Michael Goetzman

Wisconsins's involvement in the establishment of Israel

Wisconsin has been directly involved in the formation of modern Israel in various ways, in trade, bilateral grants, bilateral institutions, cooperative agreements, different government missions to Israel, partnering for change in various business industry/sectors: science and technology, agriculture and farming, and other cooperative programs between Wisconsin and Israel. This co-operation and partnerships have tightened ties between the two states and have shared resources and knowledge between the two countries. This has led primarily to the development and the growth of the Israel state. Milwaukee was also a home to Golda Meir, the 4th Prime Minister of Israel.

In 2016 the total exports to Israel from Wisconsin ranged from $82,839,665, the change in percent between  2015-2016 being  -41%. The total exports since 1996 till date has been over $1,264,469,258. Israel’s trade partner rank in 2016 was number 36, Wisconsin in 2012 made military contracts with Israel that were worth $12,089,933.65. Wisconsin shares some bilateral foundation grants that include agriculture research and development that started in 1979 to date and it’s worth 2, 715, 810, science and technology that began in 1996 to date and it’s worth 2,738.016, industrial research development from 1977 to date and it’s worth $810,300. The total number of Bi-national grants totals up to $6,264,126.

There are bilateral institutions that have been created in support of trade and ventures between the two states. These include department of commerce global ventures, Wisconsin and Israel. Plans had to be put up to build and also reinforce the mutual ties between these two states was announced in 2010. The DOC made this announcement through their global ventures office and later solicited for the formal request for proposals to implore researchers and companies interested in joint Wisconsin-Israel R&D partnership development.

Committee for economic growth Israel: this committee was founded by a Jewish philanthropist and entrepreneur Elmer Winter in 1976 at Israel’s Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin s request. CECI was founded and established to assist in the growth and the expansion of Israel and the Wisconsin state. It dealt with promoting business as much as the other chambers of commerce. Then there are the memoranda of understanding which was a cooperative agreement: Benjamin Ben-Eliezer the Israeli industry, labor, and trade minister and Governor Jim Doyle of Wisconsin state in November 2009 signed a bilateral cooperative trade agreement and a memorandum of understanding with the hope to promote cooperation and a great working relationship involving Israel and Wisconsin development and research.  The department of commerce in Wisconsin in fostering this development has partnered closely Israeli economic mission in coordinating targeted investments that are attractive and other match made events in innovation and technology. There have been other government missions from Wisconsin to Israel from the latest in November 2017 Scott Walker, the governor Wisconsin took a trade mission trip to Israel and met with the Israeli prime minister Netanyahu where after talking and discussing issues relating to trade he also invited the Israelis prime minister Netanyahu to Wisconsin to visit. In August 2011, the then congresswoman Gwen Moore was in a convoy with a delegation  of 81 members sent by congress to Israel to discuss trade and also teach them on the United States of America’s relationships with Israel and regional politics.

On November 2009 the department of commerce secretary Aaron Olver and Governor Jim Doyle took a delegation from Wisconsin on a trade mission to Israel. The group had pre-arranged several meetings on specific investment with firms in Israeli. These firms upon agreement could expand their markets and resources into Wisconsin. The governor Jim Doyle also signed a cooperative conformity with the department of the trade from Israeli which was made possible by the DOCs global venture office. In 2005 the Congressman Paul Ryan visited Israeli; he was a member of the larger Republican congressional delegation on a trip that had been made possible by the American Israel Education Foundation. This is a charitable organization which was allied with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. He met with the then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. They took a trip to some tourism sites in Jerusalem and Israelis northern boundaries of Lebanon and Syria.

These trips were important because of each of them in one way or another promoted Binational trade and continued to strengthen the relationship between Wisconsin and Israel. Also in their trips, the Americans would also promote tourism by visiting various sites like Jerusalem that were historically rich.  These trips also encouraged other Americans to visit Israel. Thus there was increase and growth in tourism.

The connection between the United States and Israel is based mutual interests and shared values. Given these pillars, beliefs, and commonality of interests, it’s therefore evident that the support the Unites States offers Israel is the most consistent and pronounced values in a foreign policy for the Americans. Although these programs exist, it’s very difficult to come up with programs that make the most of on Israel, and the United States shared values other than their interests in security. In fact, they have come up with shared value initiatives that cover a very wide range of common interests which include science, technology, the environment, health, and education.

Israel has a population of over eight million people; it’s very advanced and has a dynamic and robust economy that permitted it to join the (OECD) Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. In the years 2005-2013 Israel had exported more goods to the United States than Saudi Arabia. All the eight million of the Israel citizenry only make 3% of the total population on that region it also accounts for 25 percent of all exports to the Middle East. Israel has also been in the top twenty foreign direct investor’s sinec2009 in the United States. The United States also gives Israel $3 billion in United States aid and out of this amount $2.25 comes back to the United States via Israelis purchase of the military equipment from the U.S. that represents 5% of their total bilateral trade every year. Wisconsin is just one of the 33 states that have cooperative agreements with Israel.

In the year 2012, Wisconsin had exported manufacturing goods worth over $69 million. Since 1996 the total number of exports by Israel from Wisconsin has reached over $1.1 billion, and now Israel ranks 26 on Wisconsin’s trading partners list. In that same period from 2012 Wisconsin had delivered to Israel $12.1 million in (FMF) Foreign military financing as military aid from the united states to Israel. The companies that have so far received foreign military financing in Israel are twin disc Inc in Racin, Kearfott guidance and navigation in Milwaukee and Therma-Stor LLC Bounatic in Madison.

Israel is also good at innovating and developing ideas and programs that are used in addressing certain issues addressing citizens. They have for example developed education programs like no other like the peer tutoring program where students are taught to read together to increase fluency. This method is commonly used for grade two students and has become very useful to not only the students but also the teachers and tutors.  They have also come up with different methods and ways in which they can curb some social problems like the drug abuse, unemployment, and environmental protection. This program has worked well with the Israel citizens, and it’s expected to work for Wisconsin’s children when adopted and implemented.

Many firms in Wisconsin have found nit profitable to work and expand their businesses in Israel is the one country which has an agreement of free trade with both the European community and the United States. Israel is then in a position to fill the trade gap on the international trade between Europe and the United States. Israel is also a big pool of talent and especially on high technology. Israel then becomes an excellent opportunity for national companies such as Microsoft, IBM, Motorola, McDonald, and Intel to invest and earn profits from.  Other 180 companies from Wisconsin have also taken the chance to benefit by undertaking business in Israel they include GE medical systems, Nicolet, sunlight plastics Inc and workforce inc.

Manpower Inc is a recruitment business with its base in Wisconsin. So far the company has over 35 offices in the state of Israel. James Fromstein, workforce Inc senior vice president, says that their experience in Israel has been very positive and that the Israelis high level has attributed this to education and the way they structure their economy aggressively. A.O Smith Corporation based in Milwaukee got into business with chromagen, which deals with the manufacturing of solar water heating solution that’s found in Israel. They agreed to develop the water heating applications. In their agreement, A.O Smith becomes chromagens exclusive distributor and marketer in Canada and the USA for both commercial and residential collectors. Chromagens sales in 2009 were estimated at $50million and had two operations in manufacturing in Israel and distributed in over 35 countries. This partnership between A.Osmith and chromagen becomes a great powerhouse which could only mean more significant opportunities for both the United States and Israel.

In the medical field, Israel benefits both in importing and exporting. GE medical systems in Wisconsin exports diagnostic medical equipment like the x-rays, CTs, ultrasounds, and MRIs since 1950 to Israel. Israel on the other side has been exporting medical nuclear scanners to Wisconsin, and both countries believe that through this venture is quite expensive, it makes their hospitals the best there is in their regions.  Nicolet Instrument Corporation is a company that has been doing business in Israel for the last fifteen years. This company from Wisconsin sells spectrometers that are used in the material composition and chemical analysis. Jamison, the area manager in the middle and south-east, confesses that Israel is a reasonable market compared to other markets in the region and that it’s also an easy market.

The Wisconsin people realized that the best way of breaking into the Israelis market is by joint venturing with a company with Israel. These projects receive finding from (BIRD) Bi-National Industrial Research and Development Foundation. The bird was established in 1977 by Israel and the United States to jointly fund U.S-Israeli teams’ commercialization and subsequent development of non-defense, innovative technological products from which they can both get profits proportion with the risks and the investment. Most of these grants are received by small businesses that are involved in instrumental, software, communication, semiconductors and medical devices.

BIRD, since it was incepted, has given funding to more than 800 high tech joint ventures totaling up to $210 million through conditional grants. The products that these companies produce has since generate d $8 billion and more in both indirect and direct revenues for the two countries. These ventures have created excellent opportunities for the Israeli people by creation of jobs for their youth, and it is also a pillar for the Israeli-U.S industrial cooperation. The venture’s success has allowed Israel adopt similar R&D models with other countries. Four companies based in Wisconsin the Nicolet instruments corp., workforce current energy systems and Germania dairy automation inc. have all benefitted and taken advantage of the program BIRD and shared these grants with Israeli to a total of $700,000.

In 2010 BIRD gave out more than $4.2 million in grants to fund companies that had joint ventures both Israeli and the United States in wind energy, biofuels, and energy efficiency. These the five projects that were awarded these grants will help address the goals shared by both countries on bilateral energy this will also influence the private sectors to total projects to cost share value of $12,8millionone of the project award is a local company in Wisconsin, current energy systems which are based in Madison and HCL clean tech limited from Israel Tel Aviv will developing and testing jointly the procedure meant to make from cellulosic non-food sources biogasoline.

In 2011 Johnsons Controls, a technology company Milwaukee based, was offered BIRD financial support to partner with EnVerid systems and come up with a novel air handling technology that’s used in reducing HVAC the heating, ventilation, air conditioning and automotive comfort energy consumption. This project was among the nine others who were awarded a total of $8.1 million in grants in December throughout Israel and the United States.

Nicolet instrument corporation which leads the world in manufacturing, design, and the marketing of instrumentation for assessing muscle, nerve, sleep vestibular/hearing, brain blood flow disorder and epilepsy joined up with a company from Israel that builds up mid-infrared fiber-optic materials referred to as Isorad ltd. This grant was meant so that the two companies can develop sensors made using fiber-optic chemicals that identifies harmful chemical materials for safe performance and in the environment. These chemicals are also used in the analysis of safe quality control on toxic chemical products; after they completed developing fiber cell, both companies applied for a more significant grant to build up the complete fiber-optic sampling system integrated with spectrometers that are commercially infrared.

Nicolet created a partnership with Medoc ltd which is Israeli based. It manufactures, builds up and also markets small fiber devices for the peripheral nervous system. They created the thermal sensory analyzer which became the best of its kind. Through this mini project, the thermal sensory analyzer device became a necessary accessory for their diagnostic system and was named the Nicolet sensation. These two companies have since then strengthened their working conditions and invested in other diverse markets.

Wisconsin researchers are developing technologies that are cutting edge and have made scientific breakthroughs in joint ventures with the brilliant and creative Israelis. They do this with the assistance from Binational Science Foundation. The BSF began in 1972 and was meant to promote cooperation and scientific relations between the scientists from both Israel and the United States. That fund is intended to support the research projects that are in collaboration between the two countries, and they must also be from the basic and applied scientific field for non-profit and peaceful purposes. From the time it started BSF has so far awarded more than 4000 grants worth $ 48-0 million.

The BSF has since sponsored studies which all have been successful in attaining their two primary goals of promoting research that’s world-class to benefit the two countries and the world at large and also to strengthen the Partnership between the U.S-Israel through science. This grant helps in the resource extension so that the research may reach milestones they haven’t reached before. , introduce approaches that lead the Israel scientists and researchers into new broader directions, intensify, confirm and clarify the projects in research and also provide access that’s unmatched to the Israeli facilities, equipment and the research results that will enable them to go a mile more in the research. BSF has so far taken part in over 75 discoveries through research grants, and the 19 of these discoveries have been recognized and received the Lasker medical awards and 37 Nobel peace prize.

The University of Wisconsin and their counterparts in Israel medical school have benefited from a grant worth over $2.5 million since 1996. A professor john valley from the department of physics and geology at Wisconsin university was granted a grant to work with a professor Mathew at Hebrew university so that it facilitates their study of Greece rocks. They found out that  the alpine belt rocks were initially at the sea level and were later buried owing to the  tectonic movements and forces and today the same tocks are at the mountain surface. Such discoveries have helped the geologists and the historian better understand their history the two professors are still working together in a geochemistry lab at Hebrew University.

In 1996 Arthur Ellis a professor from the University of Wisconsin was granted a grant by BSF.  That grant was to research chemical sensoring in Weizmann Institute of science. Chemical sensors consist of placing a molecule of the semiconductor surface to come up with a sensor that determines other compounds presence and their concentration in liquid and gas phase. Professor Robert C. West from the University of Wisconsin was also given the grant and had been working together with Israel since then. He has been researching the different types of silicon bonds and worked with Israelis scientist.

Binational agricultural research and development fund (BARD) was established in 1978 by the two countries Israel and the United States to help scientific fund programs between them. These programs had to be jointly beneficial, strategic; applied research  and mission-oriented to the tribulations in agriculture. Since the start, BARD has managed to fund over 1000 projects, worth over $250million.  Most of these projects that are funded by the BARD were focused on plant and animal health, agricultural productivity good safety and quality, these researchers have then come up with new technologies like the use of pesticides, drip irrigation, livestock, poultry fish farming, farm equipment and disease controls. The products generated from these researches have so far generated more than $500 million in sales, $100million in tax revenue and has created jobs for over 500 people both in Israel and in Wisconsin.  The project is worth over $2million and has been in operation ever since 1979.

Gary splitter a professor of the Wisconsin university after receiving his grant and under joint research with Israeli Is very close to find a t-cell leukemia  cure and stops endemic Brucella melitensis. The grant he received has been to learn the virus bovine leukemia that’s relates to T-cell leukemia in peoples. This problem is a common menace to the two countries and splinter works in conjunction with the Israeli veterinarian institute which is a federal laboratory that’s concerned with disease monitoring in Israel.

Other collaborations include that of Mark Richardson, professor jess reed in collaboration with the Israeli scientists in investigating the red wines effects. This is because the wine has polyphenols found in vegetables, and fruits and is believed that it can counteract the ALES absorption and many other projects s in the agricultural research


Wisconsin has been integral in the creation and the development of the modern day Israel. This is because Wisconsin has played crucial roles in partnering with scientists who can come up with materials that could not only benefit Israel and the united stated nut also influence the world in general. In the future I see cyber security and defense being a major area of contribution between Wisconsin and Israel.

~Michael Goetzman


Jewish Virtual library: State-to-State Cooperation: Wisconsin and Israel –  retrieved from:

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