What Israel can do for you

Last week’s news contained its consistently large number of stories featuring the benefits that Israel provides to society. They span all fields – medical, scientific, social, environmental, economic, entertainment, religion and even world peace.
Let’s begin with Israel’s contributions to health. Brainsway, based in Jerusalem, produces cutting edge Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) devices. In current tests, they have been shown to be able to treat two apparently unconnected illnesses - malignant brain tumours and alcoholic addiction. Another Israeli biotech, Pluristem, appears regularly in this column. This time, it has announced that the US Food and Drugs Administration has approved its stem cell treatment of ‘Buerger’s Disease’ that affects the blood vessels.
Just being in Israel can be beneficial to one’s health. Ben Gurion scientists have shown that 20 minutes in Dead Sea water reduces blood glucose levels in diabetics by an average of 13.5 percent. One hour after immersion, levels are improved even further. 
The therapeutic properties of the Dead Sea
Photo: David Shankbone – Wikipedia Commons
Should you suffer the misfortune of viper snakebite, here or elsewhere, you can treat it with the anti-venom serum being produced by Israeli biotech Kamada. The Israeli government has prioritised this as a national project, and has allocated NIS 20 million of government money.
New Technology developments from Israel are announced all the time. Google’s Israeli Research & Development centre has come up with a tool that can save hours of fruitless searching for information on the Internet. ‘Google-Related’ will find and display to you useful additional material. And one million computer users have installed software from Israel’s WiseStamp that enhances email signatures and can help them make a really good impression.
Israel’s continuing economic success has improved the lives of many of its citizens during the second quarter of 2011. Unemployment dropped to another all-time low of 5.5% with Israel’s top 100 exporters doing especially well. Forecast annual inflation has dropped to 2.5% and construction of apartments is at a 10-year high, which should bring prices down soon.
The Israel government in association with Ashoka Israel and the Green Environment Fund has launched a novel initiative to encourage environmentally friendly entrepreneurs. ‘Do More With Less’ is the name of a new competition that will distribute NIS 100,000 of prize money to the best ‘green’ projects that will benefit society or the environment. As this video shows, Israel can provide the adventurous tourist with plenty of opportunity to enjoy the atmosphere, clean beaches and excitement of the Jewish State. With a 273-kilometer coastline, Israel offers easy access to rafting, stand-up paddle-boarding, windsurfing and kite surfing, bouldering and scuba-diving in the Dead Sea.
As we enter the reflective Hebrew month of Elul, you may prefer to experience the latest nighttime tour of the City of David. Entitled ‘A place for forgiveness’ it provides an authentic musical experience, in preparation the for Jewish New Year. My hope for 5772 is that the world’s media reflects more on the positive work that Israel does for the benefit of our near neighbours. Haifa’s Rambam hospital treats seven hundred Palestinian Arab children every year. It even has an Israeli-Palestinian Friendship Centre. Both this and the children’s haematology oncology department will benefit from a $10 milliondonation fromJoan and Sandy Weill of New York. It was while returning from medical treatment in Israel that a mother and daughter from Gaza were rescued by the IDF. Palestinian Arab terrorists were firing mortars at them as they were passing through the Erez crossing.
Did I mention ‘world peace’ at the beginning of the blog? Well you may be interested to know that a delegation of Israelis attended a conference entitled ‘The Role of Interfaith’ in Rabat, the capital of Morocco. Other delegates included some from Jordan and Tunisia. Finally, in the style of British comic actor John Cleese, this excellent video clip asks “What has Israel ever done for Peace?”
That’s enough for now about Israel’s contributions last week. I can guarantee that there’ll be many more similar stories in next week’s news.
Michael Ordman writes a weekly newsletter containing Good News stories about Israel.