State-to-State Cooperation: Kansas 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)||
|Kansas’s Rank as Exporter to Israel (2021)||39|
|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 Kansas From U.S.-Israel Binational Foundations
Kansas State University
Stowers Institute for Medical Research
University of Kansas
University of Kansas Medical School
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Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed HB 2409 into law on June 16, 2017, prohibiting state agencies from contracting with entities that engage in boycotts of Israel. The legislation passed both the Kansas Senate and House during the previous week, in respective votes of 39-3 and 99-13.
In February 2018, a federal judge temporarily blocked the law in response to a lawsuit. Subsequently, in April, the Legislature amended the law so the anti-boycott certification requirement no longer applies to individuals or sole proprietors and only to companies that conduct more than $100,000 worth of business with the state. Those companies must now state that they are “not engaged in a boycott of goods or services from Israel that constitute an integral part of business conducted or sought to be conducted with the state.”
Following the changes in the law, the ACLU dropped its objection to the law.
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Kansas Government Missions to Israel
August 2012 - Representative Kevin Yoder joined a group of 80 representatives led by Rep. Eric Cantor on an educational mission to Israel. It was considered the largest number of members of Congress to make a joint trip to Israel during a single recess.
August 2011 - Congressman Kevin Yoder accompanied the 81-member Congressional delegation to Israel to learn more about regional politics and the U.S.-Israel relationship.
February 2008 - Senator Sam Brownback led a delegation and spoke at the annual Jerusalem Conference during which he advocated a rethinking the idea of letting the Palestinian Authority (PA) administer itself. Instead, he suggested a confederation between the PA and Jordan, with the Arabs of Judea and Samaria enjoying limited self-rule. “The current path to peace isn’t working, wasn’t working, and will never work,” he said, drawing strong applause.
July 2004 - Senator Sam Brownback delivered a speech before the Knesset in which he reaffirmed both the United States’ and his own commitment to and solidarity with Israel. Among other topics, Senator Brownback said that the United States should move its official embassy to Jerusalem, Israel’s capital, at the earliest possible time. The speech, which visibly moved several Israeli parliamentarians, drew a rousing ovation from the crowd.
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. Kansas is one of 33 states that have cooperative agreements with Israel.
In 2021, Kansas exported more than $19 million worth of manufacturing goods to Israel. Since 1996, Kansas’s exports to Israel have totaled nearly $1.2 billion and Israel now ranks as Kansas’s 50th leading trade partner. Kansas ranks 39th among all states in exports to Israel.
Additionally, in 2015, Kansas companies received more than $287,000 in foreign military financing (FMF) for contracts to provide materiel for the Israeli Defense Forces. Since 1996, Kansas companies have received nearly $880 million in FMF. These include Aeuroflex Wichita, Inc. in Wichita, Hawker Beechcraft Defense Company in Wichita, and Garsite/Progress LLC in Kansas City.
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 Kansas.
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.
Kansas has also received more than $2.2 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 Kansas is limited only by the imagination.
Kansas 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.
Roughly 60 Kansas companies have discovered the benefits of doing business in Israel, including, Aerospace Controls Corporation, Garmin Communications, and Penny & Giles Aerospace.
Aerospace Controls Corporation sells aircraft actuators, which move control surfaces on the aircraft to Israeli aircraft carriers. Steve Keith, President of Aerospace Controls feels that business with Israel has benefitted their company and that he enjoys doing work with them.
Sarah Bean, Media Relations Specialist for Garmin Communications & Navigation, was also “pleased with their relationship with Israel. It was very satisfying bringing technology to Israel.” Garmin is a manufacturer of navigation electronics equipment, such as the GPS receiver, which uses satellites for small hand-held navigator equipment used in hiking. Garmin sells aviation products, as well as automotive, outdoor, and cellular products to Israel.
Another Avionics company, Penny & Giles Aerospace, has been busy with Israeli clients. They make avionics for aircraft, performance software (i.e., landing and take-off programs), flight data recorders, and computers. They mainly deal with Israeli airlines and larger aircraft companies.
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.
Kansas companies have benefited from nearly $900,000 in BIRD grants.
Kansas researchers are making scientific breakthroughs and developing cutting-edge technologies in joint projects with Israeli scientists thanks to support from the Binational Science Foundation (BSF). BSF was established in 1972 to promote scientific relations and cooperation between scientists from the United States and Israel. The fund supports collaborative research projects in a wide area of basic and applied scientific fields for peaceful and non-profit purposes.
Since its inception, and in today’s value, BSF has awarded over $700 million to more than 5,000 research projects involving thousands of scientists from more than 400 U.S. institutions located in 46 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. Many of these projects have led to important scientific, medical, and technological breakthroughs with wide-ranging practical applications.
BSF-sponsored studies are highly successful in achieving their two main goals: strengthening the US-Israel partnership through science and promoting world-class scientific research for the benefit of the two countries and all mankind. The BSF grants help extend research resources to achieve milestones that might not otherwise be attainable; introduce novel approaches and techniques to lead American researchers in new directions; confirm, clarify and intensify research projects; and provide unmatched access to Israeli equipment, facilities and research results that help speed American scientific advances. BSF has documented no less than 75 new discoveries made possible by its research grants and counts 37 Nobel Prize and 19 Lasker Medical Award laureates among its joint partners.
Institutions in Kansas have received more than $380,000 in BSF grants. The University of Kansas, Kansas State University, and Stowers Institute for Medical Research are among the recipients of BSF grants.
UK entomologist Deborah Smith has been studying with Israeli biologists the social behavior of spiders as solitary animals and in social groups and systems. She is studying the dispersal behavior of spiders and the role of genetics. Understanding spiders’ social systems may teach us how other organisms form a society. She describes her relationship with her Israeli partners as “a great collaboration, the project would be hard to do alone.” Working with Israelis, she says, has provided a more multidisciplinary approach to the research. Smith plans to continue the collaboration and hopes to apply for another grant.
Another UK scientist, Mark Richter, a molecular biologist, and his Israeli collaborators have been studying how enzymes work to make ATP. This has been one of the central questions in biology for many years. One major application is in nanotechnology, which relates to substances at the atomic level that generate energy and help damaged cells. Richter states that “there is a tremendous amount of possibilities for the application of this research.” Richter adds that “working with Israel has had enormous benefits; we had a joint review from the two groups.” He hopes to continue the collaboration and apply for another BSF grant in the future.
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.
Kansas institutions have received grants worth nearly $1,000,000.
BARD research done outside the state of Kansas has benefited Kansas immensely. Research on pesticide breakdown will be useful for the Kansas sorghum crop, which is sensitive to common agricultural herbicides. Another research project on virus-free fungus gave 93% protection to wheat seedlings, which will be extremely beneficial to Kansas, which produces more than $1 billion of wheat per year.
BARD researchers have developed a computer program, which tells farmers how to use feed restriction and compensation strategies to optimize profits. Producing less feed would save U.S. and Israeli poultry farmers millions of dollars each year, and Kansas is one of the main producers of broilers in the U.S. Another research project on making wheat storage more efficient will benefit Kansas, one of the nation’s major wheat-producing states.
Other Cooperative Programs
The Kansas City Art Institute maintains a foreign study exchange program with the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem.
UJA Partnership 2000 Communities
Hillel Campus Profiles
Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City
5801 W. 115th St.
Overland Park, KS 66211-1824
Mid-Kansas Jewish Federation
400 North Woodlawn, #8
Wichita, KS 67208
University of Kansas Hillel
722 New Hampshire St.
Lawrence, KS 66044
Lawrence Jewish Community Center
917 Highland Drive
Lawrence, KS 66044
email: [email protected]
Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City
5801 W 115th Street
Overland Park, KS 66211
Email: [email protected]
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).