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State-to-State Cooperation: Louisiana 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) 60
Louisiana’s Rank as Exporter to Israel (2023) 25
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 Louisiana From U.S.-Israel Binational Foundations

Fifth Generation Systems
Louisiana State University
LSU- Health Sciences Center
Tulane University
Tulane Medical School
University of New Orleans

Bilateral Institutions

World Trade Center of New Orleans - Though not exclusively set up to deal with trade between Louisiana and Israel, the WTC New Orleans, which serves to facilitate the addition of wealth and jobs in Louisiana through international trade, has a number of contacts with Israeli companies that have opened offices or developed collaborative business in Louisiana. At least nine Louisiana-based companies have expanded into Israel with help from WTC-NO. 

Anti-Boycott Law

Louisiana Governor John Edwards issued an executive order on May 22, 2018, prohibiting the Louisiana state government from entering contracts to do business with entities that boycott Israel. The order directs the state’s Commissioner of Administration to terminate any existing state contracts with companies that engage in boycotts of Israel. The prohibition will not be applied to companies that have contracts with the state that total less than $100,000 or that have fewer than five employees.

Cooperative Agreements

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Louisiana Government Missions to Israel

October 2018 - Gov. John Bel Edwards led a delegation to Israel, during which a cooperation agreement was signed between the Baton Rouge-based Water Institute of the Gulf and  Israel’s Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research.

October 2011 - Senator Mary Landrieu led an energy-related mission to Israel for Louisiana businesses in an effort to increase collaboration between the energy sectors of both states. The U.S. Department of Commerce is supporting the trip, while Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliances is organizing it. 

October 2007 - Baton Rouge Mayor-President Melvin Holden went to Israel along with six other mayors from the United States to attend the annual Jerusalem International Conference of Mayors. Holden’s trip offered him the chance to meet with Jerusalem’s mayor and Israeli officials to learn about the country.

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

In 2023, Louisiana exported more than $100 million worth of manufacturing goods to Israel. Since 1996, Louisiana's exports to Israel have totaled more than $6.6 billion, and Israel now ranks as Louisiana’s 60th leading trade partner. Louisiana ranks 25th among all states in exports to Israel.

Additionally, in 2015, Louisiana companies received more than $30,000 in foreign military financing (FMF) to provide materiel for the Israeli Defense Forces. Since 1996, Louisiana companies have received nearly $83 million in FMF. These include Wet Tech Energy, Inc. in Maurice.

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 Louisiana.

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.

Louisiana has also received more than $1,000,000 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 Louisiana is limited only by the imagination.

Louisiana 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.

More than 40 Louisiana companies have discovered the benefits of doing business in Israel, including Reilly Benton Co., Petroleum Helicopter, and Pellerin Milnor Corporation.

According to the President of the Reilly Benton Co., Warren Watters, they were extremely satisfied with their business in Israel. Reilly Benton provided the marine insulation for the Israeli warship Saar-5, which was built in Mississippi. "I would love to do more business with them," said Watters, "they are good customers."

Petroleum Helicopter has also done some work for the Israeli military and the Ministry of Defense. They also did some work for the Rambo movie that was filmed in Israel.

Pellerin Milnor Corp. has an Israeli dealer for their commercial laundry equipment. Pellerin Milnor is one of the largest manufacturers of laundry equipment in the world. They have been doing business with Israel for several years.

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.

To date, no Louisiana companies have yet taken advantage of the reduced risks and added funds that a BIRD grant offers.

Scientific Innovations

Louisiana 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 Louisiana have received more than $400,000 in BSF grants. Louisiana State University, the University of New Orleans, and Tulane have received funds from the BSF.

In 2020, the U.S.-Israel Energy Center, managed by BIRD, provided funding to Tulane and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem to work toward safe, sustainable, and resilient development of offshore reservoirs and natural gas upgrading through innovative science and technology. The other U.S. partners in the project are Louisiana State University, the University of Louisiana, and Argonne National Laboratory. The Israeli partners are the Technion Research & Development Foundation (TRDF), the University of Haifa, the Geological Survey of Israel, Ramot at Tel Aviv University Ltd, and Delek Drilling LP.

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.

LSU and Tulane have received BARD grants worth more than $600,000.

LSU scientist Raymond Schneider and his colleagues are studying how fungus evolves to become a plant pathogen. The fungus develops strains and races that overcome resistance. After 15 years of research, they can forecast how these new resistant strands will develop. Working with the Israelis has helped them progress significantly toward answering this question of the development of resistant strands of fungus. Dr. Schneider states that the "BARD grant allowed us to make a great deal of progress, it was the seed of the whole program." Dr. Schneider said that he benefitted from working with Israelis because of their different strategies to attack problems of this nature. This research will be helpful in disease resistance in tomatoes and dozens of other crop species.

With funding from BARD, Professor Robert Rhoads of LSU has been able to collaborate on several research projects with Dr. Itamar Barash of the Israeli Agricultural Research Organization at the Volcani Center. Since before 2000, these two have spearheaded research on several projects in the field of biochemistry and molecular biology. In 2004 they published a very important paper in the Molecular Endocrinology journal where they outlined BARD-sponsored research in which they found that giving insulin and prolactin to animals will stimulate the synthesis of milk proteins much more than giving either one alone. Understanding this mechanism will have important medical and agricultural implications.

Tulane biologist Milton Fingerman researched the aquaculture and growing conditions of shrimp. He looked at the reproductive cycle of shrimp and hopes to increase the reproductive cycle from once a year to twice a year by stimulating the gonads to develop. His experiments with his Israeli counterparts have led to pond-water experiments in India. The collaborative work led to several publications. "I enjoyed working with Israelis and can't wait to get back to Israel," said Fingerman. This research is not only applicable to shrimp growers worldwide but also to the crayfish industry, which is one of Louisiana's bigger industries.

BARD research done outside the state also benefits Louisiana. Studies on economizing cotton plantation by computerization will be useful for Louisiana cotton growers. New methods for optimizing wheat storage developed by BARD researchers will aid rice-producing states such as Louisiana.

During a mission led by Gov. John Bel Edwards, the Baton Rouge-based Water Institute of the Gulf and the Israel-based Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research signed a five-year agreement on October 29, 2018, to collaborate on groundwater research, applications to improve farming, better utilization of drinking water aquifers, surface water, and stream research, and other fields that support and enhance human life.

“The spirit of our mission to Israel is to join two peoples and two cultures in a way that brings lasting benefit to both our lands,” Gov. Edwards said. “The Negev, the vast desert of southern Israel and home to the Zuckerberg Institute, is a striking contrast to the Mississippi River and coastal Louisiana, where The Water Institute of the Gulf is based. But the reality is both institutes conduct water management research all over the world, and both can bring their scientists and research together to solve our biggest challenges related to water.”

Other Cooperative Programs

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Sister Cities


UJA Partnership 2000 Communities



New Orleans

Rosh Ha'Ayin


State Contacts

Hillel Campus Profiles

Jewish Federation of Central Louisiana
4307 Whitefield Blvd.
Alexandria, LA 71303
Tel. 318-487-9810

Jewish Federation Greater Baton Rouge
3354 Kleinert Ave
Baton Rouge, LA 70806-6836
Tel. 504-387-9744

Jewish Federation Greater New Orleans
3747 West Esplanade Avenue
Metairie, LA 70002
Tel. 504-780-5600
Fax. 504-780-5601
Email. c/o eric stillman, [email protected]

Jewish Federation Shreveport
2032 Line Ave
Shreveport, LA 71104-2125
Tel. 318-221-4129

Jewish Federation of Shreveport
4700 Line Ave., #117
Shreveport, LA 71106
Tel. 318-868-1200
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).