Israel isolated? That's news to me

It’s about time that doom and gloom writers and journalists woke up and smelt the coffee. You may have read Israel’s deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon’s summary of the Jewish State’s diplomatic progress during the last two years. Well my blog brings the story right up-to-date. Just in the last week, hundreds of millions of citizens from dozens of countries either benefited directly from the Jewish State or received indisputable evidence of Israel’s achievements.
MASHAV – Israel''s Agency for International Development Cooperation at the Foreign Ministry – ran a sustainable development course for NGO leaders from 20 countries. Angola, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cameroon, China, India, Kenya, Kyrgzystan, Moldova, Nepal, Nigeria, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Rwanda, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Thailand, Ukraine and Zambia will soon be adapting and implementing Israeli water distribution techniques, energy and municipal management systems in some of the most populous countries in the world. Separately, an Israeli private company, Green 2000, is helping Nigeria, Chad, Angola, South Sudan, Kenya, Equatorial Guinea and Ghana become self-sufficient by teaching them agricultural techniques that can increase food production significantly. That’s an additional six African countries that are getting to like Israel quite a bit.
China has been very keen on ‘The land of Einstein’ for a long time. So it was not a total surprise when the country of over 1.3 billion people awarded Israel Electric Corporation a $1.3 billion contract to build three photovoltaic solar energy arrays in northern China. Over in Brazil, Israel’s high-tech start-ups are receiving funding to boost the e-commerce industry of South America''s largest and fastest-growing economy.
3.6 million tourists doesn’t sound seem to equate with isolation to me. In the last 12 months there has been a 17% increase in tourism to the Jewish State. Cruise passenger numbers increased by 68% to 208,000 visitors. Many will be enjoying the beauty of Israel, which includes the top 10 public gardens in the Jewish State.

Cruise ships dock at Haifa port

Photo: Michael Ordman
Let’s not forget our friends in the USA. As the downturn grinds on in the States, more ambitious young professionals have been lured by Israel’s robust economy. In 2010, nearly 4,000 North Americans made Aliya; more than any year since 1973. One such Oleh Hadash was Yehuda Medwin who served 4 years of combat as a US Marine. Two months after arriving in Israel, he joined the IDF’s elite Givati brigade. Even non-Jewish American servicemen are impressed with the Jewish State. Ten non-Jewish US army veterans injured in service visited Israel on a 10-day rehabilitation trip. They were surprised to discover how easily they connected with the Israelis they met. “It’s like we were brothers,” they said. “The U.S. could learn a lot from how Israel treats its veterans.”
Just five individuals are generating the largest amount of good publicity for Israel at present. Five international mass-bloggers arrived last month, on an 11-day trip to Israel. Their two million readers are now seeing a totally different story about the Jewish State than the one they were used to hearing. For example, superblog Koustubh Katdare from India, who drove an electric car; visited the Oscar-winning Rogozin School with its children from 48 countries; explored Tel Aviv – Israel’s Start-up city; toured the Golan Heights and “beautiful” Haifa.
On the economic front, Barclays are recommending that besieged financial investors buy Israeli high-tech stocks like Ceva. Ezchip, Mellanox, Amdocs and Ceragon. These companies make their profits from the ever-increasing volumes of network traffic and data storage demands. Microsoft itself is funding a new research centre at Israel’s Technion that will focus on artificial intelligence, games theory, computer science, economics, and psychology and their applications in e-commerce.
I’ll end this week with two international diplomats who have taken the Jewish State to their hearts. The new Philippine Ambassador to Israel was so proud of Israel’s first woman prime minister that 26 years ago he gave the name ‘Golda’ to his baby daughter. "I wanted my daughter to be a good strong woman who will know how to face this world” said Ambassador Generoso Calonge. 
International Sukkah festival in Netanya

Photo: Michael Ordman
And finally, we had a glimpse of the vision of the prophet Zechariah when UK Ambassador Matthew Gould built his, and the UK Embassy’s first ever sukkah. “All the nations that came against Jerusalem shall go up … to keep the feast of Tabernacles.”  
It has already started – according to this video. I just hope I’ll soon be able to report the completion of that good news story.
Michael Ordman writes a weekly newsletter containing Good News stories about Israel.