A true light among nations

As a country, we are defined by our collective successes, of which there are many.

Prof. Dan Shechtman receiving the Nobel Prize 311 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Ints Kalnins)
Prof. Dan Shechtman receiving the Nobel Prize 311 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ints Kalnins)
While doom and gloom dominate the headlines and it appears as if Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas are all poised to strike tomorrow in a massive simultaneous attack, or it appears that nearly the entire world is against us, or that the country’s social fabric is quickly ripping at the seam, it becomes necessary to see the larger picture by looking at what we are really about. Many of Israel’s problems are created from without but our successes come from within.
So for some perspective – and optimism – we need to look inward. As a country, we are defined by our collective successes and what follows is but a small sampling of that:
• Ten Israelis have won the Nobel Prize so far.
• Israel is a leader in quality of life. In a comparison conducted by the UN regarding quality of life in 182 countries, Israel ranked 27th, only slightly lower than the UK.
• Israel’s healthcare system is one of the most advanced in the world.
• Israel is a leader in biotechnology development.
• Israeli medical developments are used in the best operating rooms across the world.
• Israeli cows produce the largest amount and highest quality of milk in the world.
• Israel is the only country that entered the 21st century with a net gain in its number of trees.
• Israel is one of the world’s top leaders in agricultural development and fruit cloning.
• A quarter of the population holds a degree – ranking third in the world.
• Israel produces more scientific papers and more patents per capita than any other country.
• Relative to its population, Israel is the largest immigrant- absorbing nation, has more museums per capita and receives more media coverage than any other country in the world.
• Israel has sent emergency delegations around the world to assist foreign governments in times of major disaster including but not limited to Cambodia, Rwanda, Turkey, Argentina, Armenia, Russia, Kenya, New Orleans, Haiti, Japan, Indonesia and Thailand.
• The IDF was the first major medical team to set up camp immediately following the devastating earthquake in Haiti.
• The World Economic Forum has recognized Israel as one of the leading countries in the world in technological innovation.
• The cell phone, disk on key, instant messenger chat, voicemail technology and PillCam were all developed here. The Pentium4 processor was designed and developed here as well.
• Microsoft and Cisco built their largest R&D centers here.
• Apple chose Israel as its first and only R&D center outside the US.
• Israel has the world’s highest percentage of engineers and scientists.
• Israel is a leader in genetics and preventive medicine.
• Israel sends hundreds of missions to developing countries worldwide.
• Israeli agricultural experts introduced drip-irrigation technology, saving water in arid regions.
• An Israeli company recently discovered a way to eradicate the use of pesticides for pest control by using edible oil instead.
• A simple, inexpensive Israeli solution for storing staples is helping Africans, South Americans and Asians survive food shortages.
• Except for the US and Canada, Israel has the most traded companies on Wall Street than any other country.
• Israel is a leader in coexistence programs that bring together Arabs and Jews.
• Israel has an incredible array of institutions that focus on charitable outreach and offering help to the needy.
• Israel is unique in terms of its size, location and diversity of climate and wildlife.
• Jerusalem’s Biblical Zoo is involved in worldwide breeding efforts and to reintroduce animals to their natural habitats.
• Israel is the only place where biblical history really comes alive.
• While far from perfect, the Knesset is an anomaly in the Middle East. Its makeup of Arabs and Jews, secular and Orthodox and men and women makes Israel a unique liberal democracy – in fact the only one in the Middle East.
• Israel’s military prowess and might is worldrenowned.
It is a leading force in battlefield technology, counterterrorism, combat skills, intelligence gathering and air superiority. The Mossad is likely the world’s top intelligence agency, unsurpassed in its ability to gather information from around the globe.
For all these reasons and more, it is important to recognize and appreciate that with all its problems, Israel is a great country.