I get angry when I read the way the media and Israel’s detractors always blame the Jewish State for all the evil in the world. The real truth is that Israel is a major driving force for good and is advancing the planet to a better future. Look at all these items that I have found in just last week’s news stories.
You would expect that a “super-power” would be “up there” with the best of the space pioneers. And the Jewish State is certainly maintaining its “heavenly” connections. Israel’s Spacecom just reported that its Amos 5 communications satellite has reached geo-synchronous orbit and will begin commercial operations to Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. Then Israel’s Technion announced that it is developing three unique “nano-satellites”, each less than 6kg. This will boost the miniaturisation of electronic components and advance a variety of civilian applications. The Technion launched an 84kg satellite in 1998 that worked for eleven years.
Israelis are also conducting space research to benefit the planet. Professor Avi Domb from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has conducted an “out of this world” battle against bacteria. His experiment, sent aboard the space station Atlantis, shows how a polymer can cut into bacteria and neutralize it. Meanwhile, Israeli high-school students Ariel Berko and Yoav Levi from Kiryat Ata have been selected from thousands as finalists in a competition to run their zero-gravity experiment on Space Lab.
Still up in the air, Israel’s Orbit Technologies has won a NIS 2 million order from the Canadian Air Force for its airborne telemetry and monitoring systems to monitor objects flying in Canadian air space. And the Jewish State is utilising its technological leadership in solar energy to encourage green energy entrepreneurs, with funding for up to 2,000 hectares of 50-megawatt solar-power plants. And under the sea, a proposed 2000-megawatt sub-sea electric power cable will link Israel, Cyprus and Greece, to export electricity from natural gas through to Europe. Eilat’s new inland port and high-speed railway link to the rest of the country will also help Israel to power ahead.
In the medical world, Israel’s is certainly a super-power. Recently, Tel Aviv University researchers found an important cancer clue in that chromosome aberrations leading to cancer, happen in pairs. Another TAU team has linked mobility deficits in leg muscles to the initial stage of Multiple Sclerosis – far earlier than standard neurological tests. A third TAU team has discovered that the ulcer-causing bacteria Helicobacter pylori protects against the Shigella bacteria.
Meanwhile, Ben Gurion University researchers are moulding the next generation of surgeons by their research into Minimally Invasive Surgery. And last week’s drug developments from Israeli biotechs Avraham Pharmaceuticals and Nasvax will certainly bring hope to those at risk of contracting Alzheimer’s disease.
Israel’s super-power status emerged from unlikely beginnings. Saul Singer, co-author of “Start-up Nation” captured the miraculous transformation of the Jewish State in the book he wrote with Dan Senor. Saul will be speaking at a Business Breakfast at the Embassy of Israel in London on 7th February. The future of the Start-up Nation is still bright, despite the current global economic crisis. Israeli start-up companies raised a record $2.14 billion in 2011, an 11-year high, and 70% more than the $1.26 billion raised in 2010. And canny investors certainly recognise our potential. On Jan 22nd Israel raised $225 million in bonds; the biggest overnight sale of its debt securities ever.
So wouldn’t it be fantastic if our Arab neighbours joined us in these ventures and made the whole region into a super-power, instead of trying to destroy what we have already achieved. They can really boost their agricultural industry if they learn from Israeli experts (sponsored by Israeli charity KKL-JNF) about how to grow products in sandy and saline water conditions. Or from the Civil Administration (part of the IDF) that is working with the Palestinian Authority to launch environmental projects in Judea and Samaria. Arabs certainly already benefit regularly from Israeli medical help. The 23 children undergoing surgery at Israel’s Save A Child’s Heart Wolfson Medical Centre include twelve youngsters from the Palestinian Authority and four from Iraq.
Being a super-power unfortunately comes at a cost. According to the Better Life Index of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Israelis work too hard trying to save the planet, and devote relatively little time to family and hobbies. Yet when asked, according to the OECD, "72% of people in Israel said they were satisfied with their life, well above the OECD average of 59%."
But when all is said and done, Israelis know where power really comes from. A new survey by the Guttman Centre of the Israel Democracy Institute has shown that 84% of Israelis believe in God and the numbers are rising.
And with that partnership, the potential is infinite.
Michael Ordman writes a weekly newsletter containing Good News stories about Israel.
To subscribe, email a request to [email protected]