Many readers say that they are amused by some of the articles in my positive weekly Israel newsletter featuring Israeli innovations, discoveries and humanitarian activities. Here are a few recent examples.
Israel’s Amit Goffer invented the ReWalk exoskeleton that enables paraplegics to walk upright. Unfortunately, Amit is a quadriplegic. After explaining repeatedly that ReWalk couldn't help him, he went on to invent UPnRide which allows him (and other quadriplegics) to move around vertically.
Students in International Space University’s Space Studies Program at Israel’s Technion Institute had a group selfie photo taken. Nothing strange there, I hear you say, but they arranged for the photo to be taken from a height of 520 kilometers by the EROS-B satellite, built by Israel Aerospace Industries and operated by Israel’s ImageSat International.
Many people cannot bear to be without Wi-Fi for a moment – even whilst on holiday. So Hornblower Niagara Cruises (the official Canadian Tour Boat operator in Niagara Falls) has deployed the FiberinMotion® mobility solution from Israel’s RADWIN to provide high-speed wireless connectivity onboard its boats. So now you can “surf” (the Internet) from the edge of the most powerful waterfall in North America.
Israel’s Skitza Print has produced a concrete bench from a paper mold. Skitza used their Israeli Highcon Euclid digital cutting machine to produce a 4000-layer mold from recycled paper, making a spectacular two-meter bench (entitled Morpheus) using Israeli Eco-concrete. The bench was exhibited in Taipei until mid-August.
Of course there are many bitter-sweet examples of Israeli humanitarian activities. These include treating wounded Syrians (often by female Israeli medics) and repairing the hearts of children from Arab countries, Gaza and the Palestinian Authority. But the real chutzpa is when relatives of Hamas terrorist leaders and PA “No co-operation with the Occupation” officials choose to have medical treatment in Israeli hospitals.
It gets little publicity, but contrary to the Arab boycott, Israel performs a vital function to Arab states in facilitating the importing of goods from Europe. Israel has just built a railway line from Haifa to the Jordanian border to handle this trade - the previous route through Syria is no longer available for obvious reasons. Trade between Israel and Jordan has increased by 65% since 2010. Some say that even migratory birds may have changed their route to go via Israel after Saddam Hussain’s army set fire to the Kuwaiti oil wells and caused the largest oil spill in history!
On that subject, Israel's Wildlife Hospital has opened the first blood bank in the world for birds that arrive injured to the country during migration. Hospital veterinarians realized that they could better treat the birds if they had a blood bank for them because, much like humans, birds have different blood types.
The international media enjoys attacking the Jewish State for not accepting more African Muslim migrants. Yet hundreds of Eritrean asylum-seekers marched in Tel Aviv in support of a UN probe into the Eritrean regime, considered one of the world's most repressive. One typical demonstrator said, "for a march like this one we would already be dead in Eritrea."
Whilst South Africa officially gives Israel the “cold shoulder”, in reality it has been enlisting Israel’s help with building four power plants, combating drought, purifying polluted water, detecting viruses in blood tests, saving trapped miners, installing Wi-Fi on buses, training farmers and medical teams and broadcasting the Africa Cup of Nations. Imagine the amount of trade when they stop their “boycott”!
Some countries in the European Union have also not been overly friendly to Israel on the political front recently. So it was a nice to hear that the Belgium city of Antwerp greeted Israeli President Reuven Rivlin with the Israeli national anthem “Hatikvah” (The Hope) played on the bells of the city cathedral.
Please take a look at the peppers sold in Europe’s supermarkets during January and February. If they are marked “Dutch Peppers”, don’t believe the labels. They will have actually been grown in greenhouses in the Arava desert beside the Dead Sea and then exported to Holland. European peppers cannot be propagated commercially in the middle of the Northern Hemisphere’s winter due to the lack of sunshine. Ironically, Yasser Arafat was offered part of the Arava desert in a land swap peace deal in 2000 but rejected it, saying that the land was unusable!
Finally, one particular amusing story is about Israel's Mapal Green that purifies the wastewater of nearly 50% of all the households in England. It is even now used by Thames Water Authority, which once boycotted Israel products because it had "many and valued Arab clients". So I tell all BDS supporters living in or visiting the UK that they must NEVER flush their toilet in case they inadvertently promote Israeli technology. My wife wrote a letter about this in the Jerusalem Post. The Letters' Editor decided to give it the title "Go with the flow"!
Keep smiling – Israel is making the world a happier place.
Michael Ordman writes a free weekly newsletter containing positive news stories about Israel.
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