Normal Service Despite the Crisis

I was going to apologise this week to International readers for the interruption in the news about Israeli innovations and discoveries due to the escalation of Gaza terrorism. But then I realised that the number of positive articles about Israel’s achievements has actually increased over the last couple of weeks.
At Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem, doctors performed the first ever ''irreversible electroporation'' operation on liver cancer sufferer Louis Saznovsky. A direct flow of high-voltage electrical currents was applied to the malignant tumour, leaving only a few scars where the tumour once was. Then Israeli biotech Kamada announced positive results in pre-clinical trials of its Alpha-1 Antitrypsin (AAT) protein. AAT has potential for treating bacterial lung infections and also to prevent implant rejection.
World Diabetes Day was marked in Israel by the announcement that leg catheterisations performed at Haifa’s Rambam hospital over the last two years have prevented 521 diabetics from having amputations. The procedure is available in only a few medical centers in the world. And Israeli medical device innovations have been on display at Medica 2012 in Dusseldorf. For example, Motorika''s ReoTherapy retrains the brains of stroke victims to recover limb mobility using a unique robotic rehabilitation device that has been achieving amazing results.
The TV screens are full of images from the terrorist pseudo state of Gaza, but completely ignore Arabs supporting the Jewish state across the country. In the South, Arab Bedouin, like Kasem Juamis of the village of Zarzir, join the IDF and put the age-old Bedouin tracker knowledge in the service of Israel’s national security. In the North, budding Israeli-Arab entrepreneurs received support from the “Start-up Weekend Nazareth” event - sponsored by companies including Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP), Cisco and Google. “There is huge potential for creativity and innovation amongst youth from the Arab sector”, said Erel Margalit, founder and chairman of JVP. And in the Centre, a quarter of the 400 students studying Yiddish at Bar Ilan University are Arabs. According to Ber Kotlerman, academic director of Bar Ilan''s Center for Yiddish Studies, many Israeli Arabs are searching for a way to connect to Jewish culture.
Even whilst rockets are falling on our cities, Israelis are busy providing urgent assistance in Africa. Working in a joint project with Italy, Israel’s MASHAV is fighting hunger in Senegal - providing the country’s poorest farmers with the technological know-how for integrating irrigation technologies. “It’s our job”, said the outgoing commander of the Israel Air Force International ”Desert Giants” Squadron, responsible for the humanitarian aid delegations sent by the IDF abroad.


Clean technology heads the priority list in Israel’s high-tech ventures. Students at Ariel University have designed a unique ecological home, based on hydrogen gas. The structure produces energy, using only sunlight and water. Not to be outdone, the University of Haifa has dedicated Israel’s first Green Roofs Ecology Research Center. Planting gardens on roofs can lower air-conditioning and heating consumption. It can also provide an urban living space for animals and increase the amount of photosynthesis occurring within a city. All this is just in time for the EnergyVest Summit in Eilat at the end of November, where twenty of Israel’s most innovative renewable energy start-ups will present their technologies to investors from around the world.
As the world’s media once again turns into an assembly line for Hamas’ Pallywood propaganda, Israel’s innovation ''production line'' has just rolled out some interesting video products. Firstly, Interlude allows an observer to choose the direction that a video takes – thus increasing viewer retention. Next we have Wibbitz, whichturnsthe text on a website into a youtube video. And take a minute to watch the youtube from Israeli start-up Minit, which has launched an app that allows smartphone users to share one-minute videos and then post back video comments. The app is branded as “voicemail for video”.  



So even if the ceasefire fails, Data-storage equipment maker EMC Corp will still open its first development lab in Israel. US workers will still find jobs in Israeli companies in the States. The new Canada–Israel Energy, Science and Technology Fund will advance mutual shared energy interests. And Israeli non-profit organisation Kinetis will continue to bring the world’s top young influential activists to explore Israel''s wealth of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship and share it with world.
And finally, we can all admire and be encouraged to emulate Israel’s countless dedicated supporters, such as American Physicians Fellowship for Medicine in Israel, or the StandWithUs Ambassadors, or the amazing Keren Kehilot Foundation who are working even harder than usual to help Israeli citizens in these difficult times.
Normal service has resumed. It never stopped.
Michael Ordman writes a free weekly newsletter containing Good News stories about Israel.
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