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State-to-State Cooperation: Montana and Israel










Trade and Population Statistics

Exports to Israel (2019)


      Percentage Change (2018-2019)


      Total Exports to Israel (1996-Present)


Israel’s Rank As Trade Partner (2019)


Military Contracts with Israel (2015)


Jewish Population (2020)


      Jewish Percentage of Population



Binational foundation grants shared by Montana and Israel

Agricultural Research & Development (1979-Present)


Science & Technology (1999-Present)


Industrial Research & Development (1977-Present)


Total Binational Grants



Grant recipients in Montana from U.S.-Israel binational foundations

Montana State University
University of Montana

Bilateral Institutions

None. Please help us build and maintain the Montana state page. Email us with any additions, modifications or comments.

Cooperative Agreements

None. Please help us build and maintain the Montana state page. Email us with any additions, modifications or comments.

Montana Government Missions to Israel

October 2010 - Governor Brian Schweitzer and his wife joined a delegation from the Solomon Project on an educational and trade mission to Israel. Gov. Schweitzer met with high ranking Israeli government officials, including President Shimon Peres and PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad while discussing opportunities to expand business and trade ties between the two governments and the state of Montana. “This is an opportunity to build and grow business in Montana and create more high paying jobs for workers in our state,” Schweitzer said in a press release.

May 2010 - Lt. Governor John Bohlinger and representatives from the trade team of Senator Max Baucus led a delegation of some 20 business leaders from Montana to explore new opportunities in Israel. “Israel is one of American’s largest trading partners and one of the most educated, entrepreneurial and innovative societies on Earth,” Bohlinger said. He added that the delegation is hoping to lay the groundwork for building new ties in energy-related and high-tech business. 

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.

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

In 2019, Montana exported nearly $3.3 million worth of manufacturing goods to Israel. Since 1996, Montana exports to Israel have totaled more than $51 million and Israel now ranks as Montana’s 40th leading trade partner.

Additionally, in 2015, Montana received nearly $100,000 in foreign military financing (FMF) for U.S. military aid to Israel. Some of those companies that have received funding through FMF include Spika Welding & MFG Inc. in Lewistown and ILX Lightwave in Bozeman.

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 Montana.

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.

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 Montana is limited only by the imagination.

Montana Firms Profit From Business With Israel

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.

No Montana-based companies have taken advantage of lower-risks and higher-rewards offered by BIRD grants to this point.

Scientific Innovations

Montana 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 Montana have shared with their counterparts in Israel more than $300,000 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. Montana institutions have shared grants worth over $600,000 since 1979. Montana State University and the University of Montana are among the state’s recipients.

Other Cooperative Programs

None. Please help us build and maintain the Montana state page. Email us with any additions, modifications or comments.

Sister Cities

None. Please help us build and maintain the Montana state page. Email us with any additions, modifications or comments.

State Contacts

Hillel Campus Profiles

American Israel Public Affairs Committee
330 Blue Heron Ln.
Missoula, MT 59801
Tel. 406-542-2595