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State-to-State Cooperation: South Dakota and Israel

South Dakota










Trade and Population Statistics

Exports to Israel (2023)


      Percentage Change (2022-2023)


      Total Exports to Israel (1996-Present)


Israel’s Trade Partner Rank (2023)


South Dakota’s Rank as Exporter to Israel (2023) 47
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 South Dakota from U.S.-Israel Binational Foundations

South Dakota State University

Bilateral Institutions

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Anti-Boycott Law

On January 14, 2020, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem signed an executive order that requires contractors and bidders to certify that they are not participating in the BDS movement when the subject of the state contract is related to the contractor’s boycott activities. Contractors and bidders who employ more than five people and are contracting for goods or services exceeding $100,000 must make the certification. The order does not apply to individuals who choose to exercise a boycott of their own consumer purchases. Contractors and bidders should expect to see the certification requirement in new contracts or in responses to requests for proposals in the next 30 days.

Cooperative Agreements

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 several 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.

South Dakota Government Missions to Israel

December 2006 - Senator John Thune joined a group of U.S. 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, 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. South Dakota is one of 33 states that have cooperative agreements with Israel.

In 2023, South Dakota exported more than $7 million worth of manufacturing goods to Israel. Since 1996, South Dakota’s exports to Israel have totaled more than $227 million, and Israel now ranks as South Dakota’s 24th leading trade partner. South Dakota ranks 47th among all states in exports to Israel.

Additionally, in 2012, South Dakota companies received more than $1 million in foreign military financing (FMF) to provide materiel for the Israeli Defense Forces. Since 1996, South Dakota companies have received nearly $31 million in FMF. These include Chermring Energetic.

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 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.

South Dakota has also received $123,000 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 South Dakota is limited only by the imagination.

South Dakota 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.

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.

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 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.South Dakota State University has received $65,000 in BSF grants.

Dr. Qiquan Qiao of South Dakota State University’s Center for Advanced Photovoltaics, together with Dr. Michael Bendikov of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, was awarded BSF’s Bergmann Memorial Award for young scientists with projects of high scientific quality. This award will grant Qiao a stipend that 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 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.

South Dakota State University has received $58,000 in BARD grants.

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 possibilities of biologically controlling cereal aphids - a grain insect - in wheat and alternative grains. 

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

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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

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).