Boycotting Israel is Academic Nonsense

Last week we saw another suicidal attempt by so-called “academics” to sever themselves from the Jewish State. The real world, however, knows the true value of Israel’s life-enhancing innovations.

Whilst the American Studies Association was voting itself into oblivion, Israel’s VBL Therapeutics announced the development of the first of a new class of autoimmune disease medicines called Lecinoxoids.  ASA pro-boycott members must therefore be hoping that they are all immune from the likes of Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriasis, and Inflammatory Bowel Disease.  It is also crazy for the “brainy” scholars at the ASA to ignore Israel’s groundbreaking neuroscience discoveries.  In contrast, Israel’s Brain Technologies has just signed a partnership research agreement with four US organizations with particular emphasis on Alzheimer's disease.

It is obvious that highbrow ASA philosophers never look out of their ivory towers at the likes of Israel’s Circ MedTech, which has just been selected by the United Nations and the Rwandan government to help stop the spread of AIDS / HIV in the African country.  ASA eyes must also be so tightly shut that they cannot see the image enhancement device developed by Israel’s MobileOCT that could prevent up to a quarter of a million women from dying of cervical cancer every year.

I hope that no ASA hypocrites are still sneakily using their Israeli-powered smartphones and computers.  I trust that they were all logged off when Keepod presented its Israeli-developed operating system at the Center for Global Dialogue and Cooperation in Vienna.  Keepod runs from any USB drive, eliminating dependency on one physical computer. Keepod’s Unite project has the potential to provide access to computers and the Internet to 5 billion people.  Those “superior beings” in the ASA Executive apparently cannot envisage anyone of lesser ability.  So they must have been totally immobilized on hearing about Accelerating Inclusion in Israel (A3i) - the first start-up accelerator for hi-tech and social ventures that helps people with disabilities become entrepreneurs.

We cannot expect any straight talking from anti-Israel ASA members.  They would only be able to display crooked smiles if you spoke to them about the orthodontic system developed by Israeli Aerodentis that straightens the teeth during sleep, through the application of gentle pulsating force.  And they could only offer a limp response when presented with Israel’s Medic Shoes that relieve the foot pain common in those suffering from diabetes.

I would describe the ASA members that voted to boycott Israel as “hospital cases”.  They should be collected immediately by an IDF medical team, such as the one that rescued a 10-year-old Palestinian Arab boy whose head was cut open following a car accident.  They should be transported to the Western Galilee Hospital or Ziv Medical Center in northern Israel to watch as Israel treats (free of charge) the latest group of Syrians wounded in their civil war.  Alternatively, rush them to Sheba Medical Center to see Israeli doctors operate on a 4-year-old Syrian boy born with reversed ventricles. His Syrian father had a much more intelligent reaction than the ASA when he said, “I am happy to have met this country”.

We should put ASA BDS-ers onto one of the hundreds of Israeli trucks that delivered 1.2 million liters of diesel into Gaza to restart its power station.  And then stand them just outside the Hamas-controlled mini-state to watch as terrorists shoot rockets at Israeli civilians in gratitude.  We should parachute drop ASA BDS supporters into the Philippines to join Israel’s RADWIN which has just donated equipment to help re-establish communications networks in areas devastated by Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda).  Personally, I would have liked to shoot ASA BDS supporters into space on the Gaia project’s European Space Agency rocket.  They would then be the first to hear about the new planets soon to be discovered by the Israeli scientists working on the project.

But perhaps we should be generous and mindful that when trying to understand the Jewish State, anti-Israel members of the ASA suffer from a complete mental block.  To that end, I suggest we send in AcousticEye.  The Israeli pipeline diagnostic company gave an impressive demonstration at Tel Aviv’s recent WATEC water technology conference, of its unique system to detect defects, cracks, holes and blockages.

My quote of the week comes from the UK’s leading travel magazine, Condé Nast Traveller, which spotlighted Tel Aviv recently in its “Insider Tips” section.  It highlights “Tel Aviv’s creative energy and joie de vivre”. “Such positive energy is rare to find, and a pure joy to experience.” And in the next sentence it sounded a message that could be waved in front of all superficial anti-Israel academics. “This is a place where ideas are transformed into reality - where people enact their dreams rather than just talking about them.”

Now that is intelligent thinking!

Michael Ordman writes a free weekly newsletter containing positive news stories about Israel.
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on facebook, twitter, Google+ etc. where possible.  Many thanks. 

Israel Storms Ahead

Thankfully Israel’s recent cold weather storm has subsided, leaving the country to get back to normal - whatever “normal” means.  Because no amount of snow and ice can put a freeze on the latest deluge of the Jewish State’s medical, scientific and social achievements.

Scientists at Hadassah Medical Center can now perform lightning fast checks on women worried about the risk of genetic breast cancer.  They have developed a simple blood test for the presence of gene mutations BRCA1 and BRCA2 that involves gene expression profiling – far quicker, cheaper and more accurate than the previous method of full gene sequencing.  Meanwhile, Israel Technion scientists have discovered that waves of low-power laser light produce a much faster analysis of an individual’s genome.

Israeli research into brain disease has the potential to rescue the world from an impending avalanche of dementia sufferers. This debilitating condition is set to treble globally by 2050, which is why Israeli scientists were invited to attend the G8 Dementia Summit in London. The G8 has also established a taskforce on Social Impact Investment, to which the Israeli organization Social Finance Israel presented an initiative for tackling type-2 diabetes.  It comprises Social Impact Bonds that invest in companies tackling social or medical issues and then governments pay dividends based on results.

The Jewish State was rewarded for its flood of international scientific research contributions when Israel became the first and only non-Euro member to be elected to the prestigious CERN European nuclear physics council. Now, if they wish, Israeli scientists can conduct research into electrical storms using the longest subatomic particle accelerator in the world.  In comparison, the Israeli-developed Objet30 OrthoDesk 3D printer is tiny, but the torrent of digital dentistry products that can flow from it is simply jaw dropping.  Small dental labs can now produce stone models, orthodontic appliances, delivery and positioning trays, retainers and surgical guides, which previously could only be manufactured by large laboratories.

There is a constant ebb and flow in diplomatic contacts between Israel and the Arab world.  There was a moderate thaw in relations when the Jordan-based SESAME scientific research project chose Professor Eliezer Rabinovici of Jerusalem's Hebrew University as its new vice president.  The media then positively gushed with delight when Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority agreed to build a pipeline from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea. The initiative will produce millions of cubic meters of drinking water for the region, replenish the critically dwindling Dead Sea and generate hydroelectric power.  There was another upsurge in relations when Israel’s Technion received a cascade of applications from thousands of students from Arab countries, wanting to enroll in its new online nanotechnology course.

Predicting the weather is extremely difficult. Israel, however, has some unique knowledge about other high-pressure systems. Israeli start-up GreenSpense’s “no-gas” eco-friendly aerosol won 1st place in the Chemistry & Advanced Materials category at the International Cleantech Open Ideas Competition in San Francisco, the “Oscar” of clean-technology awards. Meanwhile, the UK Daily Mail’s travel editor praised El Al’s method of dealing with the pressure to get airline passengers checked quickly and securely onto flights.  “Maybe it's time to ditch the security scanner and actually talk to people at works for El Al”, he wrote.  The following video also sums it up cold and crisply.

The wind is certainly back in the sails of Israeli air travelers.  Weekly flights between Tel Aviv and Beijing have just been increased from three to fourteen to cater for the surge in business demand.  Tourists and commercial fliers will appreciate the news that UK low-cost airline easyJet is introducing three new routes to and from Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport.  They are London Gatwick, Milan Malpensa and Berlin. 

Now that the snowstorm has abated, Israel can offer a warm welcome to its winter visitors.  The International Winter Soccer Tournament for Youths will be held at Netanya’s new 13,800-capacity stadium. Teams from Serbia, Germany, Moldova and (of course) Israel will participate and entrance is free of charge.  And as the sun comes out again, Israelis can look forward to the return of Canada’s Cirque du Soleil to warm their hearts this August or maybe “blow them away” with its award-winning production "Quidam".

Finally, 11-year-old Uriel Wang from Jerusalem has been under the weather following two bone marrow transplants to try to cure his leukemia.  The sun came out for him, however, thanks to the Jerusalem Big Blue Lions football team, who gave Uriel the opportunity of achieving his dream to play for the team. Just watch as he thunders in like a tornado to score a blizzard of a touchdown - with just a little help from both sides.

Hopefully only blue skies from now on.

Michael Ordman writes a free weekly newsletter containing positive news stories about Israel.
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So where is Israel exactly?

Locating tiny Israel on a world map can be a difficult exercise. Many people would even be uncertain as to which continent Israel belongs to.  One thing you can be sure of, however, is that you will find Israelis all over the world providing help to millions with innovative products and development aid.

I will start in the medical arena where CNN recently reported that the “robotic trousers” from Israel’s ReWalk are now helping paraplegics to walk at 23 treatment centers across the United States.  Next, following the BBC’s program about Israel’s InSightec curing tremor due to brain defects, InSightec has now revealed that a major UK hospital has bought the company’s ExAblate MRI focused ultrasound device to non-invasively remove uterine fibroids.

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem has just finished running a conference to analyze how the Jews of pre-State Palestine eliminated malaria.  Lessons learned could help remove the scourge of malaria prevalent currently in Africa.  Israel is also working to develop malaria treatments and innovative methods to kill the mosquitoes that spread the virus.

Due to Arab belligerence, the United Nations has never been able to place Israel in its rightful geographic group.  But last week, the UN passed an Israeli-sponsored resolution dedicated to sustainable agricultural advancements for developing countries.  138 countries voted “Yes” whilst all the Arab states abstained.  An example of Israel’s earth-shattering agro-tech companies is Rootility, which has a root-growing platform that can increase world crop yields substantially.  It was the star of Israel’s recent AgriVest agricultural conference. In a separate development Ben-Gurion University announced that it is establishing a center for excellence on fertile land erosion.

Israel recently has received world recognition for its humanitarian efforts.  On its Northern border, Israel has been sending water and baby food to besieged Syrian villages.  In addition to bringing injured Syrians into Israeli hospitals for treatment, the IDF has also been using its groundbreaking innovation of freeze-dried plasma in its field hospitals to save wounded Syrians from critical blood loss. Meanwhile, Israel’s IsraAID delegation continues to provide relief to typhoon victims in the Philippines. The team is dealing with trauma and physical health problems, extending its role as other countries pull out.

Last week three Israeli companies separately announced large contracts with countries on the American continent.  Israel’s Ormat Industries is to build and operate the first-ever geothermal power plant in Honduras, producing 18-megawatts of renewable energy from heat sources deep below the Earth’s surface.  In Peru, Kallpa Generaction, a subsidiary of Israel Corporation, has been awarded the Peruvian government tender to build a 593MW dual-fuel power station.  The agreement is for 20 years and worth $1 billion.  Finally, Israel’s national water carrier Mekorot has signed an agreement with Mexico to help purify and protect the groundwater in Mexican aquifers.

Israeli technology received global attention when Eldad Farkash of Israel’s SiSense won a top prize at the World Technology Awards. Farkash has invented software that allows business users to analyze vast amounts of data at huge speeds using minimal hardware.  Hungry multinational company Apple Inc swallowed yet another bite of Israeli hi-tech when it paid $350 million for Tel Aviv-based PrimeSense, whose revolutionary gesture recognition technology is embedded in Microsoft’s Kinect running on Xbox 360 game consoles.

On the international stage, the Jewish State was recognized for its human rights when the Women in Parliament Global Forum awarded Israel the prize for progress at the European Parliament in Brussels. According to the OECD, Israel is among a minority of 9 percent of developed countries with gender-sensitive institutions in the seat of government.  And Japan’s Cultural Institute awarded Professor Ben-Ami Shillony of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem its annual prize for promoting the understanding between cultures.  Professor Shillony’s book “The Secret of Japan’s Strength” was selected ahead of 74 other works in Japanese.

Finally, proof that perception of Israel changes dramatically for the better when people see the Jewish State close up.  A survey of easyJet passengers from the UK showed that 65 percent of first-time tourists had improved their view of the Jewish State following their visit.  And 82 percent would recommend it to others as a holiday destination.

So if your friends don’t know where Israel is, persuade them to come here and find it.

Michael Ordman writes a free weekly newsletter containing positive news stories about Israel.
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Another Week of Miracles

The Jewish festival of Hanukah recalls two miracles that occurred over two millennia ago – the victory of the Maccabees over the Greek-Syrian superpower and the single flask of pure oil that burned for eight days in the Temple.  In our present time (as regular readers of this blog will know) miracles occur on a daily basis in the Jewish State.

Israel’s life-changing medical innovations have become almost commonplace. It was miraculous, though, that the BBC decided to feature InSightec’s ExAblate non-invasive focused ultrasound treatment curing a Parkinson’s sufferer of essential tremor.  In the whole episode, however, the flawed broadcaster managed to avoid naming the developer of the breakthrough equipment or the fact that it was Israeli.  The Jerusalem Post gave appropriate credit, however, when doctors at Haifa’s Rambam hospital used the same system to cure the first Israeli of the debilitating tremor.

At this point I must include the following Hanukah miracles involving two more Israeli patients.  Blinded in a bomb attack by Gaza terrorists last month, 2nd Lieutenant Ahiya Klein has recovered enough sight in his left eye to return home and light Hanukah candles.  And, two-year-old Avigail Ben-Tzion has been discharged from hospital after suffering serious head injuries when Arab thugs threw rocks at her family’s car in Jerusalem.

Anyone who has seen incidences of metatarsus adductus or metatarsus varus will think it is a miracle that these deformities in the feet of infants can be cured in just six weeks simply by them wearing the Israeli-developed UNFO foot brace. The device is worn below the ankle and is far more effective, safer, and less stressful than a cast or full leg braces.  Those suffering from dementia (and their families) will hope that miracle cures will emerge from the research being carried out at Ben-Gurion University into the impact of mitochondria on memory and brain disorders.  A $1 million German-Israel Project-Cooperation grant will certainly boost these prospects.  And would you believe that cannabis / marijuana is the latest miracle drug?  Hot on the heels of its success in treating the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis, scientists at Tel Aviv University and Kfar Saba’s Meir Hospital have had similar results with those suffering from Crohns’ disease. In some patients, the disease even went into remission.

Israeli doctors and humanitarian aid teams are the instruments of miraculous work being performed all over the world.  IsraAid’s workers and Israeli hospitals continue to save Syrian lives and this time, the BBC had to mention Israel’s name when it reported on the phenomenon. The UK’s Sunday Telegraph heralded the work of Israel’s emergency service Magen David Adom both nationally and globally. Meanwhile, the 148-member IDF medical team in the Philippines returned to Israel to celebrate Hanukah, having treated over 2600 patients, delivered 36 babies and rebuilt a school following Typhoon Haiyan.

It will be a miracle if the world can continue to feed itself throughout this century, but if it succeeds then Israeli technology will be one of the key reasons.  Israel’s advanced precision farming techniques, water optimization, robotics, sensor driven technology and environmentally friendly agrochemicals are all currently on display at the 2nd annual Agrivest Conference at the Eretz Israel Museum, Tel-Aviv.  Simultaneously, at the Warsaw Climate Change Conference, Israel’s Ministry of Economy presented a database of the Israeli companies that offer “adaptation” technologies. The companies address climate, agriculture, waste, “green” building materials and crisis management.

The world will also need the “miracle” of Israeli technology to avoid running out of water for drinking and agriculture.  Even before Typhoon Haiyan struck, Israel’s water management company Miya saved 700 million liters of water a day in the Philippine capital of Manila – an achievement for which it won the International Water Association’s Project Innovation Award.  Israel’s national water carrier Mekorot is working with British firms both in the UK and globally.  And despite the EU refusal to help fund joint Israeli-PA projects, Israeli water treatment company Mapal Green Energy is building a pilot reclamation system in the Palestinian Arab village of Uja, near Jericho that will recycle domestic sewage and water for use in agriculture.

The miracle of Israel and its ethos can be summed up in the music and lyrics of Arik Einstein, Israel’s most popular singer and songwriter.  Despite his death last week, one of his many enduring songs “Ani v’Ata Neshaneh et Ha’olam” (Me and You will Change the World) will continue to inspire Israelis.

The return of the Jewish people to its land is certainly the greatest miracle of modern times. Two recent events emphasize the link between the modern Jewish State and its historical roots.  Firstly, archaeologists have uncovered a stone altar that provides the first physical evidence that the ancient city of Shiloh (in Judea and Samaria) was a religious center even before the First Temple was built in Jerusalem.  But the journey of Tony Pina’s family is even more poignant.  Following exile to Babylon and later emigration via Spain to Majorca, the Pina family was forced to convert to Christianity.  But for 500 years Tony’s ancestors practiced Judaism secretly, culminating in Tony’s return to his roots in Jerusalem, defying history, logic and the impossible.

Israel’s light is eternal - and that’s the real miracle.

Michael Ordman writes a free weekly newsletter containing Good News stories about Israel.
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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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Israel is the Key to Life

World leaders should let Israel concentrate on its mission of providing technology to save lives rather than trying to impose suicidal political deals on our tiny country.  Last week’s positive news from the Jewish State contained a record number of Israeli initiatives and innovations with the potential to save billions of lives.

Arik Dayan, CEO of Israel’s Amiad Water Systems, explained that Israel’s wastewater recycling expertise is essential in order to increase crop yields by 50% within two decades and feed the 8.3 billion people who will inhabit the world.  His exact words were “Filtration will ensure that life as we know it continues.”  

Two other Israeli companies were simultaneously contributing their vital efforts to achieve this goal.  Israeli drip-irrigation pioneer Netafim is leading the United Nations FIGARO project - an international consortium to develop new precision irrigation management technologies to increase water availability for Europe’s water-intensive crops. Meanwhile, several Dutch water and paper industry companies are about to test the groundbreaking wastewater recycling system from Israel’s Applied CleanTech, which is planned to be implemented across the Netherlands and provide huge environmental benefits.

Europe’s recognition of Israeli water technology continued when the French Ministry of Agriculture awarded the National Order of Agricultural Merit to Professor Pedro Berliner of Ben Gurion University for his research into agro-hydrology in desert regions.  Then visitors came from around the world to Tel Aviv in order to see Israeli innovations first hand at The Water Technology and Environment Control (WATEC) Exhibition and Conference.  There was much interest in Israel’s Curapipe, which showcased its Trenchless Automated Leakage Repair (TALR) Solution.  No need anymore to dig up the street to mend a leaky mains water pipe.

Israel reacts quickly, however, to disasters caused by too much water.  A lead IDF team has already left Israel for the Philippines, which was hit by a devastating typhoon over the weekend.  The IDF Home Front Command delegation included experts in the fields of search, rescue and medicine.  IsraAID is also sending a relief team.  The typhoon has also reached Vietnam, which will thank the timely agreement to establish a joint agriculture research and development fund and free-trade accord with the Jewish State.

Israel’s life-giving medical news last week was exceptional – yet again!  Two contrasting new Israeli medical devices will change the lives of patients and surgeons.  The most dangerous time for diabetics is when they are asleep as sudden drops in blood-sugar levels can lead to a life-threatening hypoglycemic event.  The non-invasive Hypo-Sense watch from Israel’s Night-Sense will wake the sleeper well in advance as it can detect problems with pulse and heart activity by analyzing subtle changes in the movement of the hand.  But “life as we know it, Mr Spock” will surely change forever thanks to the amazing 3-D medical holograms produced by Israel’s RealView Imaging. Its interactive visualization holographic system allows physicians to work with the patients’ true anatomy appearing as precise volumetric holograms floating in mid-air.  The system was demonstrated at the world’s largest cardiovascular conference TCT-25 in San Francisco.

After that, just imagine what advances in Israeli medicine will emerge thanks to a $50 million donation from Nancy and Stephen Grand to Weizmann’s Israel National Center for Personalized Medicine.  The INCPM focuses on genomics, protein profiling, bioinformatics, and treatment discovery to prevent, diagnose, and treat disease.  But let’s not forget that Israeli medics save lives every day.  In one case last week, United Hatzalah volunteer medic Itzik Hillel rescued a one-month-old baby girl who had been left in a hot car. He used a device called ResQme that shatters the car window without causing any risk to the child. Miraculously, the device had been distributed to the Hatzalah medics only the night before.

There’s just enough space left to mention that one of the Syrians rushed to Israel’s Ziv Medical Center in Safed last week gave birth.  The 20-year-old woman was brought to the hospital in active labor by the IDF during the night from a village near Kuneitra, which was under Syrian military curfew with no access to a Syrian hospital.  The hospital also treated three Syrians with shrapnel wounds.  Meanwhile, Arab-Israeli Imad Younis relates how he founded Alpha Omega in Nazareth in 1993 thanks to funding from Israel’s Chief Scientist program.  Today Alpha Omega employs Moslems, Christians and Jews and ships its life-saving brain surgical guidance systems to 500 hospitals and laboratories across the world. 

Finally, one Israeli has even proved that there is life after death.  Five years ago, in an explosion in Gaza, newlywed Aharon Karov was momentarily declared dead. Now he’s raising money for OneFamily Fund, the organization that helped him get back on his feet. He has just completed the New York Marathon in 4hrs 14min 31sec.

Just one week in the “life” of the Jewish State.

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

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Israel through the Ages

This week I am focusing on how Israeli technology, innovations and humanitarian work touches the lives of young and old and everyone in between.

A new report published by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics states that the average life expectancy in Israel, has increased by 2.6 years over the last decade.  Israeli males can now expect to live to the age of 80 and females to 82.6 - both being two years longer than the OECD average.  Almost every day there is news of another Israeli treatment that promises to extend life even further.
Cancer is now the biggest threat to longevity.  The IceSense3 tumor-freezing technology from Israel’s IceCure is already destroying breast cancer and clinical trials will test if this can be extended to lung cancer tumors  New treatments for blood clots and strokes will also save millions of lives, so we eagerly await the outcome of new Phase II tests of THR-18 from Israel’s D-Pharm.  In a groundbreaking development, scientists at Israel’s Weizmann Institute have effectively reversed time by being the first in the world to transform adult cells into the earliest form of stem cells.  Stem cells have been re-engineered previously but those were limited to be specific to certain parts of the body.  The new Israeli stem cells have been completely “reset” and have the potential to be grown into any organ whatsoever.
The “age of innovation” makes it possible to manage patients’ health more effectively by using technology such as digitized health records and distance medicine.  These were among many solutions discussed at the Mobile Health Israel Conference in Tel Aviv.  One innovation in this space is the Tyto, a personal diagnosis device that can gather information straight from a patient’s mouth and throat, eyes, ears, heart, lungs, and skin. It includes a camera and microphone to take measurements, uploading the results to a doctor or health management organization.
Wounded Syrians of all ages have been brought to Israeli hospitals for treatment.  Ziv Medical Center in Safed treated a 9-year-old boy injured in his eyes as the result of an explosion.  Also two Syrians were brought to Western Galilee Hospital in Nahariya in moderate and critical condition, with head, chest and limb injuries.  Also in the Galilee, Israelis are fostering coexistence between young Arab and Jewish citizens. Nazareth is to be the site of a new campus of Texas A&M University to be known as the "Peace University".  Meanwhile, Israel’s Technion is a key member of the iPodia Alliance, which is implementing a new age of learning.   This new video describes the aims of “Classrooms without borders” – i.e. learning together for a better world.
Israel is full of young talent.  One of the latest innovations from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has just been commercialized.  It is a clay-based mineral developed by Dr Yael Mishael.  The mineral is modified with polymers to absorb organic polluting chemicals and is even better than active carbon.  Multinational companies have been quick to recognize Israeli business opportunities.  Facebook’s Vice President Nicola Mendelsohn told Israel’s President Peres, “It was a momentous decision for Facebook to open its first Research & Development center outside the US.  We chose Israel in the knowledge that the best talent is found here.”  AOL is also hiring employees for its Israeli development center. And IKEA is assembling its 3rd Israeli site, near Haifa.  No wonder Israel’s unemployment rate fell again to 6.1% in the third quarter, from 6.8% in the second quarter.  Participation in the workforce went up, as did the percentage of full-time employees.
Even the international celebrities visiting Israel recently crossed the age spectrum, comprising Rihanna, Paula Abdul and the ageless Tom Jones who treated the baby-boomers in the audience to a rendition of  “My Yiddishe Momme” during his two concerts at the Nokia Arena in Tel Aviv.
Rounding off our journey through the ages, thousands of Ethiopian Jews gathered in Israel’s capital, Jerusalem, last week to celebrate the festival of Sigd that links their historical connection to the Jewish State.  The Biblical holiday was originally observed in Ethiopia 50 days after Yom Kippur to repent for sins, pray for their return to Jerusalem, the coming of the Messiah and a Third Temple.  On a lighter note, an Israeli entrepreneur has conceived an original and entertaining use of our heritage to attract young and old. Grant Crankshaw is using Crowdfunding to raise funds to build a Bible-themed mini-golf park in Raanana.  You apply for discounted tickets and your contribution is only collected if the campaign reaches its investment target.
Finally, in a young, modern State it is recommended to listen to those wise old heads that have had an excellent track record.  Aged 78, Dr. Eli Fischer doesn’t plan to retire any time soon. He is a scientist, successful industrialist, philanthropist and head of the international “Dr Fischer” brand. Having just published his autobiography, he now wants to do more in the area of anti-aging. His most important tip - “Do not stand still. You will learn all the time and even if things look pretty good, still strive to improve.”
Timeless advice that we should all follow – whatever our age.
Michael Ordman writes a free weekly newsletter containing Good News stories about Israel.
For a free subscription, email a request to

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.
For a free subscription, email a request to

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.
For a free subscription, email a request to