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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