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State-to-State Cooperation: South Dakota and Israel

South Dakota 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 South Dakota and Israel

Agricultural Research & Development (1979-Present)


Science & Technology (1999-Present)


Industrial Research & Development (1977-Present)


Total Binational Grants



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

South Dakota State University


Bilateral Institutions

None. Help us build this section. Email AICE with any additions or changes.


Cooperative Agreements - "Memoranda of Understanding"

In September 2009, the Rapid City Economic Development Partnership signed an MOU with the Israeli weapons manufacturing company, TDI Arms, to open a plant in the city and create a number of new full time positions for South Dakota residents. The Rapid City EDP gave a large loan to TDI Arms to help defray the costs of relocation to South Dakota as the firearms manufacturing industry was one of the five industries targeted by the governor to help bring jobs to the state. Read more, CLICK HERE.


South Dakota Government Missions to Israel

December 2006 - Senator John Thume joined a group of US lawmakers from Washington on a fact-finding mission to the Middle East which included stops in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as in Israel.


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

In 2012, South Dakota exported over $12 million worth of manufacturing goods to Israel. Since 1996, South Dakota exports to Israel have totaled more than $85,542,185 and Israel now ranks as South Dakota’s 43rd leading trade partner.

Additionally in 2012, South Dakota received more than $1 billion in foreign military financing (FMF) for US military aid to Israel. Chermring Energetic Devices based in Clear Lake has received funding through FMF in 2012 and in the past.

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 South Dakota.

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 South Dakota is limited only by the imagination.


South Dakota 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.

As of yet, no companies based in South Dakota have taken advantage of the opportunities presented by the BIRD grants.


Scientific Innovations

South Dakota 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 South Dakota have shared with their counterparts in Israel $120,000 in BSF grants awarded since 1996 alone.

In 2008, Dr. Qiquan Qiao of South Dakota State University's Center for Advanced Photovoltaics together with Dr Michael Bendikov of the Weizman Institute of Science in Israel were awarded with BSF's Bergmann Memorial Award for young scientists with projects of high scientific quality. This award will grant Qiao a stipend which will run concurrently with his other BSF grants which help him fund research on organic solar cells based on novel polyselenophenes that show promise as organic semiconductors for cost-effective solar energy.


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.

South Dakota institutions have shared grants worth more than $55,000 since 1979.

In 2010, Jonathan Lundgren of the United States Department of Agriculture in Brookings received a BARD grant to collaborate with Dr. Moshe Coll of Hebrew University's Department of Entomology in Jerusalem to research the possibilites at biologically controlling cereal aphids- a grain insect- in wheat and alternative grains. The research only got underway in late 2010 and as of yet there are no findings or results to publicize.


Other Cooperative Programs

South Dakota State is a member of the International Arid Lands Consortium, a Congress-funded independent, nonprofit organization established in 1989 that conducts research, develops applications in arid and semiarid land technologies, and applies its projects in countries around the world including the U.S. and Israel.


Sister Cities:

None. Help us build this section. Email AICE with any additions or changes.


State Contacts:

Hillel Campus Profiles

American-Israel Chamber of Commerce {also covers South Dakota)
6311 Wayzata Blvd., #240
Minneapolis, MN 55416-1224
Tel. 612-593-8666
Fax. 612-593-8668
Email. [email protected]

Jewish Welfare Fund
National Reserve Bldg., 513 So. Main Ave.
Sioux Falls, SD 57102
Tel. 605-332-3335