The RI Israel Coalition benefits Americans and Israelis


Though the judicial reform protests continue on the streets of Israel, with all sorts of sub-protests and counter-protests, everyday life continues as well.

No matter where one may stand on the political turmoil, there are still people and businesses that seek to develop partnerships to grow their opportunities.

The Rhode Island Israel Collaborative is a nonprofit organization that promotes commerce, academics and science projects between Israel and Rhode Island. RIIC enables many businesses and groups in Israel to partner with entities in our state to develop projects that benefit both Americans and Israelis.

When I worked at the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island as director of the Israel Desk (among other duties), I was well aware of the many varied areas in which RIIC operates, and I was friends with some of the directors, including Avi Nevel (CEO), Jeff Brier, Jay Rosenstein, Miriam Ross, Jacqueline Saslawski (Bryant University) and Roey Tzezana.

I was present years ago, when RIIC began a project that partnered members of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce with a web technology company in Israel.

During the pandemic, I virtually attended a couple of RIIC’s “Little States, Big Innovations” panels, which introduced Israeli and American businesspeople.

Therefore, I was happy to accept an invitation to join the RIIC board, which allows me to continue to develop ties between Rhode Islanders and Israel.

My first event as a board member was sitting in on a virtual program with Discover Newport and the U.S. economic mission in Israel to promote tourism in Rhode Island.  RIIC is also in discussions with Innovate Newport regarding an ed-tech competition.

Currently, RIIC is organizing a conference on sustainable aquaculture, featuring experts from Rhode Island, Greece and Israel, as well as programs on artificial intelligence.

But all of these programs are possible only when businesspeople get involved in the organization and suggest topics and partnerships. People must also donate some funds to cover the costs of these volunteer efforts or to sponsor particular projects.

The most recent partnership is a research agreement between Providence’s Women & Infants Hospital and an Israeli firm. Dr. May-Tal Sauerbrun-Cutler, who works in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Women & Infants, and is an assistant professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University, and Rohi Hourvitz, CEO and co-founder of FertilAI, signed a research agreement for the purpose of testing FertilAI’s algorithms with Women & Infants’ retrospective data.

The goal of the research is to validate the generality of artificial intelligence algorithms on different populations. These algorithms were developed for the purpose of improving operational efficiencies and clinical outcomes for fertility patients.

RIIC introduced the two organizations in 2022, leading to this agreement, which strengthens the academic and research ties between Israel and Rhode Island.

Many additional partnerships, whether business or academic, are possible when people bring their ideas and contacts to the attention of RIIC, or simply donate to help ideas become reality.

Upcoming events include:

• Oct. 24,  a free webinar: “Innovations in AgeTech from Israel”.

• Oct. 26,  conference on AI and art. For speaking opportunities, contact

• Nov. 15, 9 a.m. to noon, an online event: “The Blue Revolution and Sustainable Aquaculture,” featuring experts from Rhode Island, Greece and Israel. If you are interested in being a partner or sponsor for this event, contact us at

LARRY KATZ is a board  member of the Rhode Island Israel Collaborative. For more information about the group or any of its events, go to