Mass. lawmakers approve science partnership with Israel

A $1 billion life sciences initiative in Massachusetts includes a unique partnership with Israel.

Israel is the only foreign country named in the legislation, approved by lawmakers Thursday and expected to be signed by Governor Deval Patrick on Monday. The law would authorize joint academic and industrial research and business exchanges with Israel and calls for the creation of trade facilities for pilot projects with the Government of Israel and the Boston Haifa International Life Sciences Institute.

Israel and Massachusetts are among the few places that are home to world class research in the life sciences, boasted Rep. Jay Kaufman, one of several state lawmakers who promoted the legislation.

The partnership provision, which survived several rounds of legislative committee scrutiny, was initiated by Rep. Dan Bosley, a key lawmaker who has gained a deep understanding of Israel, despite the fact that he has a relatively small Jewish constituency, said Charles Glick, a consultant to the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston.

“The seeds for this partnership have been sown for a decade,” Glick said, through numerous exchanges and visits to Israel sponsored by Boston’s Jewish community for Massachusetts politicians and business leaders.

Funding for the partnership is subject to appropriation, but Glick says key lawmakers anticipate $10 million over the next ten years.

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