Have they lost their senses?

It is easy to lose your perspective when reading the International Media’s slanted news about the Jewish State. If you can focus on what really is being achieved in this country, you will hardly believe your eyes.
Our sensory journey this week begins at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem where brain scientists have tapped onto the visual cortex of people suffering from congenital blindness. Video camera images are converted into “soundscapes,” making it possible for them in effect to “see” using sound. Meanwhile, Israel’s VisionCare raised finance to market its implantable telescope, smaller than a pea in size, for the treatment of end-stage age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Next, doctors at Kaplan Medical Centre used new cornea transplant technology to restore the sight of 69 year-old retired paediatrician Dr Vladimir Promovich who became blind last year.   Kaplan surgeons also restored the hearing of Sderot resident Meir Turgeman’s 25 years ago after he became deaf due to defective middle ears. He was able to afford a titanium implant device, thanks to new Ministry of Health subsidies.
No wonder that 50 top North American hospital bosses were impressed with the Israeli medical system when they were shown around Hadassah and Sheba medical centres. The CEO of Toronto’s Mt. Sinai Hospital said, “The Israeli system is spectacular”. And US investment is available for Israeli biotechs working on technology that prevents or slows deterioration of the senses of the world’s growing elderly population. In fact the world is so hungry for Israeli companies that the number of recent investments in and acquisitions of Israeli firms by overseas companies is staggering.
12-year old Aya Almasal from Gaza was unconscious and unable to sense anything when she arrived at Rambam hospital in Haifa. Doctors diagnosed the rare heart condition “QT syndrome” and a defibrillator pacemaker implant saved her life. Rambam treats hundreds like her every year.


Israeli Technology is protecting all the senses of countless American soldiers, as US Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro saw when he visited the Plasan factory at Kibbutz Sasa recently. Plasan make the armour used in the majority of the US military''s armoured vehicles in Iraq and Afghanistan. When it comes to security matters, sophisticated Israeli technology will sense when there is a threat. Israel’s Elbit Systems has unveiled a hyper-spectral electro-optics imaging payload with revolutionary intelligence capabilities that will allow the IDF to better identify enemy targets hidden by camouflage. You certainly won’t be able to sense the new wireless facilities that will be installed on Israel’s trains. Israeli rail passengers will enjoy free WiFi Internet access from October at all 53 stations and in all 620 rail cars. 
Your senses may be fooled into thinking that a new species of fruit is a plum. But the “black galaxy” developed by Israel’s Seeds Technologies DM of Kfar Ruth is actually a tomato. The pigment provides the tomato with a high concentration of antioxidants and vitamin C.


Despite the continuing senseless, indiscriminate rocket attacks from Gaza, the Israeli government is bending over backwards to help ordinary Gazan farmers. Israeli authorities allowed their tomatoes to be exported to Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Israel is even using the technology of its laboratories to ensure that the tomatoes meet international standards.
Radio RADISIN, a private Farsi-language radio station based in Tel Aviv, is trying to transmit some common sense to Iran. It airs Iranian music, poetry and current affairs shows aiming to spread peace between the Israeli and Iranian people - regardless of who is in power in Tehran. And there is a real sense of desperation in Syria. Ex-Syrian Army officer Abu Bilal has joined the rebel opposition and requested Israeli help in this phone call to Ayub Kara - Israel’s Deputy Minister for Development of the Negev and the Galilee.


The senses of many Israelis will soon be captivated by Madonna’s 2012 world tour, which will be launched on May 31st at Ramat Gan Stadium. Others will be drawn to the February 2012 Tel Aviv Jazz Festival at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque. And the British Film Festival has returned to Israel after a two-year gap, with a selection of contemporary movies showing in seven Israeli cities.
On the Jewish New Year for trees, the municipalities supplied thousands of seedlings, saplings and perennial plants to schools and kindergarten children. But for many, Tu Bishvat, was the ideal opportunity to exercise all the senses and rush out to experience the natural beauty that we are blessed with in the Jewish State.
I hope you can sense that we’re on the right track.
Michael Ordman writes a weekly newsletter containing Good News stories about Israel.
To subscribe, email a request to [email protected]