Report lauds US-Israel science, tech bond

Difference between Washington, Jerusalem on political issues can overshadow "positive relationship in R&D and with innovators," US ambassador Dan Shapiro says.

November 21, 2013 01:55
1 minute read.
US ambassador Daniel Shapiro with Avi Hasson, Ann Liebschutz at an event in Tel Aviv.

Daniel Shapiro, Avi Hasson, Ann Liebschutz 370. (photo credit: Matty Stern/US Embassy)


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An “unsung story” of the relationship between Israel and the United States is the deep scientific and technological bond between the two nations, the US Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro said Tuesday night.

Differences between Washington and Jerusalem on political and security issues can sometimes overshadow the “positive relationship in R&D and with the innovators,” he said.

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“I think people in the American hi-tech community, obviously, [and] diplomatic people, with their own connection to Israel, know the story,” Shapiro said. “But I actually think that story has not been as widely told.”

Shapiro’s comments came at a Herzliya event marking the release of the “US-Israel Innovation Index,” a report that aims to quantify the close scientific and technological relationship between the US and Israel. The document was created by the US-Israel Science and Technology Foundation, an organization created jointly by the governments to foster economic cooperation.

The report compares the relationship between the US and Israel with the US’s relationship to other major economies.

While it quantifies the current state of these relationships, it does not track the history or trajectory of the relationship.

Instead, the foundation intended to provide a baseline to be compared with in subsequent years.

The baseline metrics are divided into four categories: government relationships, human capital, industry cooperation and research and development synergy.

The foundation found that the relationship is “balanced and broad-based” and falls third on an aggregate ranking of US relationships with other economies. Switzerland and Canada ranked higher than Israel on the index.

“Israel is viewed as an R&D destination of choice among many US companies, while many Israeli companies enter the US market to obtain capital and penetrate a large economic market,” the report states.

The two countries’ relationship is “unique and important” to the “innovation ecosystem” in Israel, Avi Hasson, the chief scientist at the Economy Ministry, said at the event.

The report’s findings are generally not surprising, said Ann Liebschutz, the foundation’s executive director, but will allow the foundation to “identify trends to the positive, and we can identify if there are trends to the negative” in the future.

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