State-to-State Cooperation: Utah and Israel
Trade and Population Statistics
|Exports to Israel (2021)||
|Percentage Change (2020-2021)||
|Total Exports to Israel (1996-Present)||
|Israel’s Trade Partner Rank (2021)||
|Utah’s Rank as Exporter to Israel (2021)||30|
|Military Contracts with Israel (2015)||
|Jewish Population (2022)||
|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 Utah From U.S.-Israel Binational Foundations
Brigham Young University
Evans & Sutherland
Fairchild Semiconductors Corp.
Logan State University
Myriad Genetics, Inc.
University of Utah
University of Utah Medical School
Utah State University
Wicat Systems Inc.
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On March 5, 2021, Utah adopted a law that prohibits public entities from contracting “with a company to acquire or dispose of a good or service, including supplies, information technology, or construction services, unless: (a) the contract includes a written certification that the company is not currently engaged in a boycott of the State of Israel; and (b) the company agrees not to engage in a boycott of the State of Israel for the duration of the contract.”
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.
May 2009 - Governor Jon Huntsman led a delegation of Utah business and government leaders on 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's 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, 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. Utah is one of 33 states that have cooperative agreements with Israel.
In 2021, Utah exported more than $55 million worth of manufacturing goods to Israel. Since 1996, Utah’s exports to Israel have totaled more than $1 billion and Israel now ranks as Utah’s 27th leading trade partner. Utah ranks 30th among all states in exports to Israel.
Additionally, in 2015, Utah companies received more than $1.8 million in foreign military financing (FMF) to provide materiel for the Israeli Defense Forces. Since 1996, Utah companies have received more than $97 million in FMF. These 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.
Utah has also received more than $3.6 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 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 aircraft 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 with computer-based training solutions to learn how to fly and 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 made a $250,000 purchase from them in the past, and Wicat subsequently pursued another purchase for one-half to one-and-a-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 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 in more than 1,000 projects, which have yielded direct and indirect revenues of more than $10 billion. More than $125 million worth of grants has been approved for projects in 37 states and the District of Columbia.
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.
Utah companies have benefited from more than $1.1 million in BIRD grants.
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 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 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), Utah State, and Brigham Young University (BYU) have received more than $830,000 in BSF grants.
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 turbine to create energy in the power plant. His dual system will increase 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.
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 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 received grants worth more than $1.6 million.
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 do 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 decreases crop yields over time.
Other Cooperative Programs
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UJA Partnership 2000 Communities
Hillel Campus Profiles
State of Utah
International Business Development Office
P.O. Box 65065
Email. [email protected]
United Jewish Federation of Utah
2416 E. 1700 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84108
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).