Israel is a tiny country - a beacon of light in a vast region of darkness. Inside the country, every Israeli seems to radiate an opinion on every subject, and it sometimes feels like we have eight million prime ministers. In reality, however, Israel is a nation of individuals, where everyone has the potential to make a difference.
Each week, an Israeli makes a discovery or launches an innovation that may benefit millions. Dr. Tal Dvir and his team at Tel Aviv University have manufactured cardiac tissue from spring-shaped fibers. The elastic tissue mimics expanding and contracting heart muscle and could be the basis of transplant material for millions of heart operations. The world’s major pharmaceutical companies certainly value Israeli ingenuity. AstraZeneca has formed a partnership with scientists at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center to develop new medicines to treat the millions suffering from cancer, respiratory diseases, and diabetes. Meanwhile Israel’s very own Teva Pharmaceuticals has launched generic alternatives to Adenoscan and Niaspan, which will collectively save millions of dollars for millions of patients.
I have to inform the millions following the standard rules of the majority of diet plans that they have got it wrong. Scientists at Israel’s Weizmann Institute have proved that each individual has a different response to the same foods. In Weizmann’s Personalized Nutrition Project, local volunteers have their glucose intake and absorption monitored and leave with an individually tailored balanced diet. Millions of stomachs may also contain undetected infections of the H. pylori bacterium, causing peptic ulcers, gastric inflammation, and occasionally stomach cancer. Thankfully, the BreathID testing device from Israel’s Exalenz is now in use at 220 US centers, providing results in 10 minutes instead of a three-day wait for blood tests. Staying with infections, a rap music video produced by Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem has gone “viral”. It features the hospital’s doctors and nurses dancing and singing the virtues of anti-bacterial hand gel. The Hebrew video, uploaded on September 21, has already been seen over 150,000 times.
Millions of Syrians are suffering in their civil war and Israel certainly never hesitates to give medical assistance to the hundreds brought to its hospitals for treatment. In just one case, orthopedists, anesthesiologists, plastic surgeons, physiotherapists and operating theater staffers pulled out all the stops to save and restore the shattered leg of an 8-year-old Syrian girl. Meanwhile, an Arab from East Jerusalem - Haitham Azloni - regarded Haim Attias from Judea’s Mitzpe Yericho as “one in a million” when Haim resuscitated him at the Arab bazaar in the Old City. Haitham said, “No one came to help me, none of the brothers, no Arabs. Only one Orthodox Jewish man.”
I doubt if many of the 19 million passengers that use Miami International Airport will be aware that Israel’s NICE Systems is now responsible for managing runway security. In contrast, anti-terrorist forces would certainly appreciate the Miniature Reactive Jammer (MRJ) from Israel’s Elbit Systems. The device is able to analyze millions of radio frequency messages and disrupt any trigger signal designed to detonate an IED (Improvised Explosive Device). And when Israel’s Ceragon has finished upgrading Idea’s wireless network, 125 million of Idea’s Indian cell-phone customers will appreciate the difference.
For two millennia, many millions of Jews have longed to be able to celebrate this time of year in the Promised Land. This may explain the emotional scenes at Jerusalem’s Sukkot (Tabernacles) parade and Simchat Torah (Rejoicing of the Law) parties. To reinforce the celebrations, archaeologists such as Dr Eilat Mazar of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have unearthed many links between today’s religious events and Biblical history.
After the celebrations, we have to clean up. Israeli children are educated that our land must be maintained for the benefit of the millions who will inherit it from us. So it was gratifying to see that over a quarter of a million volunteers from 250 localities removed litter across the country on International Cleanup Day. The Ministry of Environmental Protection also announced plans to end the use of the millions of disposable plastic bags at supermarkets and other shops.
Finally, the Jewish focus on the individual is emphasized in the following item. Rabbi Shaul Inbari was born with severe cerebral palsy and like millions of disabled individuals he dreaded life in an empty house. Rabbi Inbari believed that everyone deserves happiness and took action by founding Israel’s Inbar organization. Inbar holds events for singles with varying disabilities that are seeking a soul mate. Last year, Rabbi Inbari married Neta, whom he had met at Inbar.
Definitely one in a million!
Michael Ordman writes a free weekly newsletter containing Good News stories about Israel.
For a free subscription, email a request to firstname.lastname@example.org