Happy birthday Israel - Presents for all

On Tuesday Israelis will be celebrating the 65th anniversary of Israel’s independence.  It is usual for people to be honored with presents on their birthday, but the Jewish philosophy is that it is better to give than to receive.  Here, therefore, are some of the Jewish State’s most recent contributions to the world.

Israel constantly bestows gifts to medical science. Researchers at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem have just discovered the mechanisms that the body uses to shut down the immune system.  This knowledge may soon help patients with cancer and HIV.  Nearby, at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center, scientists have found the genetic cause of PCD (primary ciliary dyskinesia), responsible for lung infections, sinusitis, frequent ear infections and fertility problems. In half of these cases, the heart, liver, stomach and spleen grow on the wrong side of the body.  Early diagnosis can reduce risks of subsequent damage.  Hadassah is also helping establish a new medical center in Varna, Bulgaria for bone marrow transplantation.

Israeli renewable energy technology could soon be used to fuel celebrations everywhere.  Ben Gurion University and the University of Michigan have just announced that they are to forge a research partnership on developing renewable technologies.  The program will research advanced vehicle fuels, solar energy and thermoelectric materials, which convert heat to electricity.  And a simple innovation by Sergey Biryukov at Ben Gurion University’s National Solar Energy Center could generate even more power from solar panels.  To remove dust from frequent storms Sergey came up with the idea of using an electrical field to “charge” the dust particles and repel them from the panels.  It looks just like someone blowing out birthday candles!

Many countries are already receiving benefit from Israeli clean technology.  One example is Israel’s Ormat Industries, which transforms energy from underground heat sources into electrical power.  Ormat has designed a 330-megawatt geothermal power plant in Northern Sumatra and will supply it with two geothermal energy converters.  About 2000 miles to the North East, China’s Guangdong Province Water Company is currently installing 75 water analyzing and control units supplied by Israel’s Blue I Water Technologies.

Two companies with close ties to Israel have also been celebrating recently.  Computer giant IBM Israel has enjoyed 40 years at its Haifa center where it developed the RS/6000 computer, ultrasound equipment and a HIV database.  Meanwhile, can you imagine how many “happy birthday” greetings have been sent via mobile phones in the 40 years since Martin Cooper of Motorola made the very first cell phone call in 1973?  Much of that technology was developed at Motorola’s development center in Haifa.

If you enjoy live rock music, then the Rock Independence Party on April 15 will be right up your street. The Rishon LeZion Park Amphitheater will be the venue to some of Israel’s biggest names in rock including Aviv Geffen, Barry Sacharov, Balkan Beat Box, Hadag Nahash, Mashina and Elisha Banai.  Alternatively you could simply relax on Tuesday with a bottle one of Israel’s award-winning wines.  I imagine that their taste is far superior to those that were produced in the 1500-year-old wine press discovered during the construction of a wedding hall near Hamei Yoav, east of Ashkelon in southern Israel.

If you live overseas, why not make a plan to visit Israel during its 66th year?  Don’t make excuses. Follow the example of 104-year-old Eleanor Hall from Richboro, Pennsylvania who is making her first pilgrimage to the Holy Land.  We can even provide luxury accommodation for your dog.  KelevLand will pamper your pooch with the best possible treatment – from mineral water on tap, to tummy rubs and acupuncture.  It also includes Israel’s DogTV television channel of course.

Finally, anyone suggesting that Israel doesn’t have sufficient international friends to celebrate its birthday with should read the new extensive report by Bar-Ilan Professor Efraim Inbar. It states that Israel’s international status has improved thanks to its social, economic, technological, financial, and diplomatic achievements. With its new energy reserves, water and agricultural technologies, things can only get better.

So let me wish everyone - Many happy returns to Israel.

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