Ami Appelbaum, center, chairman of the Israel Innovation Authority, signs an...

Ami Appelbaum, center, chairman of the Israel Innovation Authority, signs an economic development partnership between New York and Israel with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo Thursday in Jerusalem. Credit: Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

New York State and Israel signed an agreement on Thursday to spur the growth of technology startups and research projects, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced in Jerusalem.

The agreement includes a $2 million grant to establish sites in New York and Israel where startups can collaborate on research, commercialize inventions and receive advice on growth plans. The grant money will come equally from Empire State Development, the state’s primary business-aid agency, and the Israel Innovation Authority.

The grant program, called the Smart Cities Innovation Partnership, will include five sites across the state.

Cuomo also said ESD and the Israeli authority have agreed to cooperate on developing inventions in the fields of cybersecurity, drones, energy, smart cities and transportation.

“The future of New York is going to be growth in the tech sector, and this joint venture between New York and Israel will develop new opportunities that allow both economies to thrive even further,” the governor said during a trip to Israel.

He also said the New York-Israel agreement calls for recruiting Israeli startups to the state’s incubators, which are often located on college campus such as Stony Brook University.

Stony Brook landed Zuznow Inc. of Tel Aviv in 2015 through Cuomo’s Start-Up NY program, where businesses pay no state taxes for up to 10 years if they come to a campus. Zuznow, which sells a software program to convert websites to fully functioning mobile apps with a single mouse click, briefly moved its headquarters to Stony Brook before deciding Brooklyn provided better access to its potential U.S. customers.

Israel also is a top export destination for Long Island manufacturers. The Middle East nation is the No. 3 destination for exports from Nassau County, accounting for $419 million in sales in 2015, according to census data.

Ami Appelbaum, chairman of the Israeli authority and chief scientist at the Ministry of Economy and Industry, said the new agreement between his country and New York State “will provide startups an opportunity for pilot validation sites to address the strategic concerns of both states, such as cybersecurity, supply chain, energy, health, transportation, wastewater, water, civic engagement, parks, public works and safety.”

Previously, the state Energy Research and Development Authority and the Israeli authority signed an agreement to collaborate on clean-energy projects. That pact was signed in 2018.

ESD CEO Howard Zemsky said the new agreement “will strengthen economic cooperation” between the state and Israel that  began decades ago.

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