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State-to-State Cooperation: Mississippi and Israel

Mississippi 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 Mississippi and Israel

Agricultural Research & Development (1979-Present)


Science & Technology (1996-Present)


Industrial Research & Development (1977-Present)


Total Binational Grants



Grant recipients in Mississippi from U.S.-Israel binational foundations:

University of Southern Mississippi

Bilateral Institutions

Conexx (formerly the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce Southeast Division) was established in 1992 as a non-profit, non-governmental agency serving Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, and Tennessee. It is committed to connecting Americans and Israelis through the vehicle of business. Conexx assists Israeli companies seeking U.S. market entry and American companies interested in the Israeli market. Conexx works with more than 140 Israeli companies in the Southeast, helps drive investments, deals and employment gain in the region and in Israel.  Since its inception, Conexx has been involved in completed transactions valued at over $1 billion, thereby contributing to the economies of both Israel and the Southeastern United States.

Cooperative Agreements - "Memoranda of Understanding"


Mississippi Government Missions to Israel

January 2012 - Senator Thad Cochran (R) traveled to Israel with Senators Daniel Inouye (D-HI) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD).

August 2011 - Congressman Steve Palazzo accompanied the 81-member Congressional delegation to Israel to learn more about regional politics and the U.S.-Israel relationship.

February 2011 - Governor Haley Barbour took a five day tour of Israel and met with top Israeli government officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as part of an effort to build his resume for a possible run at the presidency in 2012. Gov Barbour spoke at the Herziliyah Conference, a presitigous Israeli conference on international security, and echoed Israel's worries about the current Iranian regime. Additionally, Barbour stressed how important the American-Israeli alliance is to both countries. "Israel is the Holy Land of democratic faith," Barbour said. "We're with you, and we're glad you're with us." Read more about Gov. Barbour's trip, CLICK HERE.

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

In 2012, Mississippi exported over $28,995,499.00 worth of manufacturing goods to Israel. Since 1996, Mississippi exports to Israel have totaled more than $$279,483,261.00 and Israel now ranks as Mississippi’s 39th leading trade partner.

Additionally in 2012, Mississippi received more than $692,334.34 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: United State Marine in Gulfport and Navagis, LLC in Jackson.

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 Mississippi.

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 Mississippi is limited only by the imagination.

Mississippi Firms Profit From Business With Israel

In  2009, Israel Aerospace Industries moved certain production lines to Mississippi where the U.S. plant will manufacture and assemble drones - small, pilotless planes. In September 2018, Israel Aerospace Industries announced Stark Aerospace, based in Columbus, would begin producing canisters which contain electronic components used to transmit commands to Arrow 3 anti-ballistic missiles.

Scientific Innovations

Mississippi 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 Mississippi have shared with their counterparts in Israel nearly $150,000 in BSF grants awarded since 1996 alone.

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.

Institutions in Mississippi, such as the University of Mississippi and Mississippi State University, have shared BARD grants worth more than $100,000 with their counterparts in Israel.

Professors Larry Hanson and Shane Burgess at Mississippi State University in 2007 received a three year grant from the BARD Foundation for collaborative research in animal science. Together with Moshe Kotler of the Hebrew University's Hadassah Medical School in Jerusalem, Professor Hanson and his research team used the grant to develop an effective vaccine to fight the cyprinid herpesvirus-3 (CyHV-3) virus, a major disease affecting the common carp fish.

This BARD-sponsored research is incredibly timely and important because the common carp is one of the most widely farmed freshwater fish species in the world- according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations more than 3.4 million tons of carp are harvested annually in Asia, the US and Europe. The CyHV-3 virus, though, is causing massive losses to this industry because, once infected, a carp fish is 80-100% likely to die within 6 to 22 days.The original goal of the project was to provide scientific and technical basis for initiating certain breeding protocals in the common carp to make the fish more resistant to this viral disease.

In February 2011, Professor Hanson, together with Professor Eric Hallerman of Virginia Tech, published the results of the 3-year collaborative study, and developed the vaccine which is already in use by Israeli fisheries. The BARD-supported research was important to finding a sustainable solution to this problem that will also lead to the establishment of a genetic improvement program for the carp fish.

For such an important and timely project such as this, it was of utmost importance that all the researchers could work well together and complement each others skills. BARD facilitated excellent communication between the groups in Israel and the United States and the research was was greatly promoted by this good exchange of materials, practices and theory. Overall, the collaboration led to the publication of three joint studies in peer reviewed journals, one that has been submitted for publication and yet another one that is in the process of preparation in order to be submitted for publication. To read more about this project, CLICK HERE.

Other Cooperative Programs

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed Senate Bill 2051 into law on March 27, 2018, which allowed the State Treasury to invest in the purchase of up to $20 million in Israel bonds.  The law, which takes effect on July 1, 2018, will authorize the state to spend excess general funds on investment in Israel bonds. 

Sister Cities


State Contacts:

Hillel Campus Profiles

Jewish Federation of Jackson
5315 Old Canton Rd.
Jackson, MS 39211-4625
Tel. 601-956-6215

Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life
4915 I-55 North, Suite 100A
Jackson, MS
PH. (601) 362-6357
FAX (601) 366-6293
EMAIL:  [email protected]

Henry S. Jacobs Summer Camp - Union for Reform Judaism
3863 Morrison Road
Utica, MS 39175
Ph. 601-885-6042
Fax. 601-885-6269