Last week’s news stories were dominated with examples of people whose vision and persistent determination produced successful outcomes not only for themselves, but also for the Jewish State and society as a whole.
We begin with Professor Moshe Phillip and his team from the Schneider Children’s Medical Center in Petah Tikva. They developed the MD-Logic Artificial Pancreas and conducted a groundbreaking trial with 18 children at a hotel near Jerusalem. The trial was a success and gives thousands of young people in Israel and around the world the chance to live a more normal life.
Dr Yiftach Roth and Dr Abraham Zangen are the co-inventors of Brainsway’s deep Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) – a non-invasive technique used to apply brief magnetic pulses to the brain. It has already been successful at treating Parkinson’s, brain tumours, alcoholic addiction, chronic diabetic pain, aphasia and Alzheimer’s. Last week, the non-invasive proprietary coil demonstrated successfully that it can stimulate the motor cortex for the lower limbs in patients with advanced multiple sclerosis.
Following the 1970’s example of Dr Patch Adams, Israeli doctors realised that laughter could be used to ease the stress of patients and promote faster recovery times. Their perseverance resulted in the Israeli innovative treatment known as Clown therapy and has been implemented in 18 Israeli hospitals by the aptly named Dream Doctors. Clown therapy can even improve IVF success rates by over 50%. Israel’s brainchild has now gone global with the International Conference on Medicine and Medical Clowning having just taken place in Jerusalem. Paradoxically, it highlighted that Israel is ‘really serious’ about improving the world’s health!
We still can only dream of a world free from natural disasters. However, Israel’s response to the Turkish earthquake crisis has impressed even the Turkish media. Aid consisted of temporary buildings to house survivors and field hospitals. We have just reached the story of Noah in our cyclic reading of the Torah, and nations are still devastated with floods. But an Israeli team at the World Bank-sponsored “WaterHackathon” in Tel Aviv isn’t sitting back and dreaming. The four computer programmers and environmental experts have just won the marathon three-day event with their project to prevent flood deaths by amalgamating and distributing twitter and facebook messages relating to flood warnings.
The environment is also the focus of the OECD Declaration on Green Growth that describes the developed world’s dream of a stronger, cleaner, fairer, world economy. Israel’s government showed that it is now doing its bit to make this a reality when it approved the establishment of a National plan to make Israel’s economy Green. The goal is to generate billions of shekels for the Israeli economy, as well as to save billions combating environmental and health hazards.
Our capital city of Jerusalem is where our nation’s dreams will eventually come true. Israeli Prime Minister certainly didn’t forget the dream that Pope Benedict XVI had when he planted an olive tree there in 2009. Last week a 200 year-old Israeli olive tree was shipped to the Vatican. PM Netanyahu said that the tree symbolizes the blooming friendship between the two States.
Pope Benedict XVI planting an olive tree in Jerusalem in 2009.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg completed his family’s Jerusalem dream when he dedicated the new headquarters of Magen David Adom to his father William. Four years ago, at the age of 95, his mother had laid the foundation stone of the $10m state-of-the-art station but she passed away a few months ago, just before her 100th birthday. The MDA station has facilities for more than 60 ambulances and mobile intensive care units and is certain to save the lives of tens of thousands in the coming years.
The 42,153 students and their teachers at Arab schools in East Jerusalem had a dream start to the school year. The Jerusalem municipality spent millions during the holidays, building and renovating classrooms, installing computers and sports facilities. Further expenditure has been allocated to programs that will advance gifted pupils, strengthen girls’ education and reduce school violence.
Another Arab to benefit from Israeli generosity was Walid Daadua who had almost given up hope after his body rejected a kidney donated by his mother. Then after years of dialysis, the tragic death of a 38 year-old Israeli resulted in a dream gift, which Hadassah hospital surgeons transplanted successfully into the Bethlehem teenager.
Finally, Dr Amit Goffer still dreams of being able to walk again, following an accident that left him a quadriplegic. It spurred him to invent the amazing Israeli exoskeleton ReWalk that allows paraplegics to walk upright. He explains how the device works at Israel’s Technion, where he and his team studied science.
The call from Israel is wake up and turn dreams into reality.
Michael Ordman writes a weekly newsletter containing Good News stories about Israel.