The Next Generation of the Startup Nation

Whilst all of the Jewish State is totally focused on the fate of three young Israeli boys, here are some recent news items that illustrate the importance that the Jewish State places on its children and youth.

Statistics published by the National Library to mark annual Hebrew Book Week shows that children's literature is a thriving sector, with 879 new books published last year.  Education standards in Israeli schools are also improving and for the first time, the European Foundation for Quality Management recognized four Israeli schools for implementing its Excellence Model for organizational management.

Today’s curriculum isn’t restricted to reading, writing and arithmetic. For example, 700 children from 18 Israeli middle schools took part in Israel’s “Youth, Water & Knowledge” program and competition to help prepare the next generation of Israeli water experts.  First prize went to the Israeli-Arab Al Mutanabi school of Kfar Manda.  Children’s education also isn’t confined to the classroom. At the Mini Maker Fair at the Bloomfield Science Museum in Jerusalem, children were encouraged to build robots, games and 3D products in 3D printers, all using new technology. Half a million Israeli children receive after-school environmental education to promote the collection, sorting and recycling of plastic bottles.

Israeli students are bringing home more prizes than ever. Israeli 12th graders returned from the 2014 Asian Physics Olympiad in Singapore with five medals and three honorable mentions.  Meanwhile, pupils from Ilan Ramon Youth Physics Center in Beer-Sheva won their 45th prize in the "First Step to Nobel Prize in Physics" competition.  Israel has won the most prizes of all countries, since the US-based competition began in 2007. 

Three of Israel’s older students have demonstrated their skills by winning second place at an International engineering students’ conference in Turkey.  Other students at the IDC’s miLAB in Herzliya are researching the next big start-up by exploring the future of technology, media and human-computer interaction.

Israeli children often “make a difference” before they have even left school.  A group of 13-year-olds from the Harel School in Lod has made a breakthrough that can help developing countries, by filtering water, using ground pieces of rubber made from scrap tires.  And a tiny 840 grams satellite designed by a group of Israeli high school students at the Herzliya Science Center was successfully launched in Russia.  Duchifat 1 will help locate lost travelers in areas with no cell phone reception.

Many of Israel’s innovations are aimed at helping children.  Israel’s Andromeda Biotech was doing so well in the Phase III trials of its DiaPep277 therapy for Type 1 (juvenile) diabetes that it was bought by US pharmaceutical company Hyperion.  Israel’s Tal Sagie recently launched Therapee - the world’s first online interactive program for treating enuresis (bedwetting). Tal and his father Jacob at their clinics have already cured 27,000 children of the problem.  Meanwhile, Israeli industrial designer Yoav Mazar has developed the Doona – for those families with infants that want to avoid packing the car with both a car seat and a stroller / buggy.

Of course Israelis don’t just look after their own children.  Israel’s Dr. “Miki” Karplus recently explained some simple techniques that Israeli doctors use to save lives of babies in Ghana.  The BBC has produced a film “Keepod ‘magic drives’ put Nairobi’s children online” to show how the $7 device can provide billions with computer access.  Strangely, the BBC didn’t mention that the Keepod is an Israeli invention!  Now over to Northern Ethiopia where two Israeli physicians from Haifa’s Rambam Medical center, Dr. Omri Emodi and Dr. Zach Sharony, performed 91 operations in 5 days to repair cleft lips and pallets.

The Jewish Agency for Israel held a camp for 100 children (Jews and Arabs) from southern Israel whose lives have been affected by rocket fire from Gaza and by other terror attacks.  And for ten years, the Middle East Education through Technology (MEET) program has been uniting budding young hi-tech Palestinian Arab and Israeli entrepreneurs. Palestinian Arab anesthesiologist Wafiq Othman, however, told one of the most moving recent stories. Israeli doctors at Save A Child’s Heart (SACH) saved his younger brother’s life and inspired Wafiq to train with SACH.

I’ll conclude by mentioning some programs that give opportunities for young people from overseas to see the Startup Nation for themselves.  Firstly, Israel’s Big Idea Summer Camp will teach new technologies to children aged between 7 and 18 from 30 countries.  Israel’s Technion has two programs for students from the USA. TeAMS (Technion American Medical School) in Haifa trains students to a standard high enough for the top US medical centers and University hospitals.  And the Technion’s latest exchange program with the University of Connecticut promotes joint research into new energy technologies.

Finally, there were over 13,000 submissions to the “My Family Story” competition for the best 3-D Art representation of their family history.  42 youngsters won a trip to Israel and will have their entries displayed at Tel Aviv University’s Beit Hatfutsot Museum of the Jewish People. 

We pray for the safe return of our children Gil-ad Shaer, Naftali Fraenkel and Eyal Yifrach.

The future of the Jewish nation is the next generation.

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

Israel is a World Cup Winner

The media often uses major sporting events, such as the current FIFA 2014 soccer World Cup, to provide audiences with a little light relief from the seemingly endless stream of bad-news stories.  In contrast, I present you with a blog of positive news featuring some of the recent achievements of the Jewish State’s world-class team.

I’ll begin, however, with the tournament currently taking place in Brazil.  Israel’s world-leading Unmanned Air Vehicles and cameras were demonstrated simultaneously in the skies above Rio de Janeiro. A Heron UAV made by Israel Aerospace Industries, fitted with a heat-sensing camera from Israel’s Elbit Systems helped Brazilian police capture a criminal gang leader, to prevent violence during the World Cup.  The Brazilian Air Force is also deploying Elbit’s own UAVs in the shape of the Hermes 450 and 900, which are conducting safety and security missions during World Cup matches.

Back on the ground, Israel’s global dominance in security systems is in evidence at the 44,000-seat Arena Patanal World Cup stadium in Cuiaba where Israel’s Risco Group has implemented a command and control system.   In another city, administrators serving 24 Brazilian Government agencies will operate the Situator incident management platform from Israel’s NICE Systems.

We now leave the world of soccer for the world of medicine to read that Forbes has just produced its list of top 10 world-changing health tech companies.  It contained no less than six Israeli firms - ReWalk, uMoove, Telesofia, Surgical Theater, TotallyPregnant and HelpAround.  Surprisingly, it didn’t include Israeli start-up MobileOCT, which won the 2014 Vodafone Americas Foundation Wireless Innovation Project for its program to help residents in Southern USA detect cervical cancer.  MobileOCT’s additional ability to detect early stage melanomas (skin cancers) was even featured in a program on BBC World.

The flawed United Nations still performs some useful global functions.  It distributes satellite images to rescuers in disaster areas, and will now be enhanced with those from Israeli satellites.   The UN, together with the World Health Organization, also backed Israeli NGO Wheelchairs of Hope, designers of the world’s first affordable, child-friendly wheelchair.  (The video of the Israeli charity is in Arabic with English subtitles.)

Israel’s cup is truly running over, due to the water technology that it brings to a parched world.  California is currently experiencing a drought of near Biblical proportions and has turned to Israel to help hydrate its economy.  Trade journal Global Water Intelligence bestowed its top awards on Israel’s IDE Technologies in recognition of its water desalination plants at Carlsbad in San Diego, California and at Soreq in Israel.  In Mexico, Israel’s Desalitech is installing its Closed Circuit Desalination Reverse Osmosis technology.  Israel’s Blue I Water Technologies is installing high-precision water quality analyzers in Beijing, China and also in India and Paraguay.  Israel’s Mapal Green Energy has now been selected to install its wastewater treatment systems, by three of the largest UK water companies serving nearly half the homes in England.

Israel is a world power in renewable energy.  Israel’s Sunflower plans to construct up to five wind farms in Finland.  Israel’s Ormat Technologies will soon be generating geothermal energy in Indonesia and has had its 13th geothermal power plant inaugurated in New Zealand.

Israel’s parliament building will soon be the most environment-friendly law-making institution in the world, with 4,600 sq meters of solar panels on its roof.  Knesset Director-General Ronen Plot paraphrased a Biblical verse "Out of Zion shall go forth the law of green and renewable energy."

Newly found natural gas deposits have turned Israel into a real power player which even Turkey and Egypt have recognized by promising to purchase supplies.  Other energetic activities include Israel Corporation Power’s recent acquisition of power plants in Jamaica, Nicaragua, Colombia, Chile and Peru. And Israel has even bounced back from the defeat of its electric car project to celebrate the racetrack debut of the Aluminium-air battery developed by Israel’s Phinergy.

Finally, back to the soccer World Cup.  Israelis have bought more World Cup tickets per capita than any other country without a team in Brazil.  And Israeli soccer fans are not even downhearted that their team didn’t qualify.  Their attitude mirrors the ethos of the Jewish State that always looks to the future and knows that things will get even better.  Just the other week, for instance, Israel came top of their qualifying group and for the first time ever will be heading to the finals next month of the European under-19 Soccer Championships in Hungary.

“Come on Israel.  Champions!”

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

Seven Weeks in the Jewish State (Part 2) – Caring for the Other

This is the second part of my review of Israel’s achievements during the seven weeks I was absent from the blog scene.  If you missed the first part - medical treatments - you can view it here.  The recent Jewish festival of Shavuot (Pentacost) showed us the proper way to treat those less fortunate than us.  There were many examples of that principle in the Israeli news during those seven weeks.

The Palestinian Arab leadership has not won many friends in Israel, but when individual Palestinian Arabs need medical help, Israelis come running.  That’s just what 2nd Lt. Ben Tzanani and his IDF medical team did when they rushed to save a one-month old baby from the village of Beitin near Ramallah.  The baby began to choke whilst her sister was playing with her.  Afterwards many Beitin villagers phoned the division headquarters to express their gratitude. 

Doctors from “Save A Child’s Heart” have treated over 1500 children from the Palestinian Authority, Gaza and neighboring Arab countries at the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon.  Supporting Jerusalem-based Christian organization Shevet Achim recently wrote in detail about how much effort Israeli doctors and medical staff exerted to keep one Iraqi baby alive.  In total SACH doctors have repaired the hearts of over 3300 children from over 45 developing countries since SACH was founded in 1995.

Every week Israeli hospitals receive and treat Syrians who have been injured in the never-ending Civil War that has killed over 150,000 men, women and children.  In just one example, two severely wounded Syrians were transported to Israel and have been hospitalized in the Ziv Medical Center’s trauma unit in the city of Tzfat.  Saving Syrian lives won IDF paramedic Noga Erez the President’s Award for Excellence for her outstanding service.  What other nation would give one of their highest honors to someone who saves the lives of people from a country still technically at war with it?  Back on the border with Syria, CNN’s Nic Robertson reported on the work of Israeli doctors in the IDF field hospital on the Golan Heights.

In yet another conflict area, Israel rescued several Ukrainians wounded in civil protests.  But the high-profile case was that of Gennady Kernes, the Jewish mayor of the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv who was shot and critically injured.  After being airlifted to Israel, he eventually regained consciousness in Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center having undergone two major operations in Israel to treat the damage to his lungs, stomach, liver and spine.

You might think that Israeli doctors would be busy enough, yet Israel's chief pathologist, Dr. Chen Kugel, head of Israel's Abu Kabir Institute of Forensic Medicine, somehow found time to advise medical students at Pavol Jozef Šafárik University in Slovakia on dealing with terror victims.  Meanwhile, despite some unnecessarily nasty comments by the Turkish Prime Minister, Israel’s emergency service Magen David Adom offered assistance to the Turkish Red Crescent immediately after the explosion and fire in a coalmine in the town of Soma that killed more than 200 people.

I want to leave the medical arena briefly to highlight some amazing Israelis whom even the Jewish State’s doctors cannot (currently) restore to full strength.  Firstly, Zohar Sharon, who won the ISPS HANDA World Blind Golf Championship title for a fourth consecutive time.  Sharon lost his sight during his army service.  And there can hardly be a dry eye in the house for anyone watching this video of some very special teenagers.  For those that really want to serve their country, the Jewish State leaves no stone unturned.

Finally we return again to the subject of medicine.  Israel’s Dr. Rania Okby is excellent at her job as a specialist in maternal fetal medicine.  But her true claim to fame is that she is the first female Arab Bedouin doctor in the world.  And some people call Israel an Apartheid State!!

Israel - There is an “other” side to it.

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