A Question of Honor

Israel is full of citizens and organizations that deserve to receive an honor.  Not a political honor such as the Nobel Prize for peace given to an unrepentant terrorist leader, nor an award from the British Foreign Office for services that undermine the legitimacy of the Jewish State. Respect can only be given to those who enhance Israel in the eyes of the world.  Here are some of the most recent examples.

The medical profession is overflowing with worthy individuals who put Tikum Olam (repairing the world) far above financial recompense.  Kol Hakavod (all the glory) to the team of 20 Israeli doctors and medical staff from Save a Child's Heart (SACH) that has just flown to Tanzania to provide free heart surgeries.  And to the team of 11 cardiac surgeons and nurses from Israel’s Sheba Medical Center that performed 10 complex heart operations over 4 days in Nigeria.  SACH doctors can also take credit for restoring the sight of 10-month old baby Dennis from Romania who lost his vision shortly after birth.

The paramedics working for Israel’s emergency service Magen David Adom deserve recognition for having saved countless lives during the life of the modern state.  MDA just unveiled their latest hi-tech mobile command vehicle designed to direct rescue operations on the most difficult terrain and during cellular network failure.  Another organization, Yad Sarah, employs the largest number of volunteers in Israel, providing services and equipment to help the elderly and disabled lead fuller, more comfortable lives.  One of Yad Sarah’s thousands of volunteers, Dr. Marjorie Kenyon, finally retired from serving the organization, in her 100th year.  Here are some of the innovative devices and gadgets that Yad Sarah is currently demonstrating to the public.

It is a great honor to the Jewish State that so many of its scientists have developed apps and devices that can save lives.  Tel Aviv University researchers have just developed a website and smartphone app that sends your Genome (your individual Genetic DNA sequence map) for analysis.  You can then identify the most effective medications with the least side effects - or prior to pregnancy, you can use it to check for birth defect risks.  Another TA University graduate, Eugene Jorov, co-founded Seraphim Sense and developed the Angel sensor in honor of his father who died from a heart attack.  The Angel is a biofeedback wristband that monitors the motion, acceleration, skin temperature, blood oxygen saturation and heart rate of at-risk individuals and sends an alert if their medical condition changes.

Foreign heads of state often treat the Jewish State with more respect than many of Israel’s own citizens.  In the past few weeks we have had been honored with the first ever visits from the sitting Prime Ministers of Malta and Papua New Guinea. Both arrived with large delegations and cooperation plans.  And President Goodluck Jonathan’s visit was the first time in the history of Nigeria that a sitting President went on pilgrimage to Israel.  He took the opportunity to sign a bilateral air services agreement between Nigeria and Israel.

Despite its flawed politics, the United Nations regularly turns to the Jewish State to solve issues of international concern.  The UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) has granted ‘Special Consultative Status’ to 13 Israeli NGOs and is currently considering including a two more.  Similarly, all European Union political arguments were put aside in order to welcome Israeli scientists onto the Galileo project.  Israeli academics and companies have been given security clearance to work on the EU’s prestigious project to launch 30 satellites and become Europe’s alternative to the US GPS system. 

International stars from Rihanna to Tom Jones continue to honor Israel with their performances.  However, many pop fans will have missed that October 27 was the 30th anniversary of when Bob Dylan released his up-tempo Zionist anthem, the ironically-titled “Neighborhood Bully”.  Meanwhile brothers Arie and Gil Gat, explain that there is no conflict of honor between being devout Jews and covering rock hits on Israeli TV.

Israel’s sporting heroes have certainly been awash with medals, including windsurfer Shahar Zubari who cruised to a gold medal at the Sailing World Cup in Qingdao, China.  Maayan Davidovich won bronze in the women’s division.  Israeli swimmer Amit Ivri even won medals at FINA World Cup events in Dubai (UAE) and Doha (Qatar) although Qatar dishonored itself by blanking out the Israeli flag on its TV broadcasts.

There is no greater honor than when people volunteer to serve their country, despite physical disabilities.  At the closing ceremony for their special basic training the 150 graduates of IDF’s Ofek course used the deaf sign language to accompany the Israeli National Anthem – “Hatikvah”. 

Finally, for the first time in the history of the Israel Defense Forces, an officer from Israel’s Druse community is to serve as the chief of the elite IDF Golani Brigade. Colonel Ghassan Alian was previously deputy commander of the Golan Division.  He follows fellow Druse Imad Fares who was chief of the IDF Givati Brigade.

Let’s honor those that deserve honor.

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