The Jewish New Year is a time of exciting new beginnings, and there is no better place to observe them than in the Jewish State itself.
Israeli medical discoveries and advances are announced every week, but the impact of the most recent innovations is simply staggering. Technion scientists are the first in the world to manufacture cancer-killing chemicals inside the tumor itself. These directly target the tumor, fooling the cancer’s defense mechanisms and avoiding the usual harsh side effects of chemotherapy. Over at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Yotam Bar-On has developed new antibodies to attack the flu virus. These antibodies disrupt virus’s ability to evade the immune system’s natural killer cells.
At Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center, a cutting-edge brain catheterization procedure was broadcast live to thousands of doctors attending the world’s largest cardiovascular conference in Washington DC. And at the same hospital, doctors have begun using a robot to unblock arteries remotely. The robot is more accurate than human hands and avoids any radiation risk to surgeons. The robot is manufactured by Corindus – founded by two Israeli scientists.
Further new Israeli treatments include the bladder cancer product BC-819, developed by Israel’s Biocancell Therapeutics, which has just completed a successful clinical trial. Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, sufferers of severe Glaucoma will now be able to receive treatment using the innovative CO2 laser IOPtiMate manufactured by Israel’s XLVision Sciences. Finally, scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have developed a new cocktail of genes that are extremely effective in turning adult cells back into stem cells. These stem cells, when transplanted, can renew previously damaged tissue or organs.
The New Year will see the culmination of hundreds of new Israeli technological ventures. Israel will build its first bio-waste power plant at Neot Hovav in the Negev that will generate 5 megawatts of clean energy and process over one hundred thousand tons of organic waste per year. A new National Photonics and Electro-Optics Research Center will allow professionals and students to delve into the exciting new science of light and optics.
The Israeli government will establish a new hi-tech authority - the National Technical Innovation Authority - to enhance Israeli innovation and bolster economic growth. And Israel’s Algatechnologies is to build a new factory at Kibbutz Ketura that will grow new forms of beneficial micro-algae for use in foods, medicines and cosmetics.
The New Year promises to enhance relationships between the Jewish State and other forward-thinking countries. “The sky’s the limit” when it comes to new ties between Israel and India, as Israel’s Prime Minister stated at his meeting with his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi in New York. Israel’s Economic Office in Delhi has already been busy matchmaking Israeli and Indian companies. Even a well-established relationship was strengthened when the US Senate unanimously adopted the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act that will lay the foundation for expanded US-Israel cooperation in defense, energy, agriculture, and other key sectors.
We can only wish that future Israeli-Arab relations mirrored the words of exiled Syrian opposition leader Dr. Kamal Al-Labwani, who visited wounded Syrians being treated at Israel’s Ziv Hospital. "This moving humanitarian gesture is an opening for rapprochement between the two peoples and hope for peace on quieter days," he said. And if other Arab leaders visited Israeli hospitals, such as Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center, they would see young Israeli patients start the school year. Jews, Moslems, Christians, Druze, plus Arabs from Gaza - all study together in their year groups. And whilst we are dreaming of new beginnings, listen to the “Dream it. Do it” New Year message from the students of Israel’s Technion – in 14 languages.
Finally, there is no better way to start a new year than by starting a new life. 24,800 new immigrants to Israel did precisely that in the last 12 months - a 28% increase on the previous year and the highest number in the past five years. For the first time in history, more immigrants arrived from France (nearly 6,000) than from any other country, and many more are expected in 5775. An even larger number of new arrivals had far less distance to travel. A record 176,230 Israeli babies were born in 5774 - the next generation of new beginnings.
Happy New Year.
Michael Ordman writes a free weekly newsletter containing positive news stories about Israel.
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