Abba Eban famously stated that the Palestinian Arab leadership never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity. This week Israel made another huge traumatic concession just to initiate another opportunity to conduct peace talks. In parallel news, Israelis continued to make the most of numerous opportunities to benefit humanity.
Israelis have made several opportunist discoveries recently. Scientists at Tel Aviv University struck gold when they found that heart cells integrated with nano-fibers of the precious metal improve electrical signaling between cells to strengthen the contraction of cardiac muscle. The TAU scientists are using this to create cardiac patches for replacing damaged heart tissues. At Ben-Gurion University researchers discovered that methylphenidate - used to treat ADHD sufferers - is also successful in reducing the risk of falling by the elderly. And TAU Professor Illana Gozes has created a new peptide (short protein) called NAP which she has found has benefits for Alzheimer’s, ALS and Parkinson’s sufferers.
Scientists at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem had the vision to develop a method for detecting the cause of diabetic retinopathy - a leading cause of blindness worldwide. The procedure will provide the opportunity for early diagnosis and treatment of the condition, minimizing damage and saving vision. Meanwhile, parents of a child with a “lazy eye” condition now have the opportunity to treat them with Amblyz eyeglasses from Israel’s XPAND. Instead of a patch over one of the lenses, Amblyz uses an electronic shutter to obstruct the strong eye in automatic, intermittent intervals. And a novel development by Israeli start-up CoreBone bone increases the opportunities for successful bone implants (spinal, dental etc.). Corebone uses corals to encourage bone growth, but the corals are grown in the laboratory so as not to damage the ecology.
There were some opportune moments involving Israelis recently. When 67-year-old man who fell while climbing a cliff in Gwynedd, Wales, two Israeli military search and rescue team members just happened to be close by. They helped bring the victim down safely and even the BBC couldn’t ignore the event. Then a Greek commercial airliner with 170 passengers on route from Athens to Amman, Jordan was fortunate to be over Israeli air space when it suffered a major hydraulic failure. After it radioed “Mayday” - the highest emergency distress signal - Israeli jets were scrambled and escorted the jet to Ben Gurion airport where the plane landed safely with no injuries. Finally, all participants on the Talglit Birthright trip to Israel are given the opportunity to register on the Jewish bone marrow database. As a result, 23-year-old Matthew Footerman from Houston, Texas donated bone marrow to save the life of 65-year-old Michael Weissner from New Jersey.
Many Israeli companies have spotted opportunities to bring their innovative products to the world market. They include Blue I Water, which has impressed the Chinese with its unique electro-optic test strip that monitors drinking water for mold, harmful bacteria, caustic chemicals and poisons. Another is Amiad Water Systems, which has developed filters for anticipated new legislation to prevent the spread of invasive marine creatures through ships’ ballast water.
Israelis relish the opportunity to read books - we are, after all, the “People of the Book” so why not have a mobile library on the beach? We also like to relive our history - such as at the “Migdal Haroeh” tower tourism center in the Samaria town of Shiloh, which features a unique high-tech display of the site of the Jewish Tabernacle 3,300 years ago. And we definitely enjoy a good party - as in Tel Aviv’s annual “White Night” when more than 70 musicians, artists, actors and dancers spun their tunes and moves into the wee hours of the morning.
You probably haven’t read that Israel takes every opportunity to integrate its diverse population into society. For example, the IDF runs a special program for haredi (ultra-religious) Jews. It is so successful that following army service they are highly sought after by the hi-tech industry. Hareidi soldiers designed an advanced computer system to help protect Israel’s northern and Gaza borders. Recently, Commanders of the Israeli Air Force conducted a tour and workshop in haredi areas of Jerusalem in order to prepare for a major increase to the current 300 existing Hareidi IAF servicemen. “We’re looking forward to their arrival,” said Major Elad Dadon.
Finally, many non-Jewish Israeli citizens have also taken advantage of the opportunities in the Jewish State. They include:
- Mais Ali-Saleh, an observant Moslem woman who was the Technion’s top graduate student this year.
- Anett Haskia, a Moslem woman who is campaigning for compulsory national service for Israeli Arabs.
- Kanj Hussein, a Druze entrepreneur who is building a wind farm in the Galilee.
Israel – it’s the land of opportunity.
Michael Ordman writes a free weekly newsletter containing Good News stories about Israel.
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