Hearts and minds

Last week’s good news from Israel was full of the regular, life-changing output from the phenomenal minds of Israel’s top scientists and innovators.  There was also, however, a deeper underlying sentiment associated with many of these stories.  The various newsmakers were not just trying to further their egos or bank balances. They really wanted to benefit others by their activities and actions.
A career in medicine requires dedication and years of devotion to the saving of lives.  So our hearts go out to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem researchers that have identified the molecular basis for the breakage of DNA – the hallmark of cancer cells.  Also to those from the Sheba Medical Centre in Tel Hashomer who discovered that the natural protein klotho has the ability to shrink pancreatic cancer.  Even more so, at the Rabin Medical Center, where surgeons performed the first ever ‘domino triple kidney-pair exchange’ and saved three lives.  In this unique case, unrelated donors provided their own organs to complete strangers so that loved ones would receive treatment.
IsraAID has been providing humanitarian aid into the heart of Africa for many years.  So it was only natural that within days of the founding of the new Muslim state of South Sudan, IsraAID would be launching a project to tackle the newly fledged country’s problems of 90% illiteracy, sparse water supplies and almost non-existent infrastructure.  The hearts of 130 cancer-suffering children were lifted when the Israeli charity Zichron Menachem took them on a fully-paid holiday abroad, with doctors, nurses, psychologists and counselors, to give them respite from their treatment.
Israel is an openhearted society for all religions.  In opening a baptism site for Christians, Israel cleared the area of minefields and spent $2.3 million renovating the famous River Jordan site.  The lack of any employment prospects is often at the heart of a problem teenager’s situation.  So we welcome news of an innovative project to prepare at-risk Israeli teens for careers in the graphic arts.  In our hearts we know that honesty is the best policy.  Tel Aviv University researchers have now proved this fact, with research that shows that companies usually attract more customers when they are open about their products’ faults.
Israeli technology is often necessary to get to the heart of the matter.  So gastro patients in America will be hopeful that the unique SRS endoscopes made by Israel’s Medigus can soon be added to the company’s range of approved innovative medical devices and miniature cameras. 
Is your heart set on Facebook or its competitor, the new Google+ social network?  With the new Israeli software from Crossrider, you can use both – and 100,000 people have already downloaded it.  Start-up companies are at the heart of Israel’s success and fifteen top Israeli start-ups are currently touring the US thanks to Bootcamp Ventures, an organization that introduces Israeli innovators to new sources of investment capital.
In the field of entertainment, Tel Aviv enjoyed good-hearted celebrations with this year’s ‘White Night’ all-night events.  I laughed heartedly when I saw the photograph of professional kite-surfer Maciek Kozerski apparently walking on water in the Sea of Galilee.  His feat was not a miracle, however, rather the result of four rigorous days of wet practice.  Finally, UK entertainment star Robbie Williams really wore his heart on his sleeve at his recent London concert.  He accepted a gift of the Israeli flag and paraded it on stage, to the delight of his fans.
An American Jew showed where his heart really lies when he gave up a career in the US army in favor of serving the Jewish State.  And on the 35th anniversary of Entebbe, we heard how Yoni Netanyahu gave his heart to save Jewish passengers high-jacked by Arab and German terrorists, when he and his elite commandos plucked them out from under the noses of Idi Amin’s Ugandan army.  A brave Israeli mother bared her heart with this emotional speech about the two sons who gave their lives to the defense of their nation.  And it was heartening to hear Glen Beck state on his recent visit to Israel "There are millions of people (who support Israel) that you don''t see, because the media doesn''t want to tell their story."
If only the hearts and minds of our near neighbors could be opened in the same way.  Is Gaza really a prison camp if 3,520 Gaza children can enter the Guinness Book of Records by playing with 176 multi-colored parachutes?
Finally, a verse from Psalm 126 seems particularly appropriate when applied to Israel’s world-famous fizzy drinks machine company Sodastream. Last week it announced that it is building a massive new factory near Beersheba that will give jobs to one thousand employees.  It typifies Israel’s success, which can be only be described as ‘Like the streams in the Negev.’ 
Michael Ordman writes a weekly newsletter containing Good News stories about Israel.  www.verygoodnewsisrael.blogspot.com