Israel is Finally Unmasked

On the Jewish festival of Purim, we wear masks as a disguise. It reflects the Purim story in which the true nature of the events leading up to Jewish redemption from the threat of annihilation is disguised as a series of apparent coincidences. In today’s upside-down world, the positive activities of the State of Israel are mostly covered up by the International media. Using some recent examples, I’ll now remove the mask to reveal Israel’s true identity.

Israeli scientists have been responsible for many breakthroughs in cancer treatments. But you wouldn’t know this if your only news source was the British Broadcasting Corporation.  In the past few months, Israeli cures for leukemia, melanoma and prostate cancer were hidden by the BBC until protests by the Weizmann Institute forced them to interview one of the groundbreaking professors.

If the BBC was fair towards Israel, it would have praised the recent joint study by Israeli and Palestinian Arab researchers into the risk factors for B Cell Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  After all, it reported in 1999 that King Hussain of Jordan had died of the very same cancer. It should also have heralded Dr. Sarit Larisch of Haifa University who discovered ARTS (a protein that regulates normal cell death but is significantly absent in tumors) and the Israeli biotech ARTSaVIT that is developing a treatment based on her research.  And how could the Beeb have ignored another Israeli biotech, Medial EarlySign, which has developed an early-warning system to expose patients suffering from colon cancer, upper GI cancer, lung cancer, and epilepsy?

I was literally shaking with anger when a recent BBC radio broadcast didn’t even mention that the Exablate Neuro ultrasound machine for treating tremor is made by Israel’s Insightec.  The Beeb then buried the fact deep down in their report on their website.  And not a murmur that, several weeks later, Israeli doctors at Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center used Insightec’s MRI-guided ultrasound to cure a 60-year-old Palestinian Arab from Bethlehem from severe essential tremor.  Then, when paraplegic Claire Lomas completed the UK’s 13.1 mile Great North run in a ReWalk exoskeleton, the BBC and many others failed to inform anyone that ReWalk is Israeli.

I’ll now shed light on some other recent “revealing” Israeli medical breakthroughs. Surgeons at Jerusalem’s Hadassah hospital can now detect and correct abnormalities in the fetus from eight weeks after conception.  Irregular heartbeats, anemia, twins sharing placentas, congenital hernias, damaged spinal cords - Israeli doctors are saving lives before they have even begun.

It can be extremely difficult to identify compression fractures of the spine, but upload your X-ray to Israel’s Zebra Medical Vision and its new diagnostic algorithm can find it or assess your risk of getting one.  Meanwhile, Hebrew University of Jerusalem scientists have discovered that dyslexics have a shorter implicit memory than non-dyslexics. On hearing a sound repeated sometime later, dyslexics failed to recognize it.  The findings pave the way to early diagnosis and intervention.  And for those people who cannot communicate, Israel’s Medasense has developed a monitor to reveal how much pain they are suffering, allowing doctors to administer the appropriate relief.
To those for whom everything is concealed, due to Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) there is light at the end of the tunnel. Firstly, the US FDA has now approved the Israeli-developed Implantable Miniature Telescope from VisionCare. Secondly, two Israeli companies, Inomize and Nano-Retina have teamed up to build the tiny Bio-Retina, which should be revealed to the medical marketplace in 2019.   

Finally, Israel may not always see eye-to-eye with its neighbors in the Middle East, but there is no disguising who can provide the best medical treatment.  In the latest example, top Israeli eye surgeon Dr Ygal Rotenstreich of Sheba Medical Centre flew to the UK in a last-ditch attempt to save the sight of an Iraqi father-of-seven. Turkish doctors had revealed to him that Israel is at the cutting-edge of optical medicine.

HAPPY PURIM – “Ad d’Lo Yada” - Until one no longer knows. 

(Or at least until everyone knows it’s Israel.)

Funny but True

Many readers say that they are amused by some of the articles in my positive weekly Israel newsletter featuring Israeli innovations, discoveries and humanitarian activities.  Here are a few recent examples.

Israel’s Amit Goffer invented the ReWalk exoskeleton that enables paraplegics to walk upright.  Unfortunately, Amit is a quadriplegic.  After explaining repeatedly that ReWalk couldn't help him, he went on to invent UPnRide which allows him (and other quadriplegics) to move around vertically.

Students in International Space University’s Space Studies Program at Israel’s Technion Institute had a group selfie photo taken. Nothing strange there, I hear you say, but they arranged for the photo to be taken from a height of 520 kilometers by the EROS-B satellite, built by Israel Aerospace Industries and operated by Israel’s ImageSat International.

Many people cannot bear to be without Wi-Fi for a moment – even whilst on holiday.  So Hornblower Niagara Cruises (the official Canadian Tour Boat operator in Niagara Falls) has deployed the FiberinMotion® mobility solution from Israel’s RADWIN to provide high-speed wireless connectivity onboard its boats.  So now you can “surf” (the Internet) from the edge of the most powerful waterfall in North America.

Israel’s Skitza Print has produced a concrete bench from a paper mold. Skitza used their Israeli Highcon Euclid digital cutting machine to produce a 4000-layer mold from recycled paper, making a spectacular two-meter bench (entitled Morpheus) using Israeli Eco-concrete.  The bench was exhibited in Taipei until mid-August.

Of course there are many bitter-sweet examples of Israeli humanitarian activities.  These include treating wounded Syrians (often by female Israeli medics) and repairing the hearts of children from Arab countries, Gaza and the Palestinian Authority.  But the real chutzpa is when relatives of Hamas terrorist leaders and PA “No co-operation with the Occupation” officials choose to have medical treatment in Israeli hospitals.

It gets little publicity, but contrary to the Arab boycott, Israel performs a vital function to Arab states in facilitating the importing of goods from Europe.  Israel has just built a railway line from Haifa to the Jordanian border to handle this trade - the previous route through Syria is no longer available for obvious reasons.  Trade between Israel and Jordan has increased by 65% since 2010.  Some say that even migratory birds may have changed their route to go via Israel after Saddam Hussain’s army set fire to the Kuwaiti oil wells and caused the largest oil spill in history!

On that subject, Israel's Wildlife Hospital has opened the first blood bank in the world for birds that arrive injured to the country during migration.  Hospital veterinarians realized that they could better treat the birds if they had a blood bank for them because, much like humans, birds have different blood types.

The international media enjoys attacking the Jewish State for not accepting more African Muslim migrants.  Yet hundreds of Eritrean asylum-seekers marched in Tel Aviv in support of a UN probe into the Eritrean regime, considered one of the world's most repressive.  One typical demonstrator said, "for a march like this one we would already be dead in Eritrea."

Whilst South Africa officially gives Israel the “cold shoulder”, in reality it has been enlisting Israel’s help with building four power plants, combating drought, purifying polluted water, detecting viruses in blood tests, saving trapped miners, installing Wi-Fi on buses, training farmers and medical teams and broadcasting the Africa Cup of Nations.  Imagine the amount of trade when they stop their “boycott”!

Some countries in the European Union have also not been overly friendly to Israel on the political front recently.  So it was a nice to hear that the Belgium city of Antwerp greeted Israeli President Reuven Rivlin with the Israeli national anthem “Hatikvah” (The Hope) played on the bells of the city cathedral.

Please take a look at the peppers sold in Europe’s supermarkets during January and February.  If they are marked “Dutch Peppers”, don’t believe the labels.  They will have actually been grown in greenhouses in the Arava desert beside the Dead Sea and then exported to Holland.  European peppers cannot be propagated commercially in the middle of the Northern Hemisphere’s winter due to the lack of sunshine.  Ironically, Yasser Arafat was offered part of the Arava desert in a land swap peace deal in 2000 but rejected it, saying that the land was unusable!

Finally, one particular amusing story is about Israel's Mapal Green that purifies the wastewater of nearly 50% of all the households in England.  It is even now used by Thames Water Authority, which once boycotted Israel products because it had "many and valued Arab clients".  So I tell all BDS supporters living in or visiting the UK that they must NEVER flush their toilet in case they inadvertently promote Israeli technology.  My wife wrote a letter about this in the Jerusalem Post.  The Letters' Editor decided to give it the title "Go with the flow"!

Keep smiling – Israel is making the world a happier place.

Michael Ordman writes a free weekly newsletter containing positive news stories about Israel.
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