One of the kidneys on a chartered flight to Israel.
One of the kidneys on a chartered flight to Israel.

California-Israel partnership is a model of diplomacy

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In this week’s print edition, we feature a story about a complex kidney exchange that linked six donors and recipients across Israel and the United Arab Emirates. Performed with the help of technology developed by an Israeli-born professor at Stanford, the life-saving exchange would not have been possible without the signing of the Abraham Accords, which normalized relations between the two countries.

The story is an example of the transformational effects of liberalized relations between Israel and its Arab neighbors, not only for the economies of each nation, but for information sharing that can save lives. It’s also evidence of the tremendous role California plays — in fields ranging from medical science to consumer technology to agriculture — in supercharging the diplomatic relationship between the United States and Israel.

The California-Israel partnership should be considered a global model for diplomatic ties that not only benefit the economies of each, but facilitate innovations that benefit the entire world.

Stanford is at the center of that partnership. According to a recent report, “Silicon Valley to Silicon Wadi: California’s Economic Ties to Israel,” commissioned by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Breakthrough Foundation, Stanford leads Bay Area universities in the number of Israeli professors conducting research through what’s known as the ScienceAbroad program. Stanford hosts approximately 70 Israeli researchers, the report said, working in fields ranging from health to artificial intelligence to data science.

Most people are aware of the ways Israeli technology has contributed to consumer products across the globe by way of Silicon Valley. Like the navigation company Waze, for example, which Google acquired for $1.2 billion in 2013, or the work done at Intel in Israel, the country’s largest technology company, which produces chips and processors relied on by the world’s most well-known tech companies, from Apple to Amazon.

A view San Jose and Silicon Valley /Wikimedia-Coolcaesar CC BY-SA 3.0
A view of San Jose and Silicon Valley (Photo/Wikimedia-Coolcaesar CC BY-SA 3.0)

But lesser known are partnerships in fields many of us don’t touch or see everyday. Such as water treatment and conservation, cybersecurity and agricultural technology.

Considering the similarities in their climates, California and Israel face similar challenges in conservation and environmental sustainability. And they use similar strategies, such as water desalination.

In Southern California, the Israeli company IDE operates the Carlsbad desalination plant, which produces 10 percent of the water used in San Diego County.

In the Central Valley, almond growers are relying upon technology from an Israeli company called BeeHero, which helps farmers detect problems and improve bee pollination by monitoring hives with sensors.

In the burgeoning field of cybersecurity, the Israeli company SentinelOne, now based in Mountain View, boasts 1,000 employees and was valued at over $1 billion when it went public earlier this year.

Throughout the state, just six Israeli companies employ nearly 5,000 Californians, the report found, and jobs boosted by their economic activity number nearly 10,000.

In 2014, Gov. Jerry Brown and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed an agreement to develop joint projects and conduct research mutually beneficial to California and Israel.

Today we are seeing some of the benefits.

We applaud such efforts. We also urge countries that remain resistant to establishing ties with Israel to think long and hard about what they might be missing, both in the way of economic development and by way of benefits from life-improving, or even life-saving, innovations.

J. Editorial Board

The J. Editorial Board pens editorials as the voice of J.