I was prompted into writing my first blog of 2016 by yet another appalling report on the BBC World Service The Science Hour 27/3/16. Just after the Jewish festival of Purim, the Biased Broadcasting Corporation erased the name of Israel, Jews and Israeli companies from a program discussing the use of genetics to improve the drought resistance of wheat to feed a hungry world. So I decided to write the following “megillah” to unmask some of the global activities that Israel has been performing to benefit the world in the last three months.
Ruti Alon, co-chairman of this year’s IATI-Biomed Conference, highlighted that Israeli research is present in between 25% and 28% of the world’s successful biotech-based solutions. E.g. Exelon for Alzheimer’s, Doxil for cancer and Copaxone for Multiple Sclerosis.
In the field of cancer research, the RosettaGX Reveal diagnostic test for thyroid cancer from Israel’s Rosetta Genomics is now approved for use in all 50 US states. Another recent BBC report obscured the fact that “innovative” US immunotherapy, which cured 27 of 29 “no-hope” leukemia patients, was developed from the research of Weizmann Institute Professor Zelig Eshhar.
Israel’s MobileODT has the potential to save millions of lives with its smartphone-based cervical cancer detection technology. Launched only last May it has been used 6000 times in 20 countries. MobileODT even donated 20 of its Enhanced Visual Assessment (EVA) cervical cancer screening devices to healthcare providers in Kenya where on World Cancer Day (4th Feb), they were used to screen over 700 Kenyan women. The device was demonstrated at the Innovation Showcase during the recent AIPAC Conference.
More than 100 million patients annually require manual ventilation - the largest reason for admission into intensive care. The Israeli-invented Pocket BVM (Bag Valve Mask) portable ventilator has already treated thousands of people at disasters, such as in the Nepal earthquakes and saved US soldiers in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Israel’s Hospitech Respiration has just received US FDA clearance for its AnapnoGuard 100 intubation system.
Israelis are working on treatments and systems that will have bring relief to hundreds of millions of patients. Firstly, Israel’s Teva is developing a peptide for the treatment of migraine, that affects 36 million people in the United States and 10% of people worldwide. Secondly, researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem are working to freeze organs in order to preserve them for later transplant using ice-binding “antifreeze proteins” that protect frozen cells from expansion damage when they thaw out. Finally, Israeli startup Intensix is trialing an Intensive Care Unit patient monitoring system that gives an early warning of impending sepsis and organ failure responsible for killing 30% of ICU patients.
Israel’s global impact is evidenced by the World Bank matching top Israeli health technology innovators with interested healthcare providers in India to address the rise in non-communicable chronic diseases there. In another example, the MASHAV organization of Israel’s Foreign Ministry is shortly to begin training medics from the underdeveloped southwestern regions of China. And Israeli startup 6over6’s has developed the GlassesOn smartphone app to help those needing spectacles in developing countries where there is a shortage of opticians and optometrists.
Israel21C has produced a map showing the top 83 locations where Israel offers aid to people in need around the world. And “Israel is only one call away” must be the ultimate video to show that Israel is more than just another country. Earlier this year we heard that Natan-International Humanitarian Aid (a network of Israeli disaster relief organizations and civil society organizations) is treating migrants in Serbia. And this video shows the IsraAID rescue team of doctors and nurses, both Arab and Jewish, at work on the Greek island of Lesbos.
Israel has recently provided food and assistance to flood victims in Paraguay, Kenya, and even the United Kingdom (England and Scotland). But the British Broadcasting Clowns seem to have missed that.
Israel also helps citizens of countries that have no diplomatic relations with the Jewish State. Such as the
2,000 Syrian war wounded who have been treated in Israeli hospitals. 200 or so Israeli volunteers working for the non-profit Il4Syrians have even been secretly working in Syria to deliver food, medical supplies, sanitation kits, baby powder, survival kits and 3000 protective suits for doctors treating victims of chemical attacks.
In its latest mission, IsraAID sent search and rescue teams to Taiwan where many were killed or were still missing in the magnitude 6.4 earthquake.
Recognition of Israeli humanitarian efforts has resulted in the United Nations awarding official consultative status upon the Israeli emergency response organization ZAKA, which will help it to expand its international search, rescue and recovery missions. Israel also hosted hundreds of delegates from 30 countries, plus the World Health Organization, at the Fourth Israeli International Conference on Healthcare System, Preparedness and Response to Emergencies and Disasters. Finally, Liberia’s senate president Armah Zolu Jallah, thanked Israel for its help in wiping out the fatal disease Ebola in Liberia.
Agriculture and Water
Although the BBC is too intoxicated to see it, Israel really is feeding the world, as anyone visiting the Agricultural Research Organization’s Volcani Center, in Beit Dagan near Tel Aviv will testify. Israel’s NRGene has assembled more than 80 complete genomes over the past 12 months, which will result in better crops and benefit billions of lives. Despite its location close to Gaza, Israel’s Phytech has developed crop sensor technology that is used in the biggest farms in the US, Brazil and Australia.
In developing countries, Israeli organizations and companies are teaching desert farming to Nigerians; using cutting-edge seed technology to vastly increase the productivity of Ethiopian farmers and building a huge dairy for South Sudan on the Israeli model already in use in Vietnam, China, the US, Russia and India. In 2016 Israel is initiating 14 micro-irrigation projects in the Indian state of Haryana, northwest of Delhi.
In the developed world, Israel’s IDE Technologies has now begun operating at its Carlsbad, California site – the largest desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere. Israeli organizations and companies are at the center of California’s plans to stem its droughts and secure the future of its water supply. Also in California, the 17,000 acre Conaway Ranch in Woodland will be the first US rice grower to use Israeli drip irrigation. And despite the European Union not recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, it has engaged Jerusalem’s water company, Hagihon, in its 4-year project to improve governance and social awareness of water environmental challenges.
Social and Environmental
Israelis deserve much praise for their work to improve the prospects of the disadvantaged in the world. Jerusalem’s Alyn Hospital, just held its first-ever Makeathon, for developers of technology projects that have global social benefits – with particular emphasis on the disabled. Meanwhile, Israeli accelerator A3i is developing ‘ability’ technology to help millions with disabilities. And Israel’s LivinGift has offering zero-interest loans to social impact enterprises from all sectors, including health, education, animal protection, social impact technologies, environment, and support for disadvantaged populations.
On 29th March 2016 the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel stages a race with a difference. Champions of the Flyway is a bird race for conservation in Israel’s migration hotspot of Eilat. The 2015 event raised $60,000 to help stop illegal trapping of birds in Cyprus and the 2016 race will help protect birds in Greece. Finally, please see this recent video of Israel’s unique Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center that is a prime example of Israel’s work to save endangered species.
Many countries are now recognizing Israel as being an essential for their security. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has just announced that he has been entrusted by Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan to form an alliance with Israel to rid their countries of the jihadist Islamic State, Al Qaeda and their affiliates. Millions of Parisians and Belgians used Facebook’s Israeli-developed Safety Check app to let friends and family know they were safe following the recent deadly terror attacks. And the world is waking up to possible threats from ships reporting a fake identity. Israel’s Windward tracked 34 such ships last year that left or entered the territorial waters of Libya, Syria and Lebanon.
With $3.3 billion of exports, Israel is the world’s second largest developer of cybersecurity solutions, after the USA. Cybertech 2016 in Tel Aviv was the second most attended cybersecurity event of the last 12 months. There are 300 Israeli cybersecurity companies, led by Checkpoint which has a $14.2 billion valuation. One Israeli cybersecurity specialist CYREN has sensors in 200 countries. In the UK it protects thousands of public WiFi installations and was recently accredited as a "Friendly WiFi" approved provider by the Council for Child Internet Safety.
“Israeli technology is improving the world” said Bill Gates to the 2,000 people attending Microsoft Israel’s “Think Next” event in Tel Aviv. And even in the last three months the number of Israeli innovations with global impact are just too many to include here in any detail.
- Optimal+, which analyzed over 35 billion semiconductor devices for defects in 2015.
- Giraffic’s technology is now in one-third of the world’s smart TVs.
- NanoIsrael 2016 showed the world that Israel is a nanotechnology superpower.
- Pashut Yarok is exporting foam safety surfaces for children’s playgrounds to countries in the EU.
- Tel Aviv’s FoodTech Nation conference showcased Israeli storage and production innovations.
- Yaron Yashinski designed the 55-million-hit Coldplay video “Hymn for the weekend”
- Helping NASA fly to Mars, Europe to study Venus and satellites to help alleviate global drought.
- SkyFi, which is building nano-satellites to provide almost limitless communication across the globe.
If you want to get a glimpse of what Israel has done for the World, simply travel through Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport and view the exhibit, between customs and the departure hall, of 60 posters showcasing Israeli developments and discoveries that have influenced the world. Follow the “Israel Is On It” media campaign by Untold News to raise awareness of the one tiny country whose citizens are curing cancer, making the ocean drinkable, freezing cancer tumors, preventing hospital infections, stopping airport terrorism, and changing all our lives for the better.
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Michael Ordman writes a free weekly newsletter containing positive news stories about Israel.
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