Israel

"Dead Sea, Israel" by WebsThatSell is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

November marked two years since Arizona opened its trade and investment office in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey opened the office as part of the Arizona Commerce Authority in 2019 as a platform for businesses in both countries to increase international trade and foreign direct investment opportunities.

In 2019 alone, Arizona and Israel conducted over $747 million in bilateral trade, according to Sandra Watson, president and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority.

“With over 450 multinational corporations with a presence in Israel, it is only natural that the state of Arizona would establish a dedicated presence to further our economic collaboration and trade,” she said.

Since its opening, the office has been in contact with over 55 Israeli companies to consider establishing their U.S. operations in Arizona, Watson said. Last year, the Arizona Israel office established a memorandum of understanding between the city of Yuma and the Israeli region of Ramat Negev to cooperate in desert agriculture and other related technologies.

The office also led to the establishment of the first alumni chapter in Israel for Arizona State University, helping to increase Arizona’s exposure in Israel.

“Israel and Arizona have many similarities,” Watson said. For example, the two have similar gross domestic products, population sizes and climates; and are focused on similar sectors like aerospace and defense, agriculture and water conservation technologies, digital health, biotech, and others.

“Both states are on a clear trajectory of innovation and modernization of their markets. Israel is dubbed the ‘start-up nation’ and Arizona often gets called the ‘start-up state’ for a reason,” she said.

Israel’s tech sector raised an unprecedented $25 billion in 2021, according to a report from Start-Up Nation Central, an Israeli nonprofit. In cybersecurity alone, Israel attracted 40% of total investment this year despite accounting for only 0.1% of the world’s population, according to Eviatar Matania, founding head and former director general of Israel National Cyber Directorate. He recently authored “Cybermania: How Israel Became a Global Powerhouse in an Arena That Shapes the Future of Mankind” with Amir Rapaport.

In Arizona, a 2019 report by the Arizona Tech Council found the state’s tech sector is growing 40% faster than the U.S. overall. Investments topped $979.5 million through the first three quarters of 2021, according to PitchBook and the National Venture Capital Association.

Hillel Newman, Consul General of Israel to the Pacific Southwest of the United States, has been to Arizona several times since assuming his post in July 2019.

There is a lot going on between Israel and Arizona, Newman told Jewish News.

Several Israeli-owned companies have already established operations in Arizona, including digital health company IMNA Solutions, prop tech company Stoa, agritech and water company N-Drip, mobility company NoTraffic and CP Technologies.

He hinted that more Israeli companies will be on their way to Arizona.

“I can’t give names of companies — I can just say there’s a lot of interest,” he said. Arizona is “on the map” for Israeli companies looking to relocate. JN