U.S., Israel Expand Reach of Binational Foundations and Establish New Scientific and Technological Cooperation Agreement

U.S. Embassy Jerusalem
Press Release
October 28, 2020

Today, the United States and Israel agreed to remove geographic restrictions in each of the agreements that established the three U.S. –Israel Binational Foundations: the Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation (BIRD), the Binational Science Foundation (BSF), and the Binational Agricultural Research and Development Foundation (BARD). Both sides also took steps to ensure BARD remains in force indefinitely. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Science and Technology Minister Izhar Shay and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman signed the amendments to the agreements in a special ceremony held October 28, 2020, at Ariel University. The advancement aligns the Agreements with current U.S. policy and expands opportunities in a broad range of scientific, agricultural, and technological cooperation.

In addition, the United States and Israel signed a Scientific and Technological Cooperation Agreement (STA) today that is a special recognition of our close cooperation on science, technology, and innovation and builds upon that long and successful history.   The Agreement establishes a new government-to-government framework that will elevate and facilitate activities in scientific research, technological collaboration, and scientific innovation in areas of mutual benefit.  The STA will help promote greater whole-of-government scientific cooperation between the two countries, facilitate joint research and innovation activities, and provide intellectual property protections, among other benefits.

“Just as we have seen tremendous regional progress on the Abraham Accords, we are also seeing the tangible benefits of President Trump’s policies for bilateral cooperation with Israel.  Upon entry of force of the Protocol signed here in Judea and Samaria, more Israeli partners will be eligible to receive funding for scientific collaboration in a wide variety of fields. The U.S. – Israel Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement will further strengthen our deep science and technology ties and help promote economic security for both our countries,” said U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman

“Today’s signing of a new U.S. – Israel Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement will further strengthen our relationship with Israel and lay the groundwork for future scientific breakthroughs. Integrity, transparency, openness, reciprocity, and merit-based competition are at the heart of the American and Israeli research enterprises. I look forward to working together to uphold these important values and I am grateful for President Trump’s leadership in strengthening this partnership,” said Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier, President Trump’s Science Advisor and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Established in the 1970s, the BIRD, BARD, and BSF Agreements for each of the three Foundations have not permitted support for projects conducted in areas that came under the administration of the Government of Israel after June 5, 1967.  These geographic restrictions are no longer consistent with U.S. policy following (i) the Administration’s opposition to the provisions of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, (ii) the Administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, (iii) the Administration’s recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and (iv) the Administration’s announcement that the U.S. will no longer consider that the establishment of civilian settlements in the West Bank is per se inconsistent with international law.

The three Foundations are mechanisms for bilateral science, agriculture, and technology cooperation and have provided over $1.4 billion since their inception to support more than 7,300 joint research and commercial projects that have scientifically and economically benefited both countries.  Each dollar invested through the BARD Foundation has returned an estimated $12 in value to the U.S. and Israeli economies.  Each dollar invested through the BIRD Foundation produces an estimated $5 in revenue from commercially successful projects and an estimated $6 in follow-on investments in startups.  BSF has supported 47 Nobel Laureates and has kept scientists in both countries in the lead in innovation in medicine, cybersecurity, high technology, other critical areas of science with both civilian and military applications.  Updating the Agreements further strengthens the special bilateral relationship between the United States and Israel and continues efforts to generate significant mutual scientific and economic benefits.