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State-to-State Cooperation: Kansas and Israel

Kansas Jewish History


Trade and Population Statistics

Exports to Israel (2017)


      Percentage Change (2016-2017)


      Total Exports to Israel (1996-Present)


Israel's Trade Partner Rank (2017)


Military Contracts with Israel (2012)


Jewish Population (2017)


      Jewish Percentage of Population



Binational foundation grants shared by Kansas and Israel

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:

Adacom Corp.
Kansas State University
University of Kansas


Bilateral Institutions

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Cooperative Agreements - "Memoranda of Understanding"

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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 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 Israeli Parliament, the Knesset, in which he reaffirmed both the United States' and his own committment to and solidarity with Israel. Among other topics, Senator Brownback said that the United States should move their official embassy to Jerusalem, Israel's capital, at the earliest possible time. The speech, which visibly moved a number of 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 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. Kansas is one of 33 states that have cooperative agreements with Israel.

In 2012, Kansas exported over $105,212,492.00 worth of manufacturing goods to Israel. Since 1996, Kansas exports to Israel have totaled more than $721,071,849.00 and Israel now ranks as Kansas’s 20th leading trade partner.

Additionally in 2012, Kansas received more than $2,780,685.17 in 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: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 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 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 aircrafts, performance software (i.e., landing and take-off programs), flight data recorders, 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 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 and semiconductors.

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. Kansas companies have benefited from more than three hundred thousand dollars in BIRD grants over the last three decades.


Scientific Innovations

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 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.

Institutions in Kansas have shared with their counterparts in Israel nearly $700,000 in BSF grants awarded since 1996 alone. Both the University of Kansas and Kansas State University are among the recepients of BSF grants.

UK entymologist 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 to apply for another BSF grant in the future.


Agriculture Benefits

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 the foundation.

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 shared grants worth more than $500,000 since 1979.

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 the 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

Kansas City



State Contacts:

Hillel Campus Profiles

Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City
5801 W. 115th St.
Overland Park, KS 66211-1824
Tel. 913-327-8100

Mid-Kansas Jewish Federation
400 North Woodlawn, #8
Wichita, KS 67208
Tel. 316-686-4741

University of Kansas Hillel
722 New Hampshire St.
Lawrence, KS 66044
Tel. 785-749-5397

University of Kansas Chabad

Lawrence Jewish Community Center
917 Highland Drive
Lawrence, KS 66044
Tel. 785-841-7636
email: [email protected]

Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City
5801 W 115th Street
Overland Park, KS 66211
Tel. 913-327-8000
Email: [email protected]