Interesting times

Welcome back to the blog that changes the paradigm about ‘no news’ being ‘good news.’ In these twice-weekly articles I hope to astound you with the latest highlights of the achievements of the Jewish State.
In this issue we see Israelis going truly Global, yet still working for peace, helping our own minorities and the disadvantaged.  Firstly, on the humanitarian front, we start at Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem, which hosted an International seminar on emergency medical aid. Sixty overseas doctors came face to face with the reality of Israel’s work with Palestinian Arabs.   And down the road, there was little sign of construction problems in Gaza as Israel approved the delivery of $100 million of materials needed to build 1,200 new homes and 18 new schools.
Further south in the Arava, soldiers in Israel’s Engineering Corps finished clearing three minefields for the agricultural benefit of thousands of Jewish and Arab Israeli citizens. Interrupting the news of the work of large organizations, I must mention Keren Urzach from Jerusalem who celebrated her bat mitzvah by donating her long hair to make a wig for a 13-year old girl who went bald due to cancer treatment.
Back to the wider arena where Haim Divon of MASHAV (Israel’s overseas aid organization) reminded us that Israel was the first country to understand that there was a need to establish an international aid agency.
Now that we’ve moved into the International arena, here are a few of the commercial activities that Israel has been working on in the past week.  Some large population centers will feel a good deal safer now that their leaders have signed deals with Israeli companies.  C Mer Industries won a contract to provide the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires with telecommunications, video, and movement control systems to protect against crime and disasters. 
Promisec signed a deal with the State of Alabama to install security compliance software that will alert management to attacks and threats to their computer systems.  South Korea and Italy are just two of the friendly countries that have decided that they need Israel’s superb military defense systems as effective deterrents against those wanting to destabilize the world.  India, on the other hand has really “sunk its teeth” into us by signing an agreement with Sialo Technology allowing the Israeli company “open wide” freedom to market its root canal and dental implant products.  Good to see that our new Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor has “cut his teeth” already with some sharp statements at that flawed organization. Did you know that he is currently the Chairman of the UN Western Europe and Others Group? (WEGO) “Here we go; here we go …?”
Often “the world” finds it easier to come to Israel, provided of course that they can find our tiny country on the map.  The US giant General Electric (GE) knows exactly “where we are at” and has just established its eighth Research & Development center in Israel – this time in Haifa.  AT&T has established an innovation centre at Amdocs Ra’anana location to enable Israeli start-ups and developers to work with them.  Two young Israeli companies, SundaySky and Ringbow have already taken up the challenge. 
Israel is also a magnet to personalities from across the world.  I was very emotional when Bob Dylan came to entertain me at Israel’s National stadium last week, having last seen him perform in the UK over 35 years ago. Colombian pop singer and UN Goodwill Ambassador Shakira promoted her global education campaign with a stop at a joint Israeli-Arab school in Jerusalem.  Six Hollywood actors and actresses came over and included a visit to the theatre in Jaffa where the performers are either deaf or blind.  Let’s now sing a chorus of “We are sailing” because over 50,000 tourists will disembark 37 cruise liners docking at the ports of Haifa and Ashdod this month.  They should all flock to the Ramat Gan Safari Park that contains the largest animal collection in the Middle East. That should help the economy, which advanced another 0.3% when the latest Composite State of the Economy index was announced last week.  Perhaps these visitors would like to stay at the new luxury five-star hotel that opened…. in Gaza!
Our most important visitors, however, came to attend two key events this week.  At Israel’s Presidential Conference, Saul Singer, co-author of the terrific book Israel - Start-up Nation, said that even as it grows, Israel must continue to invest in small innovating new businesses.  The ROI Summit in Jerusalem brought together young Jewish innovators from around the globe, including writers, activists, artists, musicians, entrepreneurs, fundraisers and social media gurus. 
I was reminded of the Biblical prophecy “They will all come to Jerusalem.”  Or merely the lines of a Bob Dylan classic - “Come gather round people wherever you roam … for the times they are a changing!”
Michael Ordman writes a weekly newsletter containing Good News stories about Israel.