A true light among nations
LAST UPDATED: 01/06/2012 21:54
As a country, we are defined by our collective successes, of which there are many.
Prof. Dan Shechtman receiving the Nobel Prize Photo: REUTERS/Ints Kalnins
While doom and gloom dominate the headlines and it appears as if Iran, Hezbollah
and Hamas are all poised to strike tomorrow in a massive simultaneous attack, or
it appears that nearly the entire world is against us, or that the country’s
social fabric is quickly ripping at the seam, it becomes necessary to see the
larger picture by looking at what we are really about. Many of Israel’s problems
are created from without but our successes come from within.
So for some
perspective – and optimism – we need to look inward. As a country, we are
defined by our collective successes and what follows is but a small sampling of
• Ten Israelis have won the Nobel Prize so far.
• Israel is a
leader in quality of life. In a comparison conducted by the UN regarding quality
of life in 182 countries, Israel ranked 27th, only slightly lower than the
• Israel’s healthcare system is one of the most advanced in the
• Israel is a leader in biotechnology development.
Israeli medical developments are used in the best operating rooms across the
• Israeli cows produce the largest amount and highest quality of
milk in the world.
• Israel is the only country that entered the 21st
century with a net gain in its number of trees.
• Israel is one of the
world’s top leaders in agricultural development and fruit cloning.
quarter of the population holds a degree – ranking third in the world.
Israel produces more scientific papers and more patents per capita than any
• Relative to its population, Israel is the largest
immigrant- absorbing nation, has more museums per capita and receives more media
coverage than any other country in the world.
• Israel has sent emergency
delegations around the world to assist foreign governments in times of major
disaster including but not limited to Cambodia, Rwanda, Turkey, Argentina,
Armenia, Russia, Kenya, New Orleans, Haiti, Japan, Indonesia and
• The IDF was the first major medical team to set up camp
immediately following the devastating earthquake in Haiti.
• The World
Economic Forum has recognized Israel as one of the leading countries in the
world in technological innovation.
• The cell phone, disk on key, instant
messenger chat, voicemail technology and PillCam were all developed here. The
Pentium4 processor was designed and developed here as well.
and Cisco built their largest R&D centers here.
• Apple chose Israel
as its first and only R&D center outside the US.
• Israel has the
world’s highest percentage of engineers and scientists.
• Israel is a
leader in genetics and preventive medicine.
• Israel sends hundreds of
missions to developing countries worldwide.
• Israeli agricultural
experts introduced drip-irrigation technology, saving water in arid
• An Israeli company recently discovered a way to eradicate the
use of pesticides for pest control by using edible oil instead.
simple, inexpensive Israeli solution for storing staples is helping Africans,
South Americans and Asians survive food shortages.
• Except for the US
and Canada, Israel has the most traded companies on Wall Street than any other
• Israel is a leader in coexistence programs that bring together
Arabs and Jews.
• Israel has an incredible array of institutions that
focus on charitable outreach and offering help to the needy.
• Israel is
unique in terms of its size, location and diversity of climate and
• Jerusalem’s Biblical Zoo is involved in worldwide breeding
efforts and to reintroduce animals to their natural habitats.
• Israel is
the only place where biblical history really comes alive.
• While far
from perfect, the Knesset is an anomaly in the Middle East. Its makeup of Arabs
and Jews, secular and Orthodox and men and women makes Israel a unique liberal
democracy – in fact the only one in the Middle East.
• Israel’s military
prowess and might is worldrenowned.
It is a leading force in battlefield
technology, counterterrorism, combat skills, intelligence gathering and air
superiority. The Mossad is likely the world’s top intelligence agency,
unsurpassed in its ability to gather information from around the
For all these reasons and more, it is important to recognize and
appreciate that with all its problems, Israel is a great country.