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State-to-State Cooperation: Utah 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 Utah and Israel

Agricultural Research & Development (1979-Present)


Science & Technology (1999-Present)


Industrial Research & Development (1977-Present)


Total Binational Grants



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

Aerotrans Corp.
Brigham Young University
Evans & Sutherland
Fairchild Semiconductors Corp.
Logan State University
Myriad genetics, Inc.
Novell Inc.
University of Utah
University of Utah Medical School
Utah State University
Wicat Systems Inc.

Bilateral Institutions

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Cooperative Agreements

In February 2012, the Utah State Senate unanimously passed resolution S.J.R.18, sponsored by Senator Curt Bramble [R-Orem], that recognized Utah’s cultural, economic, military and security bonds to Israel. Rep. Patrice Arent [D-Salt Lake City], co-sponsored the measure in the Utah House of Representatives.

Utah Government Missions to Israel

April 2013 - Governor Gary Herbert planned a state-wide trade mission to Israel to help develop connections in the Middle East for companies based in Utah. The delegation will be participating in key meetings with government and industry experts and officials in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Networking opportunities with Israeli companies, local chambers of commerce and other U.S. companies already doing business in Israel will be also available.

January 2012 - State Senate President Michael Waddoups [R-Taylorsville] took part in a trade mission to Israel with the National Conference of State Legislatures. “Not only am I glad I did it, I’d love to do it again,” Waddoups said.

November 2011 - Provo mayor John Curtis traveled to Israel with the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and four other major U.S. city mayors as part of Project Interchange, and AJC-run educational institute.

May 2009 - Governor Jon Huntsman led a delegation of Utah business and government leaders in a trade mission to Israel. The governor used this mission to expand strategic relationships between Utah and Israel. The governor sees much potential in Utah partnerships with Israel on alternative energy development and water conservation, both issues very important to Utah’s economy.

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

In 2019, Utah exported nearly $18 million worth of manufacturing goods to Israel. Since 1996, Utah exports to Israel have totaled more than $982 million and Israel now ranks as Utah’s 21st leading trade partner.

Additionally, in 2015, Utah received more than $1.8 million in foreign military financing (FMF) for U.S. military aid to Israel. Some of those companies that have received funding through FMF include Hydro Engineering Inc. in Salt Lake City and Camnetics Manufacturing Corp. in Clinton.

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 Utah.

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 Utah is limited only by the imagination.

Utah 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.

Roughly 50 Utah companies have discovered the benefits of doing business in Israel, including Hexcel Corporation and Wicat.

Michael Backall, Communications and Investor Relations Manager of Hexcel Corporation stated that Hexcel has had a “long standing relationship with the Israeli aircraft and airline industry, since the 1960’s or 70’s.” Over this period, Hexcel has sold spare parts and replacement materials to El Al for their Boeing aircrafts and has supplied private companies that supply Israeli Aircraft Industries (IAI). Backall says, “Israel has been a long-standing, valued customer. It has been a productive and helpful relationship. Our dealing with them have been mutually satisfactory.” Backall considers the Israelis to be good customers and looks forward to working with them in the future.

Another airline supplier, Wicat, provided El Al computer-based training solutions to learn how to fly and to use devices. Tod Peterson, Director of Marketing, says, “We would like to continue doing business with El Al and we are actively pursuing business with them.” El Al bought a $250,000 purchase from them in the past, and Wicat is currently pursing another purchase for one-half to one and half million dollars

Wicat enjoys a special relationship with El Al and considers it one of their closest relationships compared with other airlines. “We value their relationship deeply and they even help us get other clients,” says Peterson.

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.

Utah companies have benefited from more than $800,000 in BIRD grants over the last three decades.

Scientific Innovations

Utah 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.

The University of Utah (UT) and Brigham Young University are among the Utah institutions that have shared with their counterparts in Israel nearly $2 million in BSF grants awarded since 1996 alone.

UT physicist Alexei Efros and his colleagues have been exploring the electron system in atoms. They are working on a computer simulation that will provide a theoretical model for electron transfer between various energy states. Efros says that he is in “permanent contact” with his Israeli counterparts. Together they have produced several papers and they share the workload between their two labs. He works on the physical aspects of the experiments, while they compute the results. Efros adds that he is “delighted to work with Israelis, they are good scientists and very good physicists.”

BYU scientist Thomas Fletcher is doing concurrent research with the Israelis on increasing the efficiency of power plants, which make electricity from coal. His approach is to use a dual system of a gas turban and a steam turban to create energy in the power plant. His dual system will increase the energy efficiency from its current level of 35 percent to 60 percent. “The grant has been beneficial to my work and to progress in general,” states Fletcher. Their research is ongoing, and he hopes to publish some joint papers in the near future.

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.

Utah institutions have shared grants worth more than $1.3 million since 1979.

The University of Utah’s Orly’s Ardon is studying iron metabolism in yeast. She is using yeast as a model organism for plants and animals. She is learning where iron is stored in cells and about the genes responsible for its uptake into cells. Dr. Ardon is currently visiting the University of Utah from Israel through the BARD grant. She enjoys working with Americans and was excited to be working at one of the most advanced institutes in the state. Working in the U.S. has allowed her to study things she was not able to study in Israel. There have been several publications of her research and more are on the way.

Utah State University’s Fredrick Provenza is working with U.S. and Israeli scientists to understand the compound polyethylene glycol (peg), which allows animals (such as cattle and sheep) to eat toxic foods called tannins. Many plants are high in tannins, which reduce the digestibility of food or cause toxic effects in animals. Peg compound binds to tannins which 1) allows animals to utilize plants that otherwise they could not have eaten (because if only one type of plant is eaten on a field, its supply is exhausted and other plants overrun the field), 2) increase biodiversity in fields used for grazing and 3) increases the use of animals as tools to manipulate vegetation (in some areas animals are used instead of machines to clear away woody plants (high in tannins), thus saving fuel and energy and using a more natural approach).

Dr. Provenza praised his Israeli colleagues and said that they do “tremendous work to understand nutrition and toxicological factors of tannins and peg and are world leaders in this field of research.” The BARD grant has allowed him to explore areas that he was unable to before.

A second scientist at Utah State University, R.J Hanks, has studied for more than ten years the problems of saline irrigation for various plants, such as wheat and alfalfa, and has designed a management process to solve them. His research highlights the importance of maximizing irrigation rates for each crop. Too much salt accumulated near the roots of plants decrease crop yields over time.

Other Cooperative Programs

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Sister Cities

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UJA Partnership 2000 Communities


Salt Lake City

Kiryat Malachi - Hof Ashkelon


State Contacts

Hillel Campus Profiles

Dov Raviv
Anat Vered
State of Utah
International Business Development Office
P.O. Box 65065
Tel Aviv
61650, Israel
Tel. 972-3-642-5051
Fax. 972-3-641-5363
Email. [email protected]

United Jewish Federation of Utah
2416 E. 1700 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84108
Tel. 801-581-0102