More than 200 companies in Massachusetts have ties to Israel, generating $9.3 billion in revenue and employing nearly 9,000 people in 2015, a study  released Wednesday by the New England-Israel Business Council found.
The study found significant growth in Massachusetts-Israeli business connections since the last time such factors were measured in 2012; revenue has grown by more than $3 billion and employment has jumped by more than 2,000 since that time. A 2009 study recorded $2.4 billion in revenue.
The Israeli-connected sector has grown twice as face as the state’s economy in general since 2012, and the employee base has grown four times as fast since 2013. Israel-connected businesses now account for nearly four percent of Massachusetts’ gross domestic product.
Companies with ties to Israel are also benefiting from a significant share of venture capital funding in the state, with 48 such companies having raised almost $1.2 billion from investors, roughly 10 percent of the total from 2013 to 2015. From 2010 to 2012, companies with Israeli ties in Massachusetts raised about $700 million, or six percent of total venture capital in the state.
The business news site Xconomy reported  on some of the companies covered by the study, which represent a diverse array of fields:
Some of the prominent Massachusetts firms with Israel ties include CyberArk Software ,Cybereason , and RSA  in cybersecurity; Akamai Technologies  and SimpliVity  in networking and data center technologies; Infinidat  and Zerto  in data storage and recovery; Applause  and VMTurbo  in application development and management; Chiasma  and Gelesis  in biopharma; ReWalk  and Syneron Candela  in medical devices; American Well  and Medisafe  in health IT; Desalitech  and Superpedestrian  in water and energy; and Formlabs  in 3D printing.
Part of Massachusetts’s appeal to Israeli firms, the study concluded, is the economic specialization that Israel and the Boston area share, especially in high-tech fields such as software, health sciences, and cybersecurity.
“Our advantages in talent pool, cost, and other factors puts us in a strong position, but the Massachusetts story on the ground in Israel is often drowned out by the buzz around our two main competitors [New York and the Bay Area],” stated David Goodtree, who authored a white paper based on the study. “While the mutual benefits are well-documented with the 2016 study, the state’s opportunity is to build on our success by cultivating new relationships and new areas of common interest between Massachusetts and Israel.”
The council studied companies that were founded in Massachusetts by Israelis; Israeli companies that either relocated to Massachusetts or opened an office there; founded by an Israeli in either Israel or Massachusetts and later acquired by a Massachusetts company; Massachusetts-based companies that were acquired by an Israeli company; and Massachusetts-based company that sells products based on Israeli technology.
Then-Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick praised the Bay State’s ties with the Jewish state when on a trade mission  to Israel two years ago, during which he announced a number of academic partnerships between MIT and Israeli universities. “It’s a very, very fruitful – and tangibly so – relationship,” he said. “The way to keep it going is to keep cultivating it.”
In Israel Gives Much More to the U.S. Economy Than You Imagined , which was published in the March 2016 issue of The Tower Magazine, Aaron Menenberg analyzed the benefits of Israeli trade with the U.S., and concluded:
All things considered, one would be hard-pressed to find an alliance more effective than the one between the United States and Israel. The Jewish state is a small country in population and size, but the benefits America realizes from its trade and collaboration with Israel are often comparable to much larger and wealthier nations, and in some cases may even exceed them. From individual states to the national economy, Israel’s impact is outsized: Hundreds of thousands of jobs, technological improvements, and science and healthcare advances that boost our material and physical quality of life.
Looked at this way, it becomes easy to see that the BDS movement’s attack on Israel’s economy, not to mention its encouragement of academic and scientific boycotts, directly hurts Americans. Just as the movement claims to be helping the Palestinians, but in fact harms Palestinian interests, it also harms what is perhaps America’s most important interest: its economic success. Regardless of your position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, if you support a stronger American economy and workforce, you should oppose boycotting Israel. It is important for Americans to know this, and for the anti-boycott effort to expand to include them.
[Photo: Andrew Hitchcock / Flickr ]