In the blog that highlights Israel’s achievements, I was struck by the immense impact that the Jewish State has made on the world in just one week. It is almost standard fare that in any seven days there will be several news stories about Israel’s latest medical successes that will reduce suffering globally.
This time we heard that Israeli cardiologist Dr Dov Shimon has invented a simple device – a filter to prevent strokes by stopping calcium fractures, dislodged during surgery, from blocking the passage of blood to the brain. Elsewhere, at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Dr. Eli Pikarsky and Prof. Sigal Ben-Yehuda received awards for their unique research respectively into the treatment of cancer and into antibiotic-resistant infections. Finally, hundreds of International researchers and clinicians literally put their heads together at the annual conference of the European Hair Research Company in Jerusalem in order to discover how hair stem cells can be used to treat chronic diseases.
Another clever, yet simple Israeli invention could prevent mothers everywhere from watching in horror as their infant’s pushchair or pram, rolls uncontrollably downhill to possible disaster. Smart Wheels 2 Go limits the maximum speed of the wheels.
Inventions galore have been generated by Israel’s Technion which, in keeping with its cutting-edge technology, has already cut a terrific video to celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2012. A century in 60 seconds - don’t blink or you’ll miss it! Israel’s innovations no longer can be ignored – even by organizations previously unsympathetic to the Jewish State. UK’s Channel 4 News has broadcast its second positive report in a month, this time highlighting Israel’s success as the silicon-valley of the Middle East.
Israeli inventiveness often benefits the planet directly, by improving the environment. In January, the Prime Minister’s Office announced, “The Government sees research, development and implementation of technologies that reduce global oil use in transport as a national mission.” It has started to spend the 1.5 billion shekel investment by tasking 27 scientists from Ben Gurion University and the Weizmann Institute to set up Israel’s Centre of Excellence into developing renewable liquid fuels. Away from academia, a 37-member delegation of corporate bosses from India arrived in Israel for a 4-day clean-tech seminar with their Israeli counterparts to discuss cooperation on desalination and renewable energy.
Returning to the campus, Israeli scientists at the Hebrew University have been looking at the environment using satellite data and are able to identify microclimates that can vary even from one field to the next. Subsequent crop management will help world farmers to get the best yields. At Ariel University students have developed a smart phone application that takes a photo of a plant and then identifies it. Ariel’s students (including Arab students) will present their clean-tech projects at Israel’s Trade Fairs and Convention Centre on July 15th. Ironic that those ‘green’ applications were developed beyond the ‘Green Line’.
Meanwhile, Israel Technion researchers have looked into a key aspect of our environment at the microorganism level. They analyzed vital bacteria in the seas that consume CO2 and produce Oxygen and now know how bacteria mutate to combat virus infections and environmental changes. So maybe, planet Earth has some of its own defenses against the greenhouse effect.
The nations of the world regularly benefit from Israel’s work and last week was a typical one. Besides the above story about India, it was reported that Israel has been given a key role in teaching English to the Chinese. Israeli firm Infinite Memory won a deal to distribute 100 million memory sticks to Chinese children to help them learn to communicate with the English-speaking world. Israel features highly in global education which has been recognized with the scheduling of the annual Wikipedia conference in Haifa. Israeli Wiki talent includes a programmer on the language committee who is helping make wikipedia accessible to the blind.
By now everyone must be aware how Israel is vital to the US economy. In a new Massachusetts-Israel Innovation Partnership, it was announced that companies engaged in joint industrial research and development projects would receive a share of a $2 billion fund. To reinforce the special relationship, as the USA celebrated the 4th July, Israel’s Prime Minister sent the American people an inspiring message of praise.
Israel has also been conducting humanitarian relief work in Africa for decades. Bob Geldof credited Israel for its efforts at the IsraAID Conference for Africa. But the true nature of this work was revealed by some of the other delegates.
Finally, a short summary of how Israel is a major benefit to the economy of Egypt. Israel pays $300 million per annum for Egyptian gas. Israeli firms employ thousands of workers at their Egyptian factories. And Israel opens up the USA for $1 billion of tax-free Egyptian exports. Let’s hope that the new democratic Arab countries springing up will recognize that the Jewish State can help them fulfill their potential. We’ve even started a new Arabic-language website to tell them the Good News.
Michael Ordman writes a weekly newsletter containing Good News stories about Israel.