You can Count on the Jewish State

There is a Jewish religious obligation to count each of the 49 days between the Festival of Freedom (Passover) and the Season of the Giving of our Law (Shavuot / Pentecost).  We look forward to celebrating the high point in our history when we rose from slavery to receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai.  Today it is almost impossible to count all of the innovations, discoveries and positive activities arising from the Jewish State – so I will simply enumerate some of the latest examples.

Israel continues to advance exponentially in the field of Medical Science. For the 3rd year running, an Israeli has won Europe’s prestigious L’Oréal-UNESCO “Women in Science” prize.  Osnat Zomer-Penn received this year’s award for her research into the genetic basis of autism.  Israelis Hadar Gelber-Sagiv won in 2012, and Na’ama Geva Zatursky in 2011.  Meanwhile, Israel’s biotech giant Teva had a double success in its latest medication trials.  Firstly, patients who began early treatment of Teva’s Laquinimod MS medication halted the progression of the disease.  Then Teva’s Azilect add-on treatment for Parkinson’s disease improved patients’ condition significantly.

Europe’s CE mark of approval has just been given to the Nitinol carotid EPS stent from Tel Aviv’s InspireMD. The self-expanding stent is wrapped with a MicroNetmesh to prevent strokes that are common following stent insertions and is just one of countless cardiology devices that Israeli companies have produced. A heart stent is also portrayed on one of three latest Israeli stamps celebrating Israeli cardiology innovations.  The 3-shekel stamp depicts the Percutaneous Heart Valve.  The 4.2 shekel stamp shows the stent, whilst the 5-shekel stamp has a picture of the Implantable Defibrillator.

Diabetics can now display their blood-glucose count on their smartphone.  Dr. Oren Fuerst’s LabStyle Innovations developed the “Dario” glucometer attachment in Israel.  A lancing device takes a spot of blood and a test strip measures the glucose.  The smartphone displays the result and records it, for sharing with the doctor.

It is becoming hard to count the number of wounded Syrians that Israel has treated.  The IDF has now set up a military field hospital in the Golan Heights to avoid having to send serious cases on long, potentially hazardous journeys to hospitals inside Israel.  Critics of the so-called “Gaza blockade” should count the number of trucks entering from Israel via the Keren Shalom crossing in any one week.  In the seven days up to 23rd March, 1,157 trucks delivered 31,953 tons of goods, before Gaza terrorists forced the temporary closing of the crossing by firing rockets at Israeli civilians in Sederot.

Next, here are a number of recent new Israeli technological innovations that will benefit countless numbers of people around the world.  Firstly, when you can’t count on a safe source of water, Israel’s SunDwater will harness the sun’s energy using solar mirrors to turn polluted or salty water into steam and then distill it into safe, clean drinking water.  Then in a politically sensitive hot spot, Waterfall Security Solutions of Tel Aviv has installed its Unidirectional Security Gateways to protect South Korea’s nuclear reactors from potential meltdown due to physical and cyber threats.  And this new video provides a number of reminders of how much the world counts on Israeli technology.

Those counting their calories will enjoy a new range of Israeli confectionary from Carmit Candy Industries.  It includes a weight-management wafer bar and chocolate coins with calcium, vitamin D and vitamin K that the manufacturers claim will help shed pounds, boost the immune system and promote bone health.  Meanwhile, cycling enthusiasts will love being able to count their heartbeats using a smart bicycle helmet with built-in infrared heart rate monitor. This unique sensing technology from Tel Aviv’s LifeBEAM is also deployed in test trials for fighter pilots and is currently being analyzed by NASA for possible use in future space missions.

By the way, if UK readers want their activities to count towards the humanitarian efforts of the Jewish State, then please download the free app from UK-based charity Myisrael. Every time an online purchase is made from one of a thousand British retailers, donations are collected for Myisrael’s projects. 

To conclude, we should count our blessings for the existence of the Jewish State.  Thousands gathered at the Western Wall in Jerusalem just for that purpose during the Passover festival - a reminder of the massive Jewish pilgrimages to the Temple in Jerusalem, over 2000 years ago.  And having exceeded the symbolic figure of six million Jewish citizens, the Jewish State now has a larger Jewish population than any other country – for the first time since Biblical times.

Finally, we can count the 2013 / 5773 Passover holiday as the time that Israel became energy independent - when natural gas began flowing from the Tamar natural gas field. It ends Israel's natural gas shortage and has many associated economic and environmental benefits. Surplus supplies could even be exported and create countless numbers of new friends of Israel around the world.

If only we could count on that!

Michael Ordman writes a free weekly newsletter containing Good News stories about Israel.
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You Cannot Passover the Jewish State

The modern State of Israel is almost the same size of Wales and is smaller than Lake Michigan and Kruger Safari Park.  Yet this tiny state produces more innovations and performs more humanitarian activities than countries that dwarf it in size and population.  Here are just some of Israel’s amazing achievements in the lead-up to this year’s festival of Passover when we celebrate the events over 3000 years ago that created the nation of Israel.

“Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh”, says the good book; so it is appropriate that during “Save Your Vision Month” scientists at Israel’s Weizmann Institute had the vision to publicize their many projects for treating eyesight problems. They include glaucoma medication, photon analysis, brain imaging and even sensory whiskers.  In another sense, neurobiologist Professor Israel Nelken at the Hebrew University may have taken “Hear O Israel” as inspiration for the work that led to his team’s discoveries about the brain’s response to sounds.  The research, published in the journal “Neuron”, could lead to the development of better hearing aids.

The Angel of Death takes a vacation when Rabbi Elimelech Firer is around.  Nicknamed “The Phenomenon”, Rabbi Firer never received a formal medical education but reviews hundreds of patient reports a day and has diagnosed diseases that professional medical staff missed.  He founded "Ezra Lemarpeh" to supply patients with treatments and facilities that Israel’s National Health Service cannot provide.  He is now working to build a new Medical Rehabilitation Center in Sderot.

In Egypt, the troubles of the Children of Israel began when “A new King arose who did not know Joseph”.  So it was vital that, on his pre-Passover visit to the Jewish State, US President Obama was shown a selection of the best of “Israeli Technology for a Better World”.  From Sa’id Haruf (one of 600 Arabs working for Intel Israel) he then heard first hand about Maantech – Israel’s hi-tech “finishing school” that helps Israeli-Arabs integrate into Israel’s hi-tech scene.  Finally, he learned about Jewish history when he received a gift of a microchip that had been fashioned by scientists from Israel’s Technion Institute.  They had engraved nano-sized versions of the US and Israeli declarations of independence onto the gold-plated chip and affixed it to a Jerusalem stone seal dating to the Second Temple Period (1st century BCE to 1st century CE).

Israelis may not be able to split the sea or turn it into blood, but they are world leaders in water technology.  Israel’s Amiad Water Systems has won a contract to help Colombia clean its industrial water by supplying and maintaining a pre-filtration solution at one of the South American country’s desalination plants.  And Ben Gurion University of the Negev has announced a partnership with the University of Chicago to collaborate on new water production and purification technologies for deployment in regions of the globe where fresh water resources are scarce.  I often imagine that if modern Israelis had watched Egyptian soldiers drowning in the Red Sea they would have gone back to save them.  Last week Israel Defense Force medics treated four more wounded Syrians after they approached the Israel-Syrian border seeking medical attention.  Two were seriously wounded and were evacuated to an Israeli hospital for further treatment. 

Israeli Nir Goldshlager certainly prevented a “sea” of problems for Facebook, when he uncovered a major security flaw. Then when Facebook fixed the breach, Nir earned a place in their “hall of fame” when he discovered another flaw in the “corrected” code.  Meanwhile, Israel’s Skycure used its “tree of knowledge” to alert Apple Corporation to the news that their iPhone customers could be eaten alive.  Skycure’s CEO and co-founder Adi Sharabani showed that a cyber attacker could steal sensitive information (including the victim’s exact location) and even control victims’ phones – e.g. quietly changing their GPS destination while driving.

Passover is all about passing on Jewish history to the next generation and there has been much recent news regarding equipping Israeli children with hi-tech skills.  For example, the Amal network of technical high schools held a nationwide online detection and hacking race at Cisco’s R&D center in Netanya.  The goal is to equip a new generation of top-tier computer experts with the expertise to benefit Israel and successfully compete in cyberspace.  In another story, Netanya students three top prizes at the Intel-Young Scientists competition.  Victor Isserov of the Shai Agnon School was joint first with his project on the quantum characteristics of ions and the development of quantum computers.  Victor will represent Israel in the EU science competition in Prague in September.  Finally, please watch this new video showing the work of Israeli start-up “Young Engineers” that won Amir Asor the “Youth Business International Entrepreneur of the Year” award from Britain's Youth Business International non-profit organization.  Children use kits such as LEGO to grasp the principles of software engineering.

As we conclude these festive highlights, I wonder if you were lucky to see a fiery object in the skies, just to the right of the setting sun.  Dr. Igal Patel, chairman of the Israeli Astronomical Association, says it was the comet Panstarrs C/2011 L4.  But Passover is when Elijah is predicted to return in his fiery chariot to announce the final redemption - so ……

…. if you see him in passing, please wish him a Happy Passover.

Michael Ordman writes a free weekly newsletter containing Good News stories about Israel.
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An Outstretched Arm

One of the items that we put on the Passover plate is a shank bone, to remind us of the (metaphorical) outstretched arm that the Eternal used to deliver the Children of Israel from Egypt, over 3000 years ago.  Today, the Jewish State emulates that symbol by the far-reaching impact of its scientific and humanitarian work.

The effects of Israel’s medical research and innovations reach across the globe.  They include two major recent successes in cancer treatment.  Firstly, early trials of NiCord stem cells from Israel’s Gamida Cell have proved successful in maintaining the health of blood cancer patients.  Then researchers at Tel Aviv University and Sheba Medical Center have used cancer cells to fight cancer.  They stimulated T-cells in the immune system using proteins from melanoma (a severe form of skin cancer) to produce cytokines, which can fight other cancers in the body.  Israel has also shown the world that rates of cancer can be reduced by early diagnosis and treatment.

In other medical news, Israel’s Enopace Biomedical has developed a device that provides an alternative to heart transplants.  Its innovative pacemaker for the arteries is implanted in a 30-minute procedure while the patient is awake.  Another medical breakthrough was achieved by Tel Aviv University Professor Karen Avraham who has discovered the reason for genetic deafness – the cause of 50% of hearing losses.  The result brings new treatments for hearing disorders within reach.

Israel also reaches out to “the other”.  The Keren Shalom crossing reopened after Hamas closed it last week and 1,118 trucks delivered 31,338 tons of goods to Gaza. They included three trucks from Turkey – the first since the Mavi Marmara incident.  Read also how Orit saved the lives of Palestinian Arabs when she served as a medic in the Israeli army.  Meanwhile, Israel has begun a six-year project to improve the job prospects of its Arab community.  And the Israeli organizers of the Jezreel Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival successfully reached for the sky to attract Jordanian and Palestinian Arab entries.

In the Jewish State, religious freedom is so important that sometimes it has an even wider reach.  Take for example, the first “International Jerusalem Symposium on Green and Accessible Pilgrimage” which commences in April.  It combines interfaith dialogue with urban sustainability.  And Yoni and Shoshana Rappaport are using their hands and arms to turn the desert green by planting many thousands of the amazing Argan tree in Mitzpe Ramon in the Negev.  The Argan tree can survive on minimal rainfall yet produces a healthy oil from its fruit.  Please support their work.

Israeli President Shimon Peres stretched out his arm to greet five new ambassadors – from Chile, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Zambia. They presented their credentials and then expressed their hope to develop technological and strategic connections with the Jewish State.  As I write, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be reaching out for US President Barack Obama’s hand. After which, he will show him a series of technological products by Israel’s high-tech industries in a special exhibit set up in the President’s honor.  The products are in the fields of renewable energy, accident prevention, medicine, search and rescue, and robotics.  The PM will also hand the US President a microchip containing 200-micron size copies of both the American and Israeli Declarations of Independence, attached to a Jerusalem stone seal that stretches back 2000 years to the Second Jewish Temple.

The technological age of the Internet has reached almost all of us – certainly those reading this blog.  So it was especially satisfying to read Professor Shafi Goldwasser of Israel’s Weizmann Institute was joint winner of the 2013 Turing Prize for her pioneering work that brought about computer cryptography – securing transactions on the Internet.  The Turing Prize is considered to be the “Nobel Prize” of computing.  But wait – some examples of Israeli technology mean that you soon won’t need to use your arms at all.  The voice recognition system from Israeli startup VocalZoom includes an optical microphone that “reads your lips” by sensing vibrations on your face. And with the eye-tracking software from Israel’s Umoove, you can scroll through text on your smartphone’s screen simply by gazing down. 

For the third consecutive time, and the fourth in her life, Israeli windsurfer Lee Korzits reached out and took first place at the RS-X Windsurfing World Championships.  With fellow Israeli Maayan Davidovich taking the bronze, it was the first time that two Israelis have shaken hands on the winners’ podium.  And permit me to stretch the metaphor of ocean waves to sound waves in order to link to Barbra Streisand’s first ever concert in Israel this June.  Maybe she will perform her hit “My honey’s loving arms”, but I’ll settle for a repeat of her 1978 rendition of “Hatikvah”.

Finally, when the long arms of Israel reached out and brought Yityish Aynaw from Ethiopia to the Jewish State, she had no idea of her destiny.  On becoming the new Miss Israel she said, "Ten years ago I was walking around barefoot in Ethiopia and I never imagined that one day I would be in the Land of Israel, meeting the Israeli President and the President of the United States.”

With Israel, freedom is within everyone’s reach.

Michael Ordman writes a free weekly newsletter containing Good News stories about Israel.
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The Jewish State makes Perfect Sense

The images that the international media portrays of Israel are so distorted that it seems that the reporters and editors must have closed their eyes, ears and minds to common sense.  Well welcome to the blog that blows away those false smokescreens and gives a true sense of what this amazing country is achieving.

The brain controls our senses and the nerve center of Israeli research is Neuroscience.  A groundbreaking ceremony took place at the site of the Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences (ELSC) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The new building will be home to the largest neuroscience center in Israel and one of the most ambitious in the world. One Hebrew University Professor, Hagai Berman, is to receive he Rappaport Prize for Excellence in Biomedical Research as overdue recognition for his work on Deep Brain Stimulation.  Over 100,000 Parkinson’s sufferers have been treated with DBS, one of the most effective treatments for the ailment.

Researchers over at Israel’s Technion are working at the forefront of a new Neuroscience category called Optogenetics where they have discovered a substitute for damaged retinas. A light-sensitive protein can turn the ganglion cells in the eye into photoreceptors.  Visual images projected onto these cells stimulate neurons and recreate the image in the brain.  Watch this space!  Meanwhile Bloomberg TV highlighted Israel’s huge advances in brain science. The reporter even put on an Israeli Brain Machine Interface.  But it took common sense to recognize that Alzheimer’s sufferers would benefit simply from wearing “MediTags” - bracelets that contain medical and contact details in Hebrew and English in case they get lost.

Turning to the sense of smell, even habitual slanderers of the Jewish State - the UK Guardian newspaper and the BBC – recently hailed the innovative cancer breath test invented by Israel Technion Professor Hossam Haick.  And you may be able to sense the aroma of 18,000 tons of freshly picked apples being exported by Druze farmers in the Golan Heights to Syria over the next three months.  And what nonsense that the BDS movement promotes the boycott of Ahava’s fragrant skin care products, given that virtually every tour bus that comes to Jericho is directed by the Palestinian Authority into the Ahava Temptation store.

The visual senses are enhanced by the super-resolution technology from Tel Aviv-based Sightec.  US-based Pongr has just acquired Sightec to help improve its image and take its photo-sharing business to a completely new level.  And there is no need to take your eyes off the road if you purchase a Voyager car phone from Israel’s Accel Telecom. It acts as an extension of your smartphone, with sensory features especially for drivers. Big, easy to access keys; noise filtration and cancellation facilities; enhanced volume for clearer conversations; voice activation and much more.

Israeli musicians are busy making (sound) waves around the world.  If you are lucky enough to be in Austin Texas, you should visit the South By South West event where you will get an opportunity to hear performances from ten of the best Israeli bands.  And to follow up on last week’s blog, here is the full video of Iranian-born Israeli singer Rita rocking the audience at the United Nations.

It also makes perfect sense that Israel’s educational activities are attractive to the world.  For example, the Chinese Ambassador to Israel visited Israel’s Technion and explained how the long histories connecting China and Israel attracts top Chinese students to study there.  Then, in Washington DC, the new Israel Institute opened its doors with a novel mission: to advance the scholarly study of modern Israel in the United States and around the world.  Finally, Israel became a global player in the educational games industry when Israeli publisher of children’s and family apps, TabTable, bought Israeli smartphone educational games company Kids Games Club. Together they market over 200 educational apps.

Israeli scientists have made so many medical discoveries that they almost seem to have a sixth sense.  No wonder then that a delegation from the UK HQ of GlaxoSmithKline visited the Weizmann Institute, Sheba Medical Center, Hadassit in Jerusalem, Ben-Gurion University, Israel Technion and other institutions. GSK’s leader Dr. Duncan Holmes said, “We recognize the huge expertise of Israeli academics in research in this field.”

I’ll conclude this journey through the physical senses with the news that NASA engineer David Brent will shortly become an American Israeli.  He writes that he is going up in the world by making Aliya and immigrating to the Jewish State.  He says that in Israel, the laws of physics are reversed as it is a lot easier to go up, than to go down. 

David can sense that he is coming home.

Michael Ordman writes a free weekly newsletter containing Good News stories about Israel.
For a free subscription, email a request to

In Israel every day is Good Deeds Day

Good Deeds Day – a day dedicated to volunteering to help the less fortunate in society – originated in Israel in 2007.  Since then, the event has been adopted in over 50 countries across the world.  Israel starts early – on 5th March, whilst the rest of the world waits until the 10th.  But as you will see below, good deeds are certainly not restricted to one-day-a-year in the Jewish State.

The organization ALEH runs Israel’s largest network of facilities for children with severe cognitive and physical disabilities.  It has pioneered a unique use of virtual reality (VR) at ALEH’s Moriah facility in Gedera where residents go on field trips in simulated environments.  Another charity, the Institute for the Advancement of the Deaf, together with the national-religious rabbinic association Tzohar held the first ever sign language reading of the megila (Book of Esther) for the deaf and hard of hearing during the Jewish festival of Purim. More than 600 people attended the reading at the Tel Aviv International Synagogue.  Finally, only in Israel would you find an annual music festival that charges an entrance fee of one shekel (around 25 US cents).  Festival Bashekel allows residents from marginalized communities to enjoy top Israeli bands.  A nominal fee is charged to highlight that that the event does indeed have value. 

Israel’s neighbors also benefit from the Jewish State’s good deeds.  The ex Finance Minister of Turkey, Kemal Unakıtan, spent nearly two-and-a-half months at the International Center for Cell Therapy & Cancer Immunotherapy in Tel Aviv. He received groundbreaking stem cell treatment to wean him off dialysis and avoid the need for a kidney transplant.  Meanwhile, 42,700 tons of goods (1,397 truckloads) were delivered to Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing, before it had to be closed due to the resumption of terrorist rocket fire.  But your really must see what Israeli volunteers from are doing to help Syrian regugees hurt, hungry and homeless from the civil war in their country.

The Israel Defense Forces seldom get the credit they deserve for their good deeds.  For example when they airlifted a Sudanese refugee and her two premature babies (weighing only 900 grams each) from Eilat to Assaf Harofeh hospital in Tel Aviv.  Meanwhile, although they were exempt from combat duty, three women volunteered to stand up and be counted when presented with the opportunity to join the IDF and defend their country.  And like the brave Jewish Queen of the Purim story, their first names are all Esther.

Israeli hi-tech innovations often have a good deeds “flavor”.  Jerusalem-based UIU encourages individuals who shy away from smartphones to join the technological revolution.  Both the elderly and those with visual impairment will appreciate the large fonts and enhanced security features.  Busy shoppers will benefit from the app from Haifa’s WiseSec to prevent them getting lost in massive shopping malls.  And where in the world is this technology being introduced?  In Moscow’s huge 5000-store city mall.

Israel performs many good deeds for the environment with its Clean Technology.  Israeli wind sensor company Pentalum Technologies is expanding production of its sensor that allows wind farms to improve electricity production by up to 10% - equal to millions of dollars.  In another example, Israeli farmers in the Negev have cut their use of chemical pesticides by about 80%.  They use natural predators – bugs that don’t harm the crops – to get rid of the pests.  Eco-conscious Israelis can now receive comprehensive information about recycling centers, air and water pollution, cellular antennas, open spaces, beaches and various environmental hazards from the new online website  And the Israeli Transport Ministry is replacing a dangerous section of Route 1 between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem with a 16km new road.  The NIS 2.5 billion cost includes an eco-friendly bridge, indistinguishable from the surrounding forests, which will allow animals to cross the highway in safety.

Israel performs good deeds by financing people to come to the Jewish State.  The appropriately named “Israel Give & Tech” is a brand-new Taglit-Birthright Israel trip, in conjunction with Israel Free Spirit. It's designed for people interested in experiencing how Israel uses its technological innovation for tikkun olam, or repairing the world.  The free 10-day trip will depart from New York in early July.  Then the charity Shavei Israel has brought seven descendants of Kaifeng Jews, an ancient community from China’s Henan Province, to Israel to reclaim their Judaism.  At its height, 5,000 Jews lived in Kaifeng. Today, about 1,000 Chinese can trace their roots to them.  Finally, the Hebrew University together with the Israeli Government sponsored 250 of the most talented science students from all over Asia, Australasia and Oceania to Asian Science Camp Israel - a six-day program, learning, touring and enjoying the unique atmosphere. 

Finally, Iranian-born Israeli diva Rita did her own good deed by performing “Tunes for Peace,” at the UN General Assembly Hall on Mar 5 in a first-of-its-kind event organized by the Israeli Mission to the UN.  Just days after her father passed away, Rita sang in Hebrew, English and Farsi (Persian) in front of UN chief Ban Ki-Moon, diplomats and Iranian community leaders. "I believe that if we, the people, will try to reach each other, something will happen," she said.  From her mouth, to the Ayatollah’s ears.

Indeed - let’s hope he isn’t UN-grateful.

Michael Ordman writes a free weekly newsletter containing Good News stories about Israel.
For a free subscription, email a request to


Israel Sets the Pulses Racing

Israel Sets the Pulses Racing

Life in the Jewish State is never boring, and the activities of Israeli politicians can sometimes raise stress levels significantly. But if you look beyond an all too frequent selection of sensationalist negative news reports, an exciting and pulsating picture of Israel’s achievements is revealed.

Israel’s goal as far as cancer is concerned is to discover treatments that can maintain the pulse of the sufferer indefinitely.  A team of 11 scientists from the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot has found a combination of two antibodies to attack aggressive breast cancer tumors, causing them to collapse and die.  Another group of Weizmann Institute scientists has developed a microscopic device that is injected into your body to search for genetic malfunctions in your cells.  If it finds any, it emits a pulse of green light to highlight the diagnosis. The scientists are now working on upgrading it to destroy the cancerous cells.

As blood pulses around the body, it carries many vital biological organisms.  Weizmann Institute graduate Prof Jonathan Kipnis has discovered that the immune system’s T-cells not only fight infections but they also govern intelligence.  And another group of Weizmann scientists has discovered a pseudo-education system in the colon.  Newly arrived monocytes are taught how to maintain a healthy balance in the gut by resident immune cells. But if you get an infection or eat the wrong food, the new pupils run wild!  Finally, your pulse may have started racing when you first met your life partner, but Bar-Ilan University’s Psychology Professor Ruth Feldman found that the blood hormone oxytocin is a major factor in keeping couples together.

The PA propaganda machine never fails to rush to accuse Israel of all sorts of false crimes.  But the reality is that IDF medics race to save the lives of Arabs wherever called upon.  As in the case of the Palestinian Arab motorcyclist who suffered severe abdominal bleeding in a crash with a mini-bus near Shechem / Nablus.  Or the seven Syrians wounded in battles between Syrian army forces and rebels near the border with Israel.  Even a terrorist with the blood of 21 Israelis on his hands.  And the hope for the future is with Palestinian Arabs such as those working for SodaStream.

Israel’s clean technology is racing ahead of the competition.  Israel’s Atlantium is using pulses of ultra-violet light to purify water. It renders germs harmless without damaging equipment or generating high levels of ozone.  Meanwhile South America and India are going Blue thanks to Israel’s Blue I Technologies’ advanced water controllers and analyzers. Israel is able to turn the arid wastes of the Negev desert into fertile soil for agriculture.  Or as Israeli President Shimon Peres said in the latest KKL-JNF video “Israel is contrary to nature”. 

We return to fizzing SodaStream, which was voted Israel’s most innovative company just before Samsung announced that its Four Door Refrigerator would incorporate a built-in SodaStream carbonated water dispenser.  Users will be able to select up to three levels of carbonation for their sparkling water. To quote a Samsung VP, “it brings a new experience to the kitchen”.  For those who like a stronger beverage, however, Gush Etzion residents from Scotland and the United States have teamed up to create Lone Tree Brewery, which works to make “the best beer possible.” 

Positive messages about Israel were racing across the Internet following the visit to the Jewish State by six Serbian bloggers.  “If we could, we would stay in Tel Aviv forever”, they posted.  “The people are wonderful, the food is outstanding, the views are splendid, the soldiers walk around with big guns and huge smiles and they are much nicer than our civil servants."  Everyone can get a buzz by supporting Israel during Buy Israel Week.

Finally, immense feelings of elation accompanied a recent edition of the BBC’s longest-running radio show “Desert Island Discs”. Non-Jewish Zionist writer Julie Burchill was invited to play the eight records she would most like to listen to on a desert island.  She chose “Hebrew Man” by Israel’s Ehud Banai and the theme song from the movie “Exodus”.  But I gave her a standing ovation when her top choice of the Israeli National Anthem “Hatikvah” radiated over the airways.

Come back next week, to keep your finger on the pulse.

Michael Ordman writes a free weekly newsletter containing Good News stories about Israel.
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