YOM HAATZMAUT 5775
As I’ve done in the past for the week of Yom Haatzmaut, instead of speaking about the rift between Benjamin Netanyahu and Barak Obama…instead of speaking about Iran’s efforts to become a nuclear power and America’s feeble attempts to thwart it…instead of speaking about all the challenges Israel faces…I would like to focus on the positive side of what’s happening in Israel and speak of the blessing Israel is to the world in its 67th year so we can shep a little nachas as we take pride in our Jewish State.
To celebrate Israel’s 67th birthday let me share with you 6 innovations that Israel has already brought to the world and 7 innovations that are coming soon.
The 1st 3 are for California that is facing its worst drought in centuries. Israel knows about droughts. Until a few years ago, Israel’s wells seemed like they were always running dry. It’s main aquifer, was the Sea of Galilee in the Kineret which was often 10-15 feet below normal. The media constantly cautioned about conserving water. Prayer vigils were held to pray for rain at the Western Wall. Now the once perpetual Israeli water shortage appears to be mostly over. How did they do it and what advice does Israel have for California?
1. Recycling: Israeli cities recycle ¾ of their water. Israeli farms don’t just use less water than American farms, most of their water is reused. ¾ of the water that runs through sinks, showers, washing machines and even toilets in Israeli cities is recycled, treated and sent to crops across the country through specially marked purple tubes. California, by contrast, recycles only 13% of its wastewater.
2. Desalination: Israel gets much of its water now from the Mediterranean Sea, surpassing the Sea of Galilee in the Kineret as its main aquifer. 4 plants on Israel’s coast draws water from the sea, take out the salt, purify the water, and produce nearly 7 million gallons of fresh water every day. When the 5th opens this year, 75% of Israel’s municipal and industrial water will be desalinated. Israel is now building a plant in San Diego to be opened in November which will provide 50 million gallons of water per day for California.
3. Drip Irrigation: Israelis irrigate through pinpricks in hoses, not by flooding as most farmers do in California. With drip irrigation, a process pioneered in Israel 50 years ago, water seeps directly into the ground through tiny pinpricks in hoses, avoiding water loss through evaporation. If we consider that 80% of all water used in California goes to agriculture, drip irrigation alone could be a game changer.
4. Diagnosing Cancer: Cancer is the 2nd most common cause of death—accounting for nearly 1 in every 4 deaths in America. Early diagnosis makes treatment more effective. EventusDx has developed the world’s 1st blood test for breast cancer; InSightec makes non-invasive ultrasound technology that is revolutionizing tumor removal; and Real Imaging has invented a radiation-free, contact-free alternative to mammography. Now NaNose technology has developed “Gut,” a diagnostic tool to detect gastric stomach cancer from people’s distinctive “breath prints.” Currently, there is no other noninvasive tool to screen for stomach cancer.
5. RayGo: Ray Smartphone technology, originally created—by the Israeli firm RayGo—for the blind, has now been built into a steering-wheel-mounted controller to help drivers use smartphone apps on the road without looking at their handsets. In addition, it holds back notifications, pauses message playbacks and even speaks more slowly when necessary, in order to keep the driver from getting too distracted.
6. Where did I put my car keys?: Have you ever lost your smartphone? Your glasses? Your keys? Of course you have. The question is: How much time is too much time wasted to find them again? Israeli company Pixie Technology can help you pinpoint the location of your lost items within inches. Pixie Points smart tags can be affixed to keys, wallets, remotes, toys, pets, drones or just about anything. That means if your keys fell between the cushions on your couch, the Pixie app will find it.
Those were 6 current innovations. Now here are 7 innovations that are coming soon:
1. A new heart: New research at the Weizmann Institute could point to ways of renewing diseased heart cells. Most parts of our bodies renew themselves throughout our lives. However, our heart cells cease to divide shortly after birth. Trials on adult mice are proving very promising.
2. No more ADD and no more drugs: Myndlift uses neurofeedback to train the brain to focus. Co-founder Aziz Kaddan is the 22-year-old phenomenon taking Israel’s brain-tech world by storm. His app-based, wearable neurofeedback solution, coupled with specially tailored mobile games can increase attention levels in just 10 minutes without any meds like Ritalin and its negative side effects.
3. You aint seen nothing yet: The Internet of Things (IoT) is a machine-to-machine connectivity that will completely transform our lives. By 2020, it is expected that 26 billion objects will be connected to the web—not including PCs, tablets and smartphones. It will connect our vehicles, home systems that manage power consumption, smart bracelets to help parents locate children, wearables that let you and your doctor keep tabs on your health. In smart cities such as Barcelona and San Francisco, the killer app is smart parking. Israeli companies are world leaders in smart-parking technology, which manages traffic by steering drivers to empty spots via smartphones and facilitates automatic payment. 30% of city traffic is people circling around looking for parking. This machine-to-machine connectivity technology can reduce road accidents by as much as 80%.
4. Diagnosing Childhood Pneumonia: Israeli startups—RespiDX and NanoVation GS—are developing what they call a “Respimometer”—an easy way to diagnose childhood pneumonia in poorer regions. A mouth stop just under the child’s nose would be embedded with sensors to measure breathing as a way of detecting pneumonia immediately.
5. Roll up your TV: Israeli nanotechnologists have invented a protein-based material that could be made into affordable thin, transparent, and flexible screens for smartphones, computer monitors, tablets and televisions that allows for greater portability. You could just roll up your TV and put it away.
6. Drones: On January 25th, a runaway recreational drone crash-landed on the White House lawn. This week Obama apologized for a drone strike on Al Qaeda that killed 2 hostages. But drones can improve our lives and Israel is the world’s top drone exporter—inventing much of its technology. Israeli innovators are developing add-on technologies to equip drones for tasks such as aerial cinematography, traffic and weather monitoring, firefighting, search-and-rescue missions, news reporting, mapping, crop-dusting, construction-site and security surveillance, and even home package delivery.
And finally, 7. Going to pot: While medical cannabis is often used to ease pain or nausea, an Israeli biopharmaceutical company is developing medicines containing cannabinoids to treat conditions including diabetes, inflammatory diseases (like arthritis, atherosclerosis and ulcerative colitis) and cardiovascular disorders.
Surrounded by countries that have done everything possible to destroy it, the people of Israel live, Am Yisrael chai, may they continue to live and ever be a blessing to the world. Amen!
Rabbi Mark Hillel Kunis