Maryland and Israel are proud partners in business and innovation, with dozens of Israeli companies calling Maryland home for their U.S. facilities. Over 30 of these companies will feature their technologies, products and services at the Maryland/Israel Development Center’s fifth annual “Showcase of Maryland Israel Business,” from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m., December 1 in the Observation Gallery of the Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.

Through amazing medical breakthroughs, many of these companies are producing lifesaving technologies, both for Israel and other governments to protect their populations, as well as helping society as a whole.

By now, for example, most people have seen news videos of Israel’s spectacularly successful anti-missile Iron Dome system shoot incoming rockets out of the sky, literally. The two companies that developed Iron Dome – Rafael, the project’s prime contractor, and Elta Systems, the architect of Iron Dome’s unique radar system – have offices in Maryland and will be coming to the Showcase event.

Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, which has had a Maryland office for over 10 years, is Israel's second largest defense company with sales of $2 billion and is the largest employer in northern Israel with 7,000 staff members. Rafael develops and manufactures advanced defense equipment from underwater technologies to naval, ground, air and space systems for the Israel Defense Forces and customers around the world.

Elta, which opened their North American headquarters in Maryland three years ago, is one of Israel’s leading defense electronics companies and the fourth largest radar manufacturer in the world. The largest subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries, it was established in 1967 and moved to Ashdod, south of Tel Aviv, as part of then Prime Minister Levi Eshkol’s policy of decentralization of industry throughout Israel.

A younger up and coming company is Israel’s Roboteam, developers of lightweight unmanned ground systems for defense and law enforcement. Their family of robotic solutions is used to gather tactical intelligence, dispose of explosive ordnance and, most famously, conduct subterranean/tunnel investigations. When the terrorists’ tunnels from Gaza into Israel were discovered last year, Roboteam’s robots were sent into the tunnels prior to putting IDF soldiers into harm’s way to conduct reconnaissance.

In the medical field, one of Maryland’s oldest Israeli corporate citizens, and another Showcase participant, is Medispec, developers of shock wave therapy technology, which has been called the “gold standard” to treat kidney stones. It is also used to diagnose conditions stemming from urinary tract obstructions. Medispec systems are in use in over 80 countries and in such prominent medical institutions as Johns Hopkins Hospital and the Mayo Clinic. Research results of shock wave therapy point to promising uses from cardiology to erectile dysfunction.

Israel proudly wears the moniker, “The Startup Nation.” Less widely known is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s designation of Maryland as the best state in the nation for innovation and entrepreneurship. Shall we call it “The Startup State?” The future of collaboration between Maryland and Israel in lifesaving business and technological collaboration shines bright and can be witnessed at the MIDC’s fifth annual Showcase of Maryland Israel Business on December 1.

Barry Bogage is Executive Director, Maryland/Israel Development Center