Welcome to the blog that highlights Israel’s achievements over the last week. This week focuses on the growth of the young Jewish State. I was going to sub-title this week’s blog ‘Live long and prosper’ but then Leonard Nimroy (alias Mr Spock from Star Trek) ruined it by publishing some illogical remarks. The phrase, though, is clearly still appropriate.
At Ben Gurion University, scientists have unlocked some of the mysteries of how we grow physically, with their research into protein cell production. Ironically, they have discovered this using E.Coli bacterium, a form of which has been responsible for a recent epidemic across Europe. Further up the road, Weizmann researchers have identified that two proteins are vital in maintaining healthy cell development. They perform ‘organic re-cycling’ for the body.
When things go wrong in the growth process, Israelis work hard to put things right. Prof. Yechezkel Barenholz was honored on his 70th birthday. 40 years ago he co-invented Israel’s first cancer drug – Liposome. Israelis are still at the forefront of cancer research today. No wonder so many of us now reach such a good age; for example Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, the leader of the Lithuanian haredi Orthodox community, who underwent successful carotid artery surgery in Jerusalem at the age of 101.
Children are our future for growing the Jewish State, and their health is a priority for us. The earlier illness can be diagnosed, the better. With Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), Weizmann scientists can detect autism in the brains of toddlers whilst they sleep. All life is precious, and when the UK Rotary Club charity wanted to save the lives of eight Romanian children, surgeons at Israel’s Save A Child’s Heart were happy to perform the operations. More Israeli children will be smiling, now that the Government has increased the maximum age limit for children to receive free dental care, from eight years to ten and in the near future up to fourteen. Children at risk have received much publicity recently and Haifa University ran a three-day International conference entitled “Kaleidoscope of Child Maltreatment” to raise awareness, change policy and develop new solutions.
Children can change the world, so Israel has been educating them about the environment using cartoon superheroes “The Leafers.” A healthy planet allows all its inhabitants to grow and renewable energy is key to that goal. General Electric (GE) chose Israel’s Pythagoras Solar, from over 74000 energy innovators, as one of ten $100,000 winners of the ecomagination Challenge prize for its photovoltaic glass unit technology.
Almost simultaneously GE’s Technology Venture Capital fund made its first non-US investment - into Israel’s ‘bio-energy from wastewater’ company Emefcy. I mentioned recycling earlier; and water is so precious to Israelis that even ritual bath water is to be recycled. In just one town near Jerusalem, it will save more than a million gallons of water each year. It could be considered to be the first “holy water” system. Meanwhile one hundred young participants of Taglit-Birthright Israel did their bit for the environment when they spent the morning literally cleaning up Jerusalem. Over 11 years, the project has organized over 500,000 hours of voluntary work.
Now we’ve returned to good news about our children, you must read what 12-year-old Tamar Fogel, orphaned in the Itamar terror attack, got up to when she visited Europe with her Bnei Akiva group. The French Jews expected to give encouragement to the Itamar youth, but it was the reverse. Inspirational! Another group of youthful ambassadors were the twenty students who began a ten-day tour of UK university campuses to put over Israel’s case in the lions’ den. Good luck to them! Let’s hope they can get across the message that there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. New York Times reporter Ethan Bronner was extremely surprised last week to see how well children were doing there, with near universal literacy, low infant mortality, and health conditions better than across much of the developing world. Pity they are still being incited to hate Jews. They should learn from Israel, whose young aspiring entrepreneurs, plus IBM, Microsoft and Intel attended StarTAU’s Global Network Forum designed to ‘help creative minds form and build on their ideas, thereby enriching Israel.’ Or in other words, ‘To boldly go where no-one has gone before.’
Michael Ordman writes a weekly newsletter containing Good News stories about Israel. www.verygoodnewsisrael.blogspot.com