YOM HAATZMAUT 5772
When Israel was founded 64 years ago, it was a barren country with no natural resources, little water, and more than half of its land a desert. The only thing the new country had going for it was the indefatigable spirit, creativity and energy of its people. Now 64 years later, Israelis have turned their country into an oasis of technology and innovation—the envy of the world. With the most start-ups per capita in the world, and the 3rd highest number of patents per head, Israel has become one of the leading players in the world of high-tech innovation, attracting international giants like Microsoft, Intel and Apple to its shores.
From health breakthroughs to technology, agriculture, the environment and the arts, the country’s innovations are transforming and enriching lives everywhere. Israel today is playing a significant role in some of the most important challenges facing our planet. Not bad for such a new country only the size of New Jersey. All this in fulfillment of the promise made to Abraham (Gen. 12:3) about his descendents: V’nivr’chu v’cha kol mishpachot ha-adama, “And through you will all the nations of the world be blessed.”
To celebrate Israel’s 64th birthday, the JTA—the Jewish Telegraphic Agency—in its Yom Haatzmaut, Israel Independence Day email this week, had a link to Israel’s No. 1 supermodel, Bar Refaeli—in what turned out to be—64 suggestive poses. Curiosity got the better of me and I clicked on the link, but I never made it through all 64. After about 30 or 40 I got the idea! It certainly wasn’t boring and it got me thinking that instead of a sermon today for Yom Haatzmaut on the serious problems Israel has in the world—especially with the nuclear proliferation of Iran, which I spoke about last week—I should speak about some of the new positive innovations coming out of Israel today. Perhaps they’re not as sexy as Bar Refaeli, but they’re even more wonderful. In fact, there is a new organization devoted to doing just that called ISRAEL21c and can be found at www.ISRAEL21c.org. I’ve been on their email list for a couple of months now and it’s great to read on-going positive news about Israel. Israel21c developed in honor of Israel’s 64th birthday, a list of Israel’s top 64 innovations that are “transforming and enriching lives across the planet.” They even made a video about it. I’ll send you the link when I send out my sermon tonight:
Let me read you this list. I know it’s somewhat long, but it is amazing and wondrous how little Israel is enriching and enhancing the lives of everyone in the world. Yes, it’s 64 items, but each one is remarkable by itself. So indulge me as I read the list:
- The PillCam is now the gold standard for intestinal visualization and is sold in more than 60 countries around the world. Just take this pill and it takes unique pictures of your insides. TIME magazine called it one of the best inventions of the year.
- ExAblate: a non-invasive, magnetic resonance-guided focused ultrasound surgery system that thermally ablates, or destroys, tumors inside the body. The device has huge potential to address a wide variety of medical problems, including diseases that currently have no treatment.
- Copaxone: now the world’s top-selling treatment for multiple sclerosis.
- Sambucol: For many people, the 1st line of defense against flu is this elderberry extract. Laboratory studies show that Sambucol is effective against human, swine and avian influenza strains. Sold all over the world.
- The ReWalk robotic exoskeleton: The paraplegic Artie Abrams got up and walked for the first time using this technology on the popular TV program Glee. It enables paraplegics to walk and climb stairs without assistance.
- WatchPAT: a miniature sleep lab that can be worn on the wrist and one finger to diagnose and identify the source of sleep problems. It allows patients to be diagnosed at home in their own beds rather than at hospital sleep clinics. Named one of the 10 best medical innovations for 2010.
- ViaDerm: a no-pain vaccination—a welcome alternative for patients who must take daily medications.
- EndoPAT: a heart-smart device that uses a fingertip test to measure cardiac health, and can even predict whether the patient will suffer a heart attack in the next 7 years.
- Brainsway developed a revolutionary painless, non-invasive deep electromagnetic stimulation device for the brain that can ease addiction, depression, autism and a range of other brain disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia.
10. Proneuron Biotechnologies: promising new therapies for acute spinal-cord injuries and a therapy for Parkinson’s disease with support from the Michael J. Fox foundation.
11. Babysense: a no-touch, no-radiation device designed to prevent crib death. The device monitors a baby’s breathing and movements through the mattress during sleep.
12. Deep Breeze: an innovative medical device that will allow COPD patients to be monitored remotely from home. Some 200 million people suffer from this progressive lung condition. It can also image, diagnose and monitor patients suffering from asthma, congestive heart failure and other conditions affecting the lungs.
13. The Emergency Bandage was designed by an Israeli military medic. It can be applied with one hand and is used to stop bleeding from hemorrhaging wounds caused by traumatic injuries in the field. In January 2011 the Emergency Bandage was reportedly instrumental in saving the life of US Representative Gabrielle Giffords.
14. A simple new diagnosis kit for antibiotic-resistant superbugs that can identify the type of bug in minutes rather than the current 5 days. Superbugs are now one of the top killers in US and European hospitals.
15. The wireless LiteTouch dental laser which is much more effective and accurate than wired connections.
16. Copper oxide fabrics to provide a range of innovative products, from an antimicrobial mask and latex gloves to use as protection from flu germs and bacteria, to socks that don’t get smelly — even if you don’t wash them — and pillowcases that help reduce wrinkles while you sleep.
17. The Disk-on-Key data storage device was launched in September 2000, and since then these small flash drives have become almost as common as the paper clip.
18. Microsoft’s 2 most popular operating systems, NT and XP, were developed primarily in Israel. Microsoft Israel announced that 13 new products are now being developed.
19. The modern commercial computer network firewall, offering vital protection to computers worldwide from the dangers of cyberspace.
20. All Instant messaging programs are built on Israel developed techonology.
21. Intel 8088 processor, the Centrino and the SandyBridge, powering millions of laptops worldwide.
22. Original cell-phone technology: Most of the technology in your mobile phone can be traced back to Israeli engineering.
23. Kindle: The Java platform inside Amazon’s Kindle was developed in Israel.
24. The E-Print 1000 was a turning point for the printing industry, enabling printers to print directly from computer files.
25. PrimeSense revolutionized interaction with digital devices by allowing them to “see” in 3D and transfer control from remote controls and joysticks to hands and body. It makes the core component in Microsoft’s Xbox and Kinect gaming systems.
26. Flash memory chips: found in Apple’s iPhone, iPad and MacBook Air, as well as in several Samsung devices.
27. Answers.com: have question? Go to this Israel developed site.
28. Waze: a mobile smartphone app that can determine where traffic is flowing or slowing used worldwide.
29. Babylon.com: the world’s official online translator with more than 100 million desktop installations in some 231 countries and is available in 75 languages.
30. Shaker has developed an award-winning virtual bar application that takes Facebook to the next level.
31. The Quicktionary: a portable pen-size scanner that can immediately translate words from other languages.
32. Powermat: just place your devices upon it and it will wirelessly recharge them without rechargers.
33. Magshoe: scans the lower body so you won’t have to take off your shoes at the airport.
34. Chip for Sony Playstation 3:
35. X-Hawk: flying car with vertical takeoffs and landings for special use in search and rescue operations with confined spaces.
36. Smart drip irrigation growing food under the most difficult arid conditions.
37. Modern Cherry Tomato:
38. Potatoes grown in hot arid climates using saline water.
39. Grow fish anywhere advanced systems: without usual pollution problems.
40. Shai Agassi: world leader in electric car systems.
41. Bright Source Energy: world leader in solar power.
42. Solar Window: let’s in light and generates solar power.
43. Gas turbine solar power station: 1st in the world.
44. Robomow: automatically mows your lawn.
45. IntelliGym: software training that significantly improves performance of athletes, security personnel, fighter pilots and medical staff.
46. Dog TV: rolled out by Time-Warner and Cox cable companies. Programming to keep dogs happy, stimulated and comfortable when they’re home alone.
47. Krav Maga self-defense system: combining many disciplines, it is in use by the FBI, the CIA, police and swat teams all over.
48. Voca People: with their white powdered faces and red lips. This ensemble of 8 a cappella singers are a huge international hit.
49. Aluminum: innovative dance and musical theatre using aluminum pipe.
50. Bat Sheva internationally acclaimed dance company.
51. Israeli TV: picked up and reworked for American audiences—with shows like Showtime’s “Homeland” and HBO’s “Treatment,” Fox’s “Traffic Light” and “The Ex List.”
52. The Power Rangers: children’s TV.
53. “Powernormal Activity: supernatural horror movie.
54. Max Brenner: specialty chocolate stores all over the world.
55. Soda Stream: home carbonation machines sold world over.
56. Epilady: revolutionized the hair removal industry.
57. Mobileye: advanced driver assisted system. Alerts drivers to potential accidents.
58. Object: 3D printer.
60. Seambiotic: turns carbon dioxide emitted by power plants into fuel.
61. Vacuum Ice Maker Technology: surprising coming from the climate of Israel.
62. Desalination Plants: world leader with 400 plants in 40 countries.
63. Afi Milk: leader in computerized milking systems.
64. AshPoopie: scoops the droppings of dogs and turns it into odorless, sterile ash in seconds.
Isn’t this absolutely amazing? Israel is a country smaller than the State of Georgia and only 64 years old. To me it’s absolutely astonishing how Israelis have improved the lives of all peoples all over the world in almost every area of life—from technology to the environment to health to food to entertainment—and that’s not including all the great accomplishments of Jews in the rest of the world. If Israel is now fulfilling the prophecy to Abraham that the world will be blessed by his descendants, perhaps the prophecy of the prophets and King David (Psalm 29:11) will now be fulfilled that Hashem oz l’amo yiteyn, “Gd will give His people strength, Hashem yivareych et amo vashalom, and “that Gd will bless his people with peace.” May the Jewish State always be a blessing to the world. She is the fulfillment of the Jewish dream of thousands of years. Am Yisrael Chai, “The People of Israel Live.” Happy 64th birthday Israel. Amen!
Rabbi Mark HillelKunis