How Goodly Are Your Tents

The Midianite prophet Billam praised the Jewish people with these words some 3400 years ago as he looked down from the mountain onto the Children of Israel in their booths. At this time of year, when many Jews construct booths and adorn them with goodly produce, I have assembled some “virtual” booths containing the latest beneficial contributions of the Jewish State.

In Israel’s Medical booth, Vecoy Nanomedicines is developing a “virus trap” that fools viruses to self-destruct. The natural “cell-host recognition” mechanism of the virus forces it to lock onto the trap, where it is destroyed. If the virus mutates, then it can no longer attack cells and therefore cannot cause any damage. In another section of the same tent, NasVax, based in Ness-Ziona, has developed a drink for people suffering from Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) commonly known as “fatty liver disease” which affects up to 15 million US citizens. It is undergoing trials and also conversion into a pill. 
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has just recommended approval of third-degree-burns treatment NexoBrid, developed by Israel’s MediWound Ltd. NexoBrid is a gel made of enzymes that removes burnt tissue, reduces the risk of infection and shortens recovery time. In other parts of the booth you can see Israel Technion’s latest work using stem cells, its needle-free blood tests and breath tests for cancer. But a special visit is recommended to see Aerotel’s MDWave, which uses low-frequency electromagnetic radiation to treat pain. Clinical trials are underway for patients with chronic musculoskeletal pains and those with chest pains due to blocked blood vessels.


The Technology booth is full of gadgets and software. Dr. Eran Socher of Tel Aviv University is there, developing small, cheap computer chips that can be used to search for concealed weapons. The complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) chips emit safe, low-level radiation to produce an image.

The Korean giant Samsung makes a surprise guest appearance, having just revealed that “all the camera processing technology” in its upcoming Galaxy S3 smart camera and cell-phone is Israeli. 
Amongst the gigabytes of Israeli applications, Conduit has just launched a new Internet browser called “U” in a brave bid to challenge the likes of Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome. Next, family tree builder MyHeritage has just released its new automated smart record matching to link family names to original documents, birth records, marriage certificates, Ellis Island passenger lists, newspapers and even tombstones. 
One moment, as we pass by’s stand that displays its application that collects all the photos, videos, and tweets from an event and presents them in multimedia albums called “moments” where people can see “360-degree views” of the entire experience. It supports Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+ networks. Finally, “TU Me” is the latest Israeli smart-phone app for sending texts, photos, music, videos and map locations over the Internet. It can even do free, high-quality Voice Over IP calls. 


To avoid any possible contamination, all Israel’s CleanTech organisations have been isolated in one booth. They include Israel’s Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) College, which has just commenced the current year of its unique B.Sc. degree in Water Industries Engineering. In its latest intake, 50 undergraduates will study physics, chemistry, microbiology, economics, marketing, material engineering, electrical engineering, and IT. Thanks to good water management and desalination, Israeli farmers will benefit from an extra 25 million cubic meters of water for agriculture in 2013. Perhaps this is the reason for the fabulous waterfall display that now greets passengers flying out of Ben Gurion airport.


Making colourful contributions to the CleanTech booth (and to the skyline of many major cities) are Greenbo’s plant pots. This totally Israeli concept recently won the design industry’s equivalent of the Oscar - a Red Dot Award. And nothing has been wasted in the production of this latest video about the Hirlya Recycling Park. Previously Israel’s largest garbage dump, Hirlya is now an Environmental Education Centre, an energy generator and a modern facility for separating waste into recyclable materials.


The final word goes to someone who grew up in a booth in an Ethiopian village with no electricity or mains water. To anyone who asserts that Israel is a racist society, Shlomo Molla has a simple retort: “Just take a look at my life.” The 46-year-old has risen through the ranks of Israeli society, where he now holds the position of deputy speaker of the Knesset. "If you have your motivation, Israel is a country where the sky is the limit."
So let’s celebrate and raise the roof!
Michael Ordman writes a weekly newsletter containing Good News stories about Israel.
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