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Rhode Island-Israel Cooperation












Trade and Population Statistics top

Exports to Israel (2023)


Percentage Change (2022-2023)


Total Exports to Israel (1996-Present)
Israel’s Trade Partner Rank (2023)


Rhode Island’s Rank as Exporter to Israel (2023) 43
Foreign Military Financing Contracts with Israel in 2015


Jewish Population (2023)


Jewish Percentage of Total Population:



Binational Foundation Grantstop

Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund (1979-Present)


Binational Science Foundation (1999-Present)


Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation (1977-Present)


Total Binational Grants


Grant Recipients in Rhode Island From U.S.-Israel Binational Foundations

Brown University
University of Rhode Island

Bilateral Institutions top

May 2017 - A not-for-profit Chamber of Commerce was established between Israel and Rhode Island, the all-volunteer Rhode Island-Israel Collaborative (RIIC).

Anti-Boycott Law

The Anti-discrimination in State Contracts law adopted in July 2016 prohibits any company that seeks to do business with Rhode Island from engaging in economic warfare with Israel or any other trading partner with favored nation status.

Cooperative Agreementstop

November 2019 - Agreement signed with Ben-Gurion University to encourage “co-generation of business start-ups,” develop internships, and work to create partnerships with Rhode Island colleges and universities. “Today we are signing an agreement to cooperate on innovation and entrepreneurship, to bring together BGU's Advanced Technologies Park, BGU’s Yazamut 360 entrepreneurship program, and RIHub, Rhode Island’s new innovation center,” said BGU President Professor Daniel Chamovitz.

Rhode Island Government Missions to Israel top

November 2019 - Governor Gina Raimondo held more than a dozen business meetings with companies and signed a cooperation agreement with Ben-Gurion University during her trip to Israel. “We had an engaging and productive week of meetings in Israel, and I’m excited about the opportunities we’ve identified to grow critical sectors of Rhode Island’s economy,” said Governor Raimondo. “From meetings with start-ups looking to locate in the U.S., to tours of tech incubator spaces, to an important partnership with a top research university, the connections formed last week will help cement Rhode Island’s status as a growing hub of innovation.”

November 2011 - Governor Lincoln Chafee announced plans to lead an economic mission to Israel with the hopes of increasing Rhode Island exports to Israel, bringing more tourists to the Ocean State, and spurring local job growth by improving the amount of trade. Rhode Island’s Economic Development Corporation will organize the mission for the beginning of November, which will represent the first governor-led mission from the state to Israel since the mid-1990s.

August 2011 - Congressman David Cicilline traveled to Israel with 80 fellow House members to learn about regional politics and about the American-Israeli relationship.

February 2009 - Senator Sheldon Whitehouse joined a congressional trip to the Middle East during which he met with high-ranking Israeli government officials. The focus of the trip was on U.S-Israeli bilateral relations, including cooperation in addressing military and security issues, as well as the political and social situation in the Palestinian Authority. “For decades, the conflict in the Middle East has been among America’s most difficult foreign policy challenges,” said Whitehouse. “I look forward to working with the Obama Administration to reaffirm our commitment to achieving a viable and independent Palestinian state living peacefully alongside Israel.”

July 2008 - In a buildup to the 2008 presidential elections, Senator Jack Reed joined Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) on an official visit to Israel. In Israel, Senators Reed and Obama stressed how much they want to work towards solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and used their short time in the country to visit the southern Israeli city of Sderot, which has been under constant rocket attack from Hamas in Gaza since the Israeli withdrawal in 2005.

Partners For Change top

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. No fewer than 33 states have cooperative agreements with Israel.

Rhode Island does not yet have a formal partnership with Israel; nevertheless, in 2023, Rhode Island’s exported more than $13 million worth of manufacturing goods to Israel. The total value of exports since 1996 is more than $251 million. Israel now ranks as Rhode Island’s 27th leading trade partner. Rhode Island ranks 43rd among all states in exports to Israel.

In addition, Rhode Island companies received more than $680,000 in foreign military financing (FMF) to provide materiel for the Israeli Defense Forces. Since 1996, Rhode Island companies have received nearly $15 million in FMF. KVH Industries, Inc., based in Middletown, is one of the recipients

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 Nevada.

Israel, for example, has developed several pioneering education programs. One, the Home Instruction Program for Preschool Youngsters, has been praised by President Clinton as “the best preschool program on earth” and replicated throughout the country, including Pawtucket.

Additionally, 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. It 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.

has also received more than $1.1 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 Rhode Island is limited only by the imagination.

Rhode Island Firms Profit From Business With Israel top

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.

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.

Rhode Island companies have benefited from more than $217,000 in BIRD grants.

Pawtucket-based toy and boardgame company Hasbro, for example, was awarded funding to partner with the Israeli-based company VivoText to develop a life-like speech capability for embedded platforms. 

Scientific Innovations top

Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island have received nearly $850,000 in BSF grants.

Agriculture Benefits top

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.

The University of Rhode Island has received more than $68,000 from BARD for joint agricultural research.

Other Cooperative Programs top

In May 2020, Lt. Governor Dan McKee and his coalition of International Economic Ambassadors, held a virtual meeting with Israeli Minister of Health Asher Salmon to discuss Israel's strategies for shutting down and reopening the country during COVID-19. The meeting was organized through the efforts of Avi Nevel, President and CEO of the Rhode Island Israel Collaborative, who serves as an International Economic Ambassador through the Lt. Governor's Office.

In September 2020, McKee, held a virtual meeting with members of the Israeli Ministry of Health and Education to discuss Israel's school reopening strategies.


Sister Cities top


UJA Partnership 2000 Communities



Rhode Island Jewish Community

Afula - Gilboa


State Contacts top

Hillel Campus Profiles

Bureau of Jewish Education of Rhode Island
130 Sessions St.
Providence, RI 02906
Tel. 401-331-0956

Jewish Federation of Rhode Island
130 Sessions St.
Providence, RI 02906
Tel. 401-421-4111

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).
Maryland/Israel Development Center.