Pushing the boundaries

There is much to be proud of when you focus on the positive aspects of the Jewish State. Israel’s achievements have exceeded all predictions in virtually every dimension. To illustrate this, I have presented last week’s good news stories in the form of a spatial-awareness journey.
Starting in the bright blue and white skies, the crews of Israel’s aircraft are reaching new heights. A record five women have high expectations of becoming Israeli Air Force pilots when they graduate from flight school in December. They will join the 22 women who have already achieved this status since the IAF introduced equal opportunity in 1995. The country''s national airline El Al has also realised that it can do more for the country by speaking up for Israel. It has therefore decided to train its pilots and flight attendants to become unofficial diplomats in promoting the Jewish State abroad.
Israel’s soaring high-tech industry was given a further lift last week when UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and representatives from the UK digital sector launched the British Embassy High-Tech Hub at a 300-people event in Ramat Gan. UK Ambassador Matthew Gould announced ‘Britain can help Israeli innovation go global’. 
One of Israel’s recent high-tech successes stands head-and-shoulders above anything achieved elsewhere. Previous attempts to remove facial hair with laser treatment only worked with dark hair and light skin types. However, the new Israeli-developed ultrasound treatment is completely multi-racial. It removes all colours of facial hair from all colours of skin – perfectly and permanently.
Israel’s Technion is one of the major reasons for Israel being a high-tech giant. To mark its importance, Google has really put it on the map. The Technion became the first Israeli University to be photographed for Google Street View. Filming lasted two days, using special cameras to take 360-degree views. The Technion can now be seen to be an outstanding institution from all angles.
The success of the high-tech industry explains why the Composite State of the Economy Index continues its upward journey, with the September CSEI increasing by 0.3% from its August figure. The Ministry of Finance certainly is confident that Israel''s relative economic standing in the world remains high when it reported that demand for Israeli Bonds far exceeds supply. Unlike the European debt crisis, everyone wants to lend Israel money.
Let’s now turn inwards. Seinfeld star Jason Alexander certainly learnt about cooking and peacemaking with chef Moshe Basson, the owner of The Eucalyptus, a biblical themed restaurant in Jerusalem. He is also a member of "Chefs for Peace," an association that brings together Israeli and Palestinian Arab chefs. Dessert training must have included chocolate. The gourmet chocolate scene in Israel is expanding rapidly and boutique chocolatiers are going international with their fine handcrafted delights.
If you were looking for a taste of the Israeli art scene, then you need literally to go around the Manofin art festival in Jerusalem. Manofin is a grassroots initiative involving over 250 artists and attracting 10,000 visitors. But the exceptional aspect of Manofin is that free shuttle buses, displaying works of art, transport the audience between venues thus providing a unique perspective on the exhibits. If you were driving around the Ramat Gan safari park last week you may have caught a glimpse of their new baby Capuchin monkey – the first for nine years. Only 40 Capuchins exist in captivity in the world – seven of them at the safari park. 
I’m really lowering the tone and the level with this next item. A Hebrew University scientist has designed a device to rid the world of the whole doggone problem of dog mess. Professor Oded Shoseyov has developed a ‘pooper-scooper’ that turns dog droppings into ash. The video makes it look so easy that I think I’ll get one, even though I haven’t got a dog!
Descending further, students and teachers all over Israel experienced a virtual lesson about the lowest place on Earth when they logged online to learn about the Dead Sea. It was part of the national campaign to win Israel’s world-famous attraction the accolade of being one of the internationally recognized “New Seven Wonders of Nature.” And at the same time as Israel despatched mobile buildings for survivors of the Turkish earthquake, it is spending NIS 235 million to reinforce 466 apartments in the Bat Yam area of Tel Aviv to protect against earthquakes. It will also build 343 new earthquake-proof apartments.
Finally, one Israeli news story broke out of the three main dimensions completely by linking the past with the present. When Chana Kanterman visited the late Lubavitch Rebbe 21 years ago she received his blessing and his trademark dollar bill on which, as always, the Rebbe wrote the Hebrew date. Many years later Chana visited the Schalits’ protest tent in Jerusalem and gave the dollar bill to Gilad’s mother Aviva as a good luck present. On Tishri 20th when Gilad was released, Aviva looked at the date on the dollar bill. It said “Tishri 20”!
It all happens here in Israel. It just requires you to look in the right direction.
Michael Ordman writes a weekly newsletter containing Good News stories about Israel.