There are times when I stare with amazement after reading about some of the innovative Israeli ideas that can transform our planet into a vision of a brighter future.
I write this from a wet and windy Southern England where the annual “summer” hosepipe ban has now been in force for several months. Apparently, UK water companies can only see themselves being able to move water from wet UK regions to the “dry” South sometime in the next 25 years. In contrast Mekorot, the national water carrier of the tiny Jewish State, is working with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development to disseminate Israeli know-how and technologies to third world countries as part of an effort to deal with the global water crisis.
Israeli scientists probably have the most far-seeing vision of any in the world – certainly those at the Technion who have improved the resolution of microscopes ten-fold. They have patented a breakthrough technique that boosts the performance of any type of sophisticated microscope and imaging system. We can now view dynamically changing molecules smaller than the wavelength of light. Meanwhile, the US Food and Drugs Administration has just approved another Israeli optical medical instrument. The SRS endoscope can now be used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which affects at least 5% of the world’s population. Then while in England, I watched a BBC News feature showing UK surgeons using a version of Microsoft’s all-seeing Kinect gaming device, adapted to perform touch-less surgery. Unfortunately they didn’t mention (surprise, surprise) that the Kinect is based on Israeli technology.
Still on the subject of visual technology, Israel-based Macadamia Apps, has developed StillShot that analyses videos taken on an iPhone and extracts each frame as an individual photo.
Israel truly has vision when it comes to medical, social and humanitarian issues. The Israeli Government has partnered with the Australian charity Insulin for Life to donate to several countries in the Pacific and Central Asia. The Israeli Ambassador to New Zealand presented much needed diabetic supplies to Samoa’s Minister of Health at a special ceremony to mark the 50th anniversary of Samoa’s independence. When Israeli charity Ezer Mizion first set-up the world’s largest Jewish Bone Marrow Donor Registry, it must have had a vision of the day when it would mark its 1,000th transplant. Well that day has now arrived with the stem cell donor, 24-year-old Liraz, who was thrilled when she was called to donate her stem cells to save the life of a patient.
I spoke earlier about the vision of Israel’s innovators but some may be surprised that Jerusalem is the capital of Jewish innovation. There are more Jewish social innovators in Israel’s capital city than in any other city in the world. Israel’s vision of the future will only come to fruition if today’s youth become the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. So it was encouraging to read that Israeli religious high school students won third place out of 1,500 candidates in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Pittsburgh. Nerya Stroh and Gal Oren, designed AquaStop - a user-friendly computerized device that detects and stops water leaks in buildings. Intel Corporation certainly supports Israel’s technological vision and has now opened a computational intelligence centre in Israel. "It was only natural that when we started to think about where we''d might locate a new research institute that we''d want to look at Israel," said Justin Rattner, Intel''s Chief Technology Officer.
Two very different buildings were a vision of blue and white recently. First, between 1st June and 3rd June New York''s landmark building, the Empire State Building, was lit in the colours of the Israeli flag in honour of Israel''s 64th anniversary. Then Iranian Ali Ramezan is proudly flying the Israeli flag outside his home in Cheetham Hill, Manchester. After having been subjected to torture in the Islamic Republic, Ali fled his home country and supports the State of Israel while preparing to file charges against the Iranian regime. Meanwhile four Israeli sportsmen and women are hoping to set the Israeli flag flying by achieving their vision of winning medals in London after striking gold in pre-Olympic swimming, windsurfing, judoka and archery events.
We can celebrate the fact that young Jews across the world want to experience the Jewish State and maybe decide to join in Israel’s vision of the future. Then, the Bible Lands Museum has launched a new Jewish Heritage Tour for 1,200 Birthright-Taglit visitors that shows the Bible as Israel’s true birthright. And Israel’s Prime Minister made it crystal clear to the thousands of young participants of the Masa Israel project when he proclaimed, “This is your country.”
Finally, archaeologists in Jerusalem have discovered a 1.5cm clay seal from 800 BCE with the name of Bethlehem in ancient Hebrew. It is the first time the name Bethlehem appears outside the Bible. It proves that Bethlehem was a Jewish city 2800 years ago. That’s “one-in-the eye” for anyone denying the link between the Jews and the Land of Israel.
Israel – share the vision.
Michael Ordman writes a weekly newsletter containing Good News stories about Israel.
To subscribe, email a request to email@example.com