We hear continually that the Palestinian Authority refuses to recognise Israel as the homeland of the Jews. Well it''s their loss! In the week that Professor Dan Shechtman collected his Nobel Prize, I am focussing in this blog on enlightened organisations and people that do recognise what the Jewish State is achieving every week.
Let’s begin with an organisation that rarely recognises the great things that Israel does. However, the United Nations has just bestowed on the Jewish State the official title of “contributing nation” to the UN’s efforts to fight the deadly AIDS disease. The Jerusalem AIDS Project focuses on education in South Africa, Swaziland, Ethiopia and Uganda, and recently ran a teacher training workshop in Myanmar (Burma). And there’s another surprise from the United Nations – an Israeli environmental film has just won a major UN competition. “The Hiriya Project: A Mountain of Change” won first place in the Clean Development Mechanism Changing Lives Photo and Video Contest 2011, which was part of this year’s United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) currently taking place in Durban. The Hiriya was a huge rubbish tip near Tel Aviv that has been terra-formed into a National Park and produces energy as a by-product.
The US Society for Neuroscience has just awarded the $25,000 Swartz Prize to Professor Haim Sompolinsky, a leading brain sciences researcher at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Sompolinsky’s “ring” model is the paradigm for modelling neural circuits and the basis of countless studies of short-term memory, decision-making, selectivity and receptive fields. Also at the Hebrew U, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu awarded the Prize for Initiative and Innovation to Israeli scientists and entrepreneurs. The winners included two non-profit organizations, a high-tech Arab company and a company dedicated to uncovering old land mines.
The medical world has always recognised Israel’s unique contributions to improving the health of humanity. So it was nothing unusual for Keshet to organise a visit for a group of Canadian physicians to Israeli universities, medical schools and start-ups. But when you read through their itinery, you will yourself get a eye-opening tour through the top drawer of Israel’s awesome medical breakthroughs. In contrast, Turkey has recently not been so appreciative of Israel. However, a group of Turkish journalists were very impressed when they visited the Paediatric Oncology Department at Hadassah Medical Centre in Jerusalem. They learned about the research that the Institute of Gene Therapy is conducting with colleagues in Turkey and met two Turkish doctors who are doing their medical residencies at Hadassah.
Thousands of international entertainers recognise that Israel is a great place to perform. The top American rock band The Red Hot Chili Peppers is to perform at Tel Aviv''s Yarkon Park on September 10, 2012. Following a ten-year wait, it promises to be one of the greatest musical evenings ever seen in Israel. And the magic of circus, will come to town in August when internationally renowned Cirque du Soleil arrive for their first ever performances in the country. Performing their show, Alegria, the group will bring their amazing acrobatics to the Nokia Arena, Tel Aviv, with a cast of 55 artists.
The BBC is another organisation that rarely showers its praise at the Jewish State. But BBC Technology correspondent Katia Moskvitch has now written two feature articles recognising Israel’s high-tech successes. In “Israeli start-up Takadu helps Londoners save water” she described how within seconds of a leak spurting from London’s water pipes, an alert starts flashing on a remote computer in the tiny office of Takadu - an Israeli start-up in Tel Aviv. Once picked up, the information is transmitted to Thames Water - the London utility company responsible for sending engineers to fix the leak.
One piece of financial news relevant to this blog was announced last week. Swiss private bank Julius Baer Group is to open an office in Tel Aviv in early 2012. Baer has been in business since the 1890s, and currently operates in 40 financial centres in 20 countries. Board members recognised “the value of the Israeli market, and confidence in its ability to grow and thrive.”
To finish, I would urge you to join me in enjoying the global recognition of Israel Technion Professor Dan Shechtman’s Nobel Prize by clicking on these links to two brilliant video clips. In the first, we see the wonderful ceremony together with some of Professor Shechtman’s students. But in the second, you can really celebrate by watching a novel rap video entitled “Kwazi Gvish” (Quasi Crystals). Experience the feelings of Israelis everywhere in the living language of the Jewish People.
And that’s a Rap!
Michael Ordman writes a weekly newsletter containing Good News stories about Israel.
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