|Exports to Israel (2022)||
|Percentage Change (2021-2022)||
|Total Exports to Israel (1996-Present)||
|Israel’s Trade Partner Rank (2022)||
|Washington’s Rank as Exporter to Israel (2022)||22|
|Military Contracts with Israel (2015)||
|Jewish Population (2022)||
|Jewish Percentage of Population||
|Agricultural Research & Development (1979-Present)||
|Science & Technology (1999-Present)||
|Industrial Research & Development (1977-Present)||
|Total Binational Grants||
Grant Recipients in Washington From U.S.-Israel Binational Foundations
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
John Fluke Mfg. Co. Inc.
Institute for Systems Biology
Mathematical Sciences Northwest, Inc
Medtronic Physio Control Inc.
National Bureau of Standards
Seattle Biomedical Research Institute
Seattle Children`s Research Institute
Sharplan Lasers Inc.
University of Washington
University of Washington Medical School
USDA-ARS Animal Diseases Research Unit
Washington State University
Washington-Israel Business Council - WIBC’s mission is to support economic growth in Israel and Washington State through the stimulation and promotion of mutual commercial and educational collaboration. The parallels between Israel and Washington State, plus the complementary strengths of their business environments, provide many mutually-beneficial business opportunities in many different sectors. WIBC primarily helps guide and assist Israeli companies who want to expand into the U.S. through Washington as well as U.S. companies looking to expand into Israel.
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August 2011 - Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Buetler and Congressman Adam Smith accompanied the 81-member Congressional delegation to Israel to learn more about regional politics and the U.S.-Israel relationship.
July 1999 - Washington Attorney General Christine O. Gregoire joined eight other attorneys general for a trip to Israel. The participants in the mission went to explore U.S.-Israel cooperation in legal affairs and discussed issues including youth violence, the death penalty, and extradition laws.
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. Washington is one of 33 states that have cooperative agreements with Israel.
In 2022, Washington exported nearly $130 million worth of manufacturing goods to Israel. Since 1996, Washington’s exports to Israel have totaled more than $6.5 billion, and Israel now ranks as Washington’s 42nd leading trade partner. Washington ranks 22nd among all states in exports to Israel.
Additionally, in 2015, Washington companies received nearly $3.8 million in foreign military financing (FMF) to provide materiel for the Israeli Defense Forces. Since 1996, Washington companies have received nearly $40 million in FMF. These include Propulsion System Inc. in Seattle, B.E. Meyers & Co., Inc. in Redmond, and United Western Technologies in Pasco.
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 Washington.
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.
Washington has also received more than $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 Washington is limited only by the imagination.
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.
More than 100 Washington companies have discovered the benefits of doing business in Israel, including Amazon, Boeing, Microsoft, SEA-DMI, Advanced Hardware Architecture, Mountain Safety Research, and Advanced Technology Lab.
Microsoft has long had a presence in Israel and, in 2019, opened a chip development center in Haifa related to its cloud computing operations. The company’s R&D center employs 2,000 people. One team working on touchscreen technology is based in Herzliya.
In October 2021, Microsoft announced plans to open second locations in Tel Aviv and Herzliya and new development sites in Beersheba and Jerusalem to tap into the talents of “under-represented sectors, such as ultra-orthodox Jews and Israeli Arabs.” The location of the fifth site has not been decided. The expectation is that the new sites will more than double Microsoft’s R&D workforce in the country.
Michal Braverman-Blumenstyk, corporate VP and general manager of Microsoft’s Israel R&D Center, said that “the establishment of the new development sites, along with the recruitment of thousands of new employees in Israel, is proof of Microsoft’s commitment and confidence in our technological impact and talented workforce.”
Amazon also is developing cloud computing technology through its Israeli branch, Annapurna Labs. In addition, along with Google, Amazon will set up and operate Israel’s Project Nimbus, which involves the construction of local cloud server centers. It is also setting up three server farms in Israel as part of a local partnership with Compass-Azrieli. In 2023, Amazon said it would invest $7.2 billion through 2037 and launched its Amazon Web Services (AWS) data centers in the country.
SEA-DMI, for example, received a half-million-dollar order from the Israeli Navy for marine communications systems. This equipment will become part of the Israeli Navy’s Global Marine Distress Safety System (GMDSS). David Thompson, SEA-DMI’s President, states, “We are pleased to receive this order because it represents growing recognition of our GMDSS engineering efforts.”
Nancy Schumann, Advanced Hardware Architecture’s Product Marketing Manager, also enjoys working with Israelis. “They are really nice, very smart businesspeople...they have cutting edge technologies,” says Schumann. She views Israel as “forward looking and technologically advanced.” Advanced Hardware Architecture is a semiconductor company that designs circuits for outside companies. They produce most of their circuits in Israel and have many Israeli clients, including satellite and wireless communications companies.
Israel-based Schema Ltd. is an innovator of telecom resource management (TRM) solutions that enable operators of wireless networks worldwide to optimize and manage their resources. Washington-based Watchmark Corp. is known worldwide for meeting the needs of modern telecommunication networks. Both companies are jointly developing a leading product (killer application) that will address the needs of wireless operators in today’s fiercely competitive CDMA market. It will be the first product in the industry to provide true and powerful optimization to the process of planning and maintenance of CDMA networks.
Mountain Safety Research Inc. (MSR) is a manufacturer of outdoor sporting goods and sells these to an Israeli distributor, Lapidot. Mike. Glavin, MSR’s sales and marketing manager, states that the distributor in Israel “has done an excellent job protecting brand equity. They place products to the right people. They understand the market well enough to place products where they belong — a major strength of doing business with Israel.”
Israel also plays a role in developing MSR’s sales strategies. Israel understands what it takes to manufacture a product, according to Gavin. “Their suggestions are useful, and their input is always welcome,” he adds.
Another area of involvement in which U.S. firms compete is the Israeli medical technology field. Advanced Technology Labs Ultrasound (ATL) does business with an Israeli distributor, Medtechnics in Tel Aviv. ATL has achieved a 70 percent overall market share in the extremely competitive Israeli medical industry. Ties have grown strong between these two companies. Kurt Kellin, Senior Area Manager for South Europe, Middle East, and Africa, states, “We have built a business with our distributor, Medtechnica in Tel Aviv, it has been extremely rewarding, personally and professionally. I have friends for life.”
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.
Washington companies have benefited from more than $1.3 million in BIRD grants. Isorad of Yavne and Synrad of Mukilteo, for example, received a grant to develop industrial laser technologies.
Washington 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.
The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington are among the Washington institutions that have received more than $1 million in BSF grants.
Fred Hutchinson’s Gerald Smith and colleagues are involved in the study of how DNA repair occurs. When DNA is broken, it is extremely dangerous to the cell. Dr. Smith researches how chromosomes break, leading to cancer and birth defects. The grant has given him new insight into his own work and allows the labs to share antibodies. Smith considers it “a good collaboration” and anticipates further cooperation in the future.
University of Washington scientist Michael Schick is studying polymers, which, among other things, are used to make plastic. Polymers form layers at low temperatures; rarely do these layers fit together evenly; usually, they slam into one another, creating what is called the grain boundary. The grain boundary affects the mechanical properties of the polymer and the overall energy of the system. Schick is devising a theoretical model for the layered formation of polymers.
Schick enjoys working with the Israelis, “I’d consider taking a sabbatical in Israel,” he says. “Israel has very good scientific talent. I’ve enjoyed working with them on a scientific and personal level.” He finds that Israel has done more research in this field than the U.S., and he hopes to continue his relationship with his Israeli counterparts and apply for new grants.
The University of Washington’s Lawrence Loeb and his Israeli counterpart are studying the effects of the deterioration of DNA replication, which leads to fragile X syndrome, a genetic disorder. Loeb says, “the connection with Israel was vital and beneficial to both sides.” The research team has published more than 25 scientific papers and co-authored a book.
In yet another BSF-sponsored project, Dr. Virginia Berninger of the University of Washington is working with a team from the University in Haifa led by Professor Zvia Breznitz that is researching cognitive measurements of how children learn and how the brain reacts to said learning. The group received a six-figure grant from the BSF in late 2009 and began their initial stages of research using test subjects from grades four and five.
Globus reported in April 2021 that Amazon signed an agreement for a collaborative research project on quantum computing hardware with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem as part of the race to build the strongest quantum computers. According to the report, Amazon wants to sell access to quantum computers the way it sells access to the cloud through its data centers.
Prof. Alex Retzker of the Hebrew University’s Racah Physics Institute will be one of the leaders of the project. He told Globes, “We are at a unique moment in the history of science. A moment in which abstract theoretical concepts may develop rapidly and become practical technologies accessible through cloud services on demand and this may hugely influence human society over the years. It is a great privilege to be part of this process.”
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.
Washington State and the University of Washington have received grants worth more than $3.8 million.
Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine professors Guy Palmer and Kelly Brayton have used BARD grants to collaborate with scientists at Israel’s Veterinary Institute in studying how to control Anaplasma marginale, the most prevalent tick-borne pathogen of cattle worldwide. Professor Palmer originally began this research in the 1980s and has received four BARD grants since that time when there were molecular tools to research anaplasmosis. While blood-based vaccines for anaplasmosis are widely used in many tropical countries, these vaccines cannot be licensed by the U.S. or the EU due to the unknown risk that these vaccines have in transmitting both known and unknown pathogens. The BARD-supported analysis between these Israeli and American scientists helped to isolate different strains of the disease and reveal the nature of the problem.
Guy and his colleagues have developed a test that is used by the USDA and others worldwide to test for certain types of proteins that cause anaplasmosis. Their findings also include two antigens in diseased cattle that may eventually be used as a vaccine. Since the start of their research project, the American and Israeli scientists have produced more than 70 primary reference manuscripts in high-quality journals, such as Science and the Journal of Immunology, have co-authored 15 publications, and have published more than 262 papers on the subject since 1988.
In another BARD project, William Catterall, a professor in the School of Medicine at the University of Washington, collaborated with a group of scientists from California, Pennsylvania, and Israel on a BARD-sponsored project that examined the production of non-hazardous insecticides. The group’s work is not yet completed, though they have made great strides toward developing a new class of insecticides that are highly effective, not harmful to animals and humans, and environmentally friendly; research that has generated much interest in the scientific community worldwide. This research has been ongoing for nearly two decades, and, as this is very important to the farming industry in both the US and Israel, BARD continues to support the project today. With the increase in insecticides used by farmers across both countries, they are raising pollutant levels and, by sheer irony, also increasing incest resistance to these agents. The insecticide the scientists are making will nullify these ill effects.
BARD research done outside the state also benefits Washington. Research on an RNA virus, which kills young seedlings, would be helpful for Washington’s wheat industry. Washington dairy farmers will benefit from research on boosting milk fat and protein quality in cows. Washington state accounts for most of the $1 billion apple crop in the U.S., and BARD research on preserving crisp apples will significantly boost profits.
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UJA Partnership 2000 Communities
Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle
2031 Third Ave.
Seattle, WA 98121
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).
Ricky Ben-David, “Microsoft to open 5 new sites in Israel, double R&D workforce,” Times of Israel, (October 6, 2021).
“Amazon to invest $7.2 billion in Israel, launches AWS cloud region,” Reuters, (August 1, 2023).