In this week’s blog, I will illustrate how the Hebrew word “beyachad” (together) typifies the Israeli approach to innovating a better world.
Israel and the US continue to move closer together economically. The Israel-US Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation recently approved $8.3 million in new funding for 11 projects where US and Israeli companies are working together. Next, the new Israeli branch of US technology innovator Bell Labs is promoting itself as a new avenue for Israeli PhD graduates to pursue research careers in Israel. Then, American Internet and media giant AOL announced that it is investing $5million in a joint US-Israeli video research project at the Technion-Cornell Institute. AOL already has an Israeli R&D center. And finally, US camera-maker Kodak is looking to acquire Israeli tech startups to help rebuild the company as a leader in digital printing.
Many countries realize that they need to get together with Israel if they are to tackle water scarcity and wastewater problems. The University of Chicago has sought out Israel's Ben-Gurion University to help develop radical new approaches that may one day rejuvenate the world's water-starved regions. Scotland’s BDS idiots must be “drowning their sorrows” following the successful UK pilot project of the recycling technology from Israel’s Applied CleanTech for wastewater - at Scottish Water!
Israeli biotechs are developing treatments that work together with the body’s immune system in order to beat cancer. Israel’s cCAM has just received US FDA approval to commence trials of its CM-24, which targets a protein that blocks the immune system’s ability to destroy cancer cells. Israel’s Compugen has several candidate drugs that target these proteins and has enlisted John Hopkins University in the US to help assess them. And Israel’s Vaxil Biotherapeutics has reported that its cancer vaccine, ImMucin (that boosts the immune system to prevent cancer returning) triggers an immune response in about 90 percent of all types of cancer.
Many Israeli innovations are successful due to the way they use a combination of technologies. Take for example Israeli startup BrightWay Vision, which has developed “BrightEye” – a unique night-vision system that gives drivers a clear, panoramic view of the road, five times beyond the range of headlights. The system sends out a pulse of light that is reflected back to a synchronized camera that only accepts images that the pulse generated.
The Israeli startup, SolView, works with solar panel installers to check instantly whether a particular roof could generate sufficient solar energy to justify installation. SolView takes data from Google Earth to power its automated rooftop scanning technology. Another Israeli startup HealthWatch Technologies connects your heart instantly to your cardiologist by means of a washable T-shirt with printed electrodes. It can read a patient’s vital signs, which are then transmitted to the specialist – speed being the key to preventing heart attacks.
Despite what you hear from Israel’s enemies, Israeli society is increasingly “getting it together”. In a recent survey, 65 percent of Arab citizens said they were either “quite” or “very” proud to be Israeli in 2014, up from 50 percent the previous year. The majority had faith in the Supreme Court, Israeli police and in the IDF. And we can all be proud of the IDF’s performance in humanitarian medical rescue missions – just watch this inspirational presentation by Brigadier General Professor Yitshak Kreiss describing the leadership, medicine and the personal dilemmas faced when putting back together the lives of those injured in overseas disasters.
There is no denying the togetherness that Israeli Jews and Diaspora Jews share. Unfortunately, these are troubled times for the Jews of Europe. 226 Ukrainian immigrants landed in Israel including dozens of families of refugees from eastern Ukraine. And as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said to the youngsters at Taglit-Birthright Israel’s 15th anniversary event, “In Israel, every Jew can say, ‘I am a Jew, Je suis Juif,’ out loud and proudly, without fear. Come to Israel… This is your land.” Israelis Michael (92) and Marion (90) Mittwoch know all about troubled times and are now experiencing the good times. They have just celebrated the birth of a new great-grandchild – their 100th! After escaping Nazi Germany, the Mittwochs immigrated to Israel where they got together to become the first couple to be married at Kibbutz Lavi. All children and grandchildren live in Israel.
I will conclude with two apparently inanimate examples of Israeli togetherness. In the first, you can watch Tel Aviv and Jerusalem getting closer together (at least in travel time) by selecting full screen view to see an amazing video tour of the new road construction along the highway to Jerusalem, together with the Biblical locations along the way.
And lastly, when filmmaker Micha Shagrir donated a 1667 Hebrew Bible to Haifa University, staff discovered that a Bible written by the same person was already on the library's shelves. An Egyptian Armenian gave Shagrir his Bible in gratitude for his film about the Armenian genocide and Shagrir’s gift reunited the two holy books after 350 years.
Yes, in Israel, everything’s finally coming together.
Michael Ordman writes a free weekly newsletter containing positive news stories about Israel.
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