Lands of the Free

Most Americans are aware (hopefully) that Israel is the only free democracy in the Middle East. But the Jewish State’s links with the USA - the world’s largest free democracy - go much deeper than just a sharing of American values.  Here are some examples from recent news.

America’s largest corporations have major development centers in Israel.  Microsoft has even run out of free space at one of its Israeli sites and has taken out a 10-year lease on a huge new building in Haifa.  On the other hand, the social media giant Facebook has only just discovered Israel and freed up at least 100 million dollars to turn Israel’s Onavo into Facebook’s one and only R&D center outside of the USA.

US companies have purchased, merged with or conducted joint ventures with hundreds of Israeli firms.  One joint US-Israeli company, Statasys manufactures 3D printers.  If you are visiting the UK in the near future, why not enjoy the fascinating free exhibition of Stratasys’ 3D models at the London Science Museum?  In a joint venture, Israel’s Elbit and the US company Rockwell Collins have been confirmed by the Pentagon as the sole suppliers of their helmet mounted display systems for America’s free-flying F35 pilots. 

Electronic gadgetry was freely on display at Israel’s offshoot of the massively popular Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show.  “CES Unveiled - Tel Aviv” established Israel’s hi-tech hub as one of only four cities outside of Las Vegas to have staged a CES event.

Huge quantities of free energy will be transformed into electricity for US consumption shortly when Israel’s BrightSource turns on its 377-megawatt solar thermal farm in the California desert.  On a far smaller scale, Israeli start-up Nova Lumos’s pay-as-you-go, mobile-based solar energy system will give you the freedom to generate cheap solar power wherever the sun shines.  Nova Lumos won Ernst & Young’s “The Pitch” and will now receive mentoring from computer giant IBM. 

In the medical arena, Americans and Israelis have a free and open relationship. Researchers at Sheba Medical Center and Weizmann Institute together with North Carolina’s Duke University have identified the genes responsible for two serious neurological disorders in children.  The discovery will hopefully keep future generations free of such severe genetic diseases.  The US Food and Drug Administration has just approved another Israeli device - the robotic laparoscope from Medical Surgery Technologies. This keyhole surgery vision system gives the surgeon much more freedom to operate by replacing a hand-held video camera.

Next, we have two more new Israeli medical innovations to give individuals more freedom.  When ex US Vice-President Dick Cheney was having all his heart problems, a LVAD (Left Ventricle Assist Device) kept him alive until his heart transplant op last year.  But in order to recharge the LVAD’s battery, he had to be wired up.  He would have appreciated the wireless device that Israel’s Leviticus Cardio is developing to deliver energy to operate LVADs.  Leviticus Cardio has just raised finance through a group of American investors.

The second new Israeli device is for diabetics who have to inject themselves with insulin.  Israel’s Insuline has developed InsuPad - a device that frees diabetics to inject at any time - even after meals. The pad warms the body and allows a lower dose of insulin to be absorbed much quicker, thus reducing the number of hypoglycemic incidents. US multinational J&J Lifescan has just signed an agreement to market InsuPad.

Israeli hospitals embody the Jewish State’s democratic principles. Last week doctors at Hadera hospital freed a hatpin from the throat of an Israeli-Arab girl.  The 16-year-old from Baka al-Gharbiya was adjusting her headscarf and had put the 3.5cm hatpin temporarily into her mouth.  Unfortunately, something made her laugh and she swallowed the pin, which lodged in her vocal chords.  Meanwhile, more wounded from civil war-torn Syria received free treatment in Israeli hospitals last week when two seriously injured Syrians were brought to Ziv (Sieff) Medical Center in the central Galilee city of Tzfat.

No free democracy is perfect, but in Israel there are hundreds of organizations whose purpose is to help the less fortunate.  If you visit our tiny country from the USA, for example, you may wish to give 90 minutes of your free time to help Pantry Packers prepare boxes of free food for poor families. 

Finally, here is an idea for US students about to embark on a career.  The IDC (Interdisciplinary Center) in Herzliya is offering the first ever Israel-based law degree course for English speakers.  It costs $10,950 pa - around 15% of the average fees of a US law school. It prepares students for the Israeli bar exam but 5-week courses exist in the USA for those wishing to study for the American bar. 

Israel and America - Free to work together for a better future.

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