade and Population Statistics
|Exports to Israel (2013)
| Percentage Change (2012-2013)
| Total Exports to Israel (1996-Present)
|Israel's Trade Partner Rank (2013)
|Military Contracts with Israel (2012)
|Jewish Population (2014)
| Jewish Percentage of Population
foundation grants shared by Minnesota and Israel
Grant recipients in
Minnesota from U.S.-Israel binational foundations:
ADC Magnetic Controls Co.
American Paging, Inc.
AVR Sonovation, Inc.
Department of Veterans Affairs
Network Communication Corp.
TRO Learning Inc.
University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota Medical School
Wicat Systems Inc.
of Commerce of Minnesota -
in 1980, AICCM serves its members by being the best resource and catalyst
for developing strategic alliances between the business communities
of Minnesota and Israel. The Chamber's goal is to provide services to
companies in Minnesota and Israel who want to do business together.
To learn more about the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce of Minnesota, CLICK
Agreements - "Memoranda of Understanding"
In 1987, Gov. Rudy Perpich established
the Minnesota-Israel Exchange (MNIX) to foster cooperation and promote
trade, investment, science and industry.
Minnesota Government Missions to Israel
July 2012 - St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman traveled to Israel as a "show of support" for Israeli official . Coleman's agenda includes meetings with Israeli mayors and senior politicians.
November 2011 - St. Paul Mayor Christopher
Coleman traveled to Israel with the American Jewish Comittee (AJC) and
four other major U.S. city mayors as part of Project Interchange, and
AJC-run educational institute.
December 2008 - Governor Tim Pawlenty
led a trade mission focusing primarly on the technology sector and possibly
collaboration with Israeli and Minnesota companies. Gov Pawlenty's delegation
included state officials, representatives of the state's Jewish community
as well as executives with numerous Minnesota technology firms. The
idea of the trip was mainly to help Minnesota-based companies find bbusiness
opportunities through new technologies. Read more about the trade mission, CLICK
August 2007 - Representative Keith
Ellison joined a group of 19 Congress members, mostly freshmen Democrats,
on a week long trip to Israel sponsored by the America Israel Education
Federation. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) personally invited
Rep. Ellison, the first Muslim-American elected to Congress, to join
the trip. While in Israel the group met with Israeli Prime Minister
Ehud Olmert as well as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The delegation
also viewed the Israeli border with Lebanon to get a personal understanding
of the proximity of Hezbollah strongholds to northern Israeli towns
and cities. Rep. Ellison made headline news when he announced that Israel
would not allow him to travel to Gaza to see the situation in the strip
for himself; a year and a half later, though, in February 2009, Rep.
Ellison did in fact travel to Gaza. Read more about Rep. Ellison's trip
to Israel, CLICK
March 2007 - Rep. Ellison joined a
Congressional "fact-finding" mission to the Middle East which
included stops in Syria, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Israel. The group
met with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and also discussed the viability
of the Saudi Peace Initiative. Rep. Ellison visited Islam's third holiest
site, the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, while on the mission and called
the trip very "personally moving."
April 1994 - Governor Arne Carlson
hosted a business and trade development mission to Israel with a delegation
that included representatives from 14 different Minnesota companies.
The trip was organized by the Minnesota Trade Office and the American-Israel
Chamber of Commerce of Minnesota. The group left with the possibility
of developing manufacturing agreements with Israeli companies that have
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
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.
As analyst David Pollock noted, Israel is an advanced country with a population that surpassed eight million people in 2013 and a robust, dynamic economy that allowed it to join the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Between 2005 and 2013, Israel has represented a larger market for U.S. exports than Saudi Arabia. Although Israel's citizenry make up just 3 percent of the total region's population, Israel accounts for 25 percent of American exports in the Middle East.
"It has also been one of the top 20 foreign direct investors in the United States since 2009," Pollock confirms. He adds that "$2.25 billion of the $3 billion in annual U.S. aid to Israel comes back via Israeli purchases of U.S. military equipment - and that is just 5 percent of the total bilateral trade each year."
Today's interdependent global economy requires that
trade policy be developed at the national and state level.
Many states have recognized the opportunity for realizing
significant benefits by seeking to increase trade with Israel. Minnesota is one of 33 states that have cooperative
agreements with Israel.
In 2012, Minnesota exported over $84,403,090.00 worth
of manufacturing goods to Israel. Since 1996, Minnesota exports to
Israel have totaled more than $1,135,368,202.00 and Israel now ranks as Minnesota’s
24th leading trade partner.
Additionally in 2012, Minnesota received more than
$6,499,866.83in foreign military financing (FMF) for US military aid
to Israel. Some of those companies that have received funding through FMF in 2012 or past years
include: Polaris Industries in Medina, Shield Technologies Corporation in Eagan and Hysitron Inc. in Minneapolis.
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
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.
A range 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
The potential for greater cooperation with Israel for
the benefit of Minnesota is limited only by the imagination.
Profit From Business With Israel
As the only country with free trade agreements with both
the United States and the European community, Israel can act as a bridge
for international trade between the United States and Europe. Moreover,
because of the deep pool of talent, particularly in high-technology areas,
Israel provides excellent investment opportunities. Some of the nation's
largest companies, such as IBM, Microsoft, Motorola, Intel and McDonald's
have found that it is indeed profitable to do business in Israel.
More than 100 Minnesota companies
have discovered the benefits of doing business in Israel,
including 3M, American Paging, Radisson Hotels Worldwide,
Cargill and National Car Rental.
ADC Telecommunications has been selling
telecommunication products to Israel for more than a decade. The company
provides fiber optic transmission equipment for Israeli cable television
and the national phone company.
Israel is a very good market for us, says Jory
Steinman, Director of Global Distribution Sales. We do well in small
markets that want the highest quality and latest technology. And that's
what the Israelis want." Steinman said Israel is also one of the most
competitive markets in the world, but an easy place to do business.
Tim Walsh, Vice President of the Edina-based Plato
International division of TRO, has had a very positive experience
selling educational software to Israel. The company has the largest library
of educational courses for schools, and has been working with Israeli
software developers for about four years. Israel has very talented
people, and the quality of the companies attracted us to Israel, says
Plato's Israeli partners have developed good products
for its clients, according to Walsh. With the possible exception of the
United States, Israel is probably the leading software developer in the
world in certain areas.
Many Minnesota companies do business with Israel through
the U.S. Government, which has an extensive program for buying and selling
military equipment. Napco International, for example, sells components for
military vehicles and buys Israeli electronics. The company is also
involved in joint ventures with Israeli companies for projects in third
countries. Trade benefits both countries, says Vice President of
Marketing Shimon Pelleg.
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 company can expect to derive benefits commensurate
with the investments and risks. Most grant recipients are small businesses
involved with software, instrumentation, communications, medical devices
Since its inception, BIRD has funded more than 800
joint high-tech R&D projects through conditional grants totaling
more than $210 million. Products developed from these ventures have
generated more than $8 billion in direct and indirect revenues for both
countries and has helped to create an estimated 20,000 American jobs.
Dr. Eli Opper, the former Israeli chair of BIRD, has
said that BIRD is a strong pillar of US-Israel industrial
cooperation and that the extreme success of BIRD has
led Israel to adopt similar models of R&D with other countries.
More than eight Minnesota companies have benefited from nearly $2 million
in BIRD grants over the last three decades.
In 2011, the Mayo Clinic, based out of Rochester, was
granted a BIRD sponsorship to collaborate with the
Israeli-based company Healarium to develop an application for self monitoring
of cardiovascular risk. As of July 2011 the coordination between the
two international companies was getting under way and great successes
Another Minnesota company, American Paging, has teamed
with Nexus of Israel on two BIRD projects to develop,
manufacture and market wireless personal communications systems.
The two-way paging system the companies
have developed will allow a person to use
their pager to respond directly to a message
rather than having to make a phone call to
reach the contact, according to Manager of
Business Development Stuart Shwiff.
The pager can also be used to initiate communications,
for example, to call the office. The system is less expensive and does not
have to be charged as often as a cellular phone.
Shwiff says his company benefitted from Nexus' expertise.
"Nexus is at the cutting edge of technology in Israel," he
said. The product is still in the pre-commercial phase in the United
States, but systems have already been sold in Australia and Russia.
The Minneapolis-based American-Israel Chamber of Commerce
can provide additional information about BIRD and other
business opportunities in Israel.
Minnesota 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 field for peaceful and non-profit purposes.
Since its inception, BSF has awarded some $480 million
through more than 4,000 grants in 45 states and the District of Columbia.
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.
The University of Minnesota is among the state's recipients
that have shared nearly $2.3 million in BSF grants
awarded since 1996 alone.
H. Ted Davis is interested in structures of colloidal
solutions. This has practical applications for a wide variety of consumer
products, from toothpaste to soap to lotions and creams. By gaining a
better understanding of the properties of these solutions, Davis said, it
is possible to make improvements in these products.
This is the third BSF grant Davis
has shared with one of his former Ph.D. students. He has continued to
work with the Israeli scientist because he is "a rich intellect"
and "better at electron microscopy than I am." The researchers
have discovered new structures and how they can be manipulated. They
also have pioneered techniques in freezing solutions so they can be
examined under the microscope. "No other person in the world has
my colleague's expertise in this area," Davis said.
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 US and Israeli scientists for mutually
beneficial, mission-oriented, strategic and applied research into agricultural
problems. Since its inception, BARD has funded more
than 1,000 projects in 45 states and the District of Columbia with a
total investment of more than $250 million. In 2000, an independent
and external economic review of 10 BARD projects conservatively
projected more than $700 million in revenue by the end of 2010, a number
which far outweighs the total investment in all BARD projects over its 33 year existence and helps to continually strengthen
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 Minnesota and other Minnesota institutions
have shared BARD grants worth more than $2.2 million
In 2010, Professors Carl Rosen and David Mulla of the
University of Minnesota completed the first year of a three year BARD grant in collaboration with researchers in the Israel Ministry of Agriculture.
The focus of their joint project has been to investigate novel remote
sensing techniques to identify nitrogen and water stress in irrigated
potato crops. The overall goal of this BARD-sponsored
research is to help potato growers in both Israel and Minnesota manage
nitrogen and water more efficiently to reduce impacts on the environment
and at the same time optimize potato yield and quality.
Finding successful partnerships that will continue
to grow in the future is another great advantage of BARD grants. While more definitive results and findings for this research
will only be available in the coming years, the researchers are excited
about the opportunity to work together and believe that their strengths
complement each other tremendously. As Dr. Rosen said, "The collaboration
[between the U of Minnesota and the Minsitry of Agriculture] would not
have been possible were it not for the BARD funding,"
and added that they, "expect that our collaboration will continue
even after this BARD grant has ended."
Wesley Hackett is interested in learning why some tree
species can be propagated and others cannot. Ideally, he would like to
clone species that have more desirable characteristics. For example, it
would be beneficial to capture the characteristic of a tree that produces
"The Israelis are good scientists," Hackett
said. "They are aggressive in tackling practical problems, especially
related to horticultural products." Hackett also benefits from
the intellectual interaction, but the bottom line is the research could
not be done without the money BARD provides.
Israel is well-known for its cooperative farms, but
economic reversals in recent years led critics to question whether they
could compete with investor-owned farms. Economist Claudia Parliament and
her Israeli colleague compared American and Israeli structures and found
the latter worked quite well. In fact, Parliament found "the Israeli
cooperatives performed as well or better than investor-owned farms."
The collaboration was a good match of abilities, she said, because the
Israeli had a strong background in finance and understood the political
influences on the Israeli coops. Parliament's knowledge of coops and
training in econometrics complemented his skills.
Minnesota geese lay eggs for only about five months
each year. Another BARD project at the University found
that artificial lighting could increase the length of the laying season,
and stimulate geese to lay eggs more frequently.
Another project involving Minnesota BARD grantees relates to screening barley varieties to find cultivars resistant
to brown leaf rust and other cereal diseases.
BARD research done outside the state
also benefits Minnesota. For example, non-virulent fungi were found
to promote plant growth and increase crop yields of wheat. Minnesota
potato farmers can benefit from a test developed to detect potato leaf-roll
virus. BARD grantees also found that inert fats in
the diet of dairy cattle can boost milk fat and protein quality. Yet
another project developed a new method to store wheat that reduces damage
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| Matthew Heilicher, Executive Director
American-Israel Chamber of Commerce
13100 Wayzata Blvd., #130
Minneapolis, MN 55305
| JCRC of Minnesota and the Dakotas
12 North 12th St., #480
Minneapolis, MN 55403
| Jewish Federation
1602 E 2nd St
Duluth, MN 55812-1656
| United Jewish Fund & Council
790 South Cleveland, #201
St. Paul, MN 55116
| Sherwin Pomerantz, Director
American -Israel Chamber of Commerce
c/o Atid EDI Ltd
Bldg. 2, Har Hotzvim, P.O. Box 45005
| Minneapolis Federation for Jewish Service
5901 South Cedar Lake Rd.
Minneapolis, MN 55416
| Minnesota Dept. of Trade & Economic Development
1000 Minnesota World Trade Center, 30 East 7th St.
St. Paul, MN 55101-4902