The modern Jewish state was established after the world closed its doors to European Jewry. Today, Israeli innovations are opening doors to millions across the planet who had previously thought that their window of opportunity was firmly shut.
Many sufferers from strokes, dementia, fibromyalgia and burns could be released from their “locked-in” existence now that Israel’s Assaf Harofeh Medical Center has opened the world’s largest high-pressure oxygen chamber. It has a capacity for 150 patients per day and can also treat victims of diving accidents, carbon monoxide poisoning, radiation damage and bone infections. Meanwhile, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, scientists have discovered that the visual cortexes of the blind from birth are similar to those of the fully sighted. It has provided an open opportunity for the blind to be trained to “see” sounds.
Open-minded Israeli doctors have known for some time that there is a genetic link between over eighty autoimmune diseases. This has opened a new line of research leading to the discovery by scientists at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem that the rheumatoid arthritis medication Baricitinib is effective in the treatment of Alopecia Areata, whose symptoms are hair loss. And research by Hebrew University of Jerusalem psychologist Professor Ariel Knafo has shown that children who mimic each other’s body language for mere minutes each day are more likely to open-up to others and share feelings of similarity and closeness. The findings could open the way to new therapies for developing positive social behaviors in disruptive children.
Israel is open to sharing the credit for discoveries that can benefit humanity. This has led to many joint research agreements between Israeli and international scientists, including recently with the UK’s Royal Society and also with France’s Atomic and Alternative Energy Commission. Israel has also opened its doors to Devendra Fadnavis, Chief Minister of India’s Maharashtra state who wants to replicate Israel’s agriculture technology in one of the most populous areas in the world.
Recent news is full of multinational companies wanting to open research and development centers in Israel. German energy giant RWE AG is opening an Israeli innovation center in order to develop technology for a smart grid metering system that will keep track of how consumers use electricity. Canadian handset maker Blackberry finally opened up in Israel by buying Israeli device security company WatchDox, whose 100 employees will form the core of Blackberry’s new Israeli R&D team. And US video production giant Avid Technology’s purchase of Israel’s Orad Hi-Tec and its slick graphic technologies will result in the opening of Avid’s new Israeli R&D facility.
Now that Israel has signed Europe’s “Open Skies” agreement, it has opened up the country to the likes of Europe’s biggest airline Ryanair, which is eager to open up new routes between Tel Aviv and Europe. The airways are also buzzing with the news that a consortium of top Israeli companies and universities is studying 3D printing technologies that could open up a radical new way of designing and manufacturing aircraft components.
Israel has some beautiful geographic features, including its award-winning beaches, which are now open right through until October. However, I admit that I was openly surprised to read that the usually anti-Israel UNESCO recently added Israel’s open cave system at Beit Guvrin to its list of World Heritage sites. Unfortunately, not all openings in the ground are positive, as the recent earthquake in Nepal has proved. But it again has highlighted the openhearted nature of Israel in sending rescuers and humanitarian aid to save human lives wherever and whenever it can.
In Israel, the door of opportunity is open to anyone who has the desire to succeed. One such example is Ilit Geller, the female CEO of Israel’s TradAir, who operates in the traditionally “man’s world” of Foreign Exchange trading. And please watch this video of young Aaron Shapso – a Circassian (Sunni Muslim) from the village of Kafr Kama. Aaron is the captain of the youth soccer team Maccabi Haifa Nahalal, which is open to children of all religions and ethnic groups.
Finally, Avraham Nagusie epitomizes Israel’s open-door policy. Nagusie was a shepherd in Ethiopia before immigrating to Israel in 1985. He then graduated with degrees in Social work and Law and a PhD in Education. Now at 57, he has opened the door to Israel's parliament by becoming a lawmaker in Israel’s 20th Knesset.