Israel is Weird and Wonderful

In this topsy-turvy world, it is common to find positive news about the Jewish State in most unusual circumstances.

Something weird happened at the United Nations General Assembly last week.  Someone spoke the truth.  Due to a faulty open microphone, an interpreter broadcast to everyone her inability to understand why there were 10 resolutions concerning Israel when there was so much else happening in the world.  And then guilty laughter broke out from the delegates.

What was really strange was that the nations were condemning Israel whilst ignoring the mass-murder of Syrian civilians by the Syrian government.  Meanwhile, on the other side of Syria’s border with Israel, Syria’s “enemy” was busy healing wounded from Syria’s civil war. A fact that even an official from the EU couldn’t ignore when he praised Israel’s treatment of “the other”.  The UN also didn’t seem to notice that on the other side of the world, Israeli doctors were among the first international relief teams to arrive in the Philippines following devastating typhoon Haiyan.  Within a short time they had set up a field hospital and were treating over 300 patients a day, including delivering premature babies.

The main story on the BBC World Service last week was that a world crisis is imminent because life-threatening bacteria has become resistant to all antibiotics.  So it was really weird that Tel Aviv University had just announced that some of its researchers have just succeeded in isolating a protein that kills these bacteria. The BBC of course failed to report this, or the strange coincidence that another group of researchers at the same Tel Aviv University have found a way to control an overactive immune response that can trigger allergies and autoimmune diseases. 

Israeli companies have developed some really weird and wonderful medical devices. One of the is the SAGIV, invented by Hebrew University students, that provides 100% accurate insertion of intravenous tubes into a person’s veins.  It is particularly applicable for the tiny veins of sick babies.  I hope you have heard about the EarDoc from Israel’s Kencap Medical solutions. It’s a non-invasive, non-surgical device that can improve the quality of life for sufferers of earache.

Israelis have invented some weird new energy sources.  Israel’s Energy Industries makes electricity from garbage.  It is constructing a power plant in Kumasi, Ghana’s second largest city, to convert the methane gas extracted from a giant landfill.  Back in Israel, Ben Gurion University scientists have developed a revolutionary new method for producing liquid fuel from hydrogen and carbon dioxide - two of the most common substances on earth. 

It will probably seem strange to many readers that the new Dean of Exact Sciences at Bar-Ilan University is a female convert to ultra-orthodox Judaism.  You may also like to watch this unusual performance of one of the traditional songs for the Jewish festival of Hanukkah by five talented students from Israel’s Technion. It will certainly raise a few eyebrows in China, where the Technion is building another Institute of Technology.

Another Asian country where Israel is admired is South Korea.  At the first-ever Korea-Israel Creative Economy Forum, Ambassador Kim Il-soo predicted that the two countries would combine to form an economic powerhouse.  Even now, Samsung’s only foreign R&D center outside of Korea is located in Israel.  Israel’s innovative technology drives the advanced cameras on Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones.  You can also make some weird gestures to control your Samsung Smart TV thanks to Israel’s PointGrab.  Its award winning gesture technology has also just been selected by TCL Corporation, the third largest television brand in the world.

I will end by returning to the BBC who broadcast a weird interview last week.  The topic of discussion was the disappearance of Christians, due to persecution, from their places of origin.  When the interviewee mentioned one of the problem countries to be Pakistan, the BBC presenter quickly added “and Israel”.  Strange, but the facts show that Israel is the only country in the Middle East where the Christian population is on the increase.

Isn’t it weird how wonderful the truth is?  (Pity we don’t hear more of it.)

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