Without leaving airport terminals to avoid quarantine, Israeli volunteer organ courier travels the world saving lives
By David E. Kaplan
In every moment of darkness, it seems, there are countless moments of light. Time and again, individuals, communities and organizations have demonstrated that the direst situations tend to bring out the best in people. Literally illuminating this in the ‘Age of Corona’ is Omri Nahmias’ article in The Jerusalem Post (April 13) “The Israeli Who Never Leaves Ben-Gurion Airport”. Well, not quite – he does leave but mostly to other airports.
Of all the endless articles on Corona, Omri’s one resonated the most – I read it and then again three times!
While people the world over are rightly preoccupied with the health and wellbeing of themselves, a 47-year-old Israeli family man remains committed to the lives of people he does not even know. Mishel Zrian is a volunteer organ courier for awaiting recipients; whose lives are dependent on such organs arriving “on time”.
He has been volunteering for 20 years mostly transporting bone marrow to patients across the globe.
Corona now complicates the process and procedure.
When Mishel’s employer told him last month that he was about to be furloughed until the end of April because of countries’ policies of lockdown and isolation, Mishel thought about the lives at stake and decided to take his volunteering work to the next level and “do it full time.”
But with “full time” came immense complications, inconveniences and personal sacrifices like not seeing his wife and children.
Since that fateful decision, he has landed in Israel five times but never left his country’s airport in order to avoid the mandatory 14-day quarantine!
Explaining to local media, Mishel says he has an agreement with the Israel Airports Authority that he is permitted to stay at the airport lounge “until I need to get back to carry the next bone marrow delivery. Sometimes, I can land in Israel from New York at 5.00 p.m., and by 10.00pm be on a flight in the opposite direction.”
This type of selfless travel during a global life-threatening pandemic is proving to be hugely challenging but does not deter the intrepid volunteer.
Something to chew on
One of the many challenges is finding the time to eat – something most folks take for granted.
For this organ courier during Corona, “It’s hard to find an open restaurant when you are traveling,” he explains. “If I’m at the airport and I see an open place, I will eat chicken at ten in the morning. Why? Because I don’t know when the next time will be to eat.”
In the hotels, “the situation is odd as well,” he continues. “Rooms are not always clean because of different guidelines regarding staff work, and if you need a towel or shampoo, you need to go down to the reception and ask for it. I have been in hotels with no breakfast or even coffee.” It is not uncommon for Mishel, he says:
“for me to travel 24 hours without eating!”
But the main challenge, he said, is getting insurance cover.
“I couldn’t find anyone who would allow me to take out an insurance policy for the US,” he said. “I am worried about the possibility that I will get sick; so I do my best to practice social distancing while traveling.”
Bracha Zisser, founder and director of Ezer Mizion Bone MarrowDonor Registry and Collection Center, told the Post that before the coronavirus outbreak, hospitals around the world used to send a courier to pick up the bone marrow.
“But things got complicated in the past few weeks. It is hard to deliver the bone marrow and to allow couriers to enter the country. So we are now working with Royale – a courier company with whom Mishel is volunteering and with El Al – that are helping us with no cost, in full volunteering,” she said. “They understand that it is about saving lives.”
Zisser revealed that in March 2020, Ezer Mizion was able to deliver 26 bone marrow donations:
– 14 to EU countries
– 10 to the US
– 1 to Argentina
– 1 to Panama.
Mishel says that despite all the challenges, he is determined to keep traveling because he knows that his work saves lives.
“The hardest part is to land in Israel without seeing my family. I have a wife and two children. Fortunately, they are supporting me.”
Mishel Zrian hails from the Israeli city of Petah Tikva, which aptly translates from the Hebrew: “Opening of Hope”.
Mishel does his city proud by living up to its name.
In the vanguard of cutting-edge fiber technologies, Argaman is protecting lives
By Gina Raphael
Outside of my family and business, my entire life’s focus has been working on behalf of the State of Israel. Each year, I look forward to a summer adventure focusing on philanthropic projects and visiting friends, bringing this mission to life. Memories of my summer adventures live on through pictures on Facebook but also through lives changed and bridges built.
As Chair of the Women’s International Zionist Organization(WIZO) in Los Angeles, I am so honored to lead an amazing movement of Chaverot working on behalf of women and families in Israel. We are proud of our Women’s Shelters, Day Care Centers, Youth Villages, after school programs focused on Ethiopian Youth and so much more. It has also been a gift to work with and build connections between elected officials in California and our City of Beverly Hills with the State of Israel.
While my love for Israel has been expressed through philanthropic and leadership opportunities, we have continually pursued ways to carry products at Mickey Fine – our small chain of pharmacies – that are made in Israel. The goal has been to bring Israel to life in our stores in Beverly Hills not just through our love of the country but by bringing unique Israeli products into our stores. Yes, there has been the occasional skin care, gift item and food product; and of course, the Israeli pharma company Teva, through our distributor McKesson Pharmaceuticals has been critical in our ongoing inventory.
What brought us this long-sought business connection to Israel from a commercial perspective has ironically been the Covid-19 pandemic. While Teva Pharmaceuticals has been an essential part of fighting the virus with its hydroxychloroquine product, our strongest connection ever has come from a leader in the scientific break-throughs, Argaman Technologies, their amazing founder, Jeff Gabbay and their BioBlocX Reusable Face Mask. Seeking a way to better protect our family, team and community, we literally sought out Argaman to bring a fresh perspective to the traditional face mask in this most challenging of times.
Originally pursuing unique materials to cure hospital infections and better deliver cancer therapies, Argaman utilized revolutionary new applications that have been modified in face masks to battle the current pandemic. The textiles have been tested on RNA viruses like bird flu and swine flu and have been applied to the current Corona virus. The cotton fiber of the mask is infused with compounds that are bad for bacteria but benign for humans. They use ultrasonic waves that are used to attach to the fibers.
According to Jeff Gabbay, President & Chief Technology Officer of Argaman, “the virus will wane but we have to make sure while the virus slows down that we are proactive and do what we can now to protect ourselves in the event there will be a second wave; only we don’t know when. It means acting now to avoid the disorganization and anxiety we all suffered with this wave.”
With mandatory usage of face masks in Los Angeles and in other cities as well, finding a reusable mask that provides a super level of protection became critical. In just a few short weeks, we have placed several orders and brought face masks for local and customers across the country. With the uncertainty of the virus, the belief in mighty Israel and brilliant Argaman to protect us is comforting at every level. Building distribution of this product line has been a top priority for us at Mickey Fine with the double mitzvah of protecting people while highlighting the innovation that Israel brings to the world.
While I am optimistic that my annual summer Israel adventure to Jerusalem will take place this August to work on behalf of philanthropic projects in Israel and finally meet my new friend Jeff Gabbay, I know that the world in which we live will remain forever changed. Most likely face masks will become a standard part of what we put in our purse and take on the plane. But we are also more confident that Israel is providing us that extra protection every day in our stores and for the community.
In order to put up “The good Fight” we must boost our Immune System
By Lionel H. Phillips
In a 2012 article to understand the link between pandemics and what humans are doing to nature, disease ecologist and the president of EcoHealth, Peter Daszak asserted:
“Any emerging disease in the last 30 or 40 years has come about as a result of encroachment into wild lands and changes in demography.”
It is our obligation to help virus-fighting cells to function efficiently in keeping our body protected from bacterial and viral infections. This is what could be called the ‘second line of defense’.
Regular walks even in confined spaces
Nose breathing which helps filter and clean the oxygen
Keep fully hydrated.
It is necessary to note that the ‘first line of defense’ against these invaders are the skin and the membranes that line the entrances to the body. These entrances are the nasal passages, the eyes, and the respiratory and digestive tracts. This is why the CDC states that the first line of prevention is to wash your hands often and thoroughly as well as avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands, as well as why so many people are rushing to buy face masks.
The immune and lymphatic systems are two closely related organ systems that share several organs and physiological functions. The immune system is our body’s defense system against infectious pathogenic viruses, bacteria, and fungi as well as parasitic animals and protists. The immune system works to keep these harmful agents out of the body and attacks those that manage to enter. We will deal with possibly the most active of these defenses.
The lymphatic system is a system of capillaries, vessels, nodes and other organs that transport a fluid called lymph from the tissues as it returns to the bloodstream. The lymphatic tissue of these organs filters and cleans the lymph of any debris, abnormal cells, or pathogens.
The lymphatic system also transports fatty acids from the Intestines (the intestines are vital organs in the gastrointestinal tract of our digestive system). Their functions are to further assist in the digestion by absorbing bile and pancreatic juices, which will help the nutrients released from that food to enter into the bloodstream. The lymphatic system also transports fatty acids from the Intestines into the circulatory system.
Bone Marrow and Leukocytes
Red bone marrow is a highly vascular tissue found mostly in the ends of long bones and in the flat bones of the body. Red bone marrow is a hematopoietic tissue containing many stem cells that produce blood cells. All of the leukocytes, or white blood cells, of the immune system are produced by red bone marrow. Leukocytes can be further broken down into 2 groups based upon the type of stem cells that produces them: myeloid stem cells and lymphoid stem cells.
Leukocytes are the major cellular components of the inflammatory and immune system. While they only make up about 1 % of the blood in the body, leukocytes play an important role in protecting the body from infections/diseases caused by various microorganisms (e.g. bacteria, amoeba etc.) and other types of parasites such as filarial worms.
While essential nutrients are critical for the production and maintenance of key germ-fighting cells in the immune system, a balanced diet also has a strong effect on vascular function. The immune system is dependent on blood flow because the bloodstream is the route along which infection-fighting cells travel throughout the body to wherever they are needed.
Maintaining a well-balanced diet and keeping a healthy eating habit are your best assurance to keep the immune system functioning correctly.
Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins A and C. They also have phytochemicals that lend fruits and vegetables their colors. These food groups also contain antioxidants that promote the body’s built-in anti-viral and anti-bacterial functions. These nutrients help ensure that the lymphocytes can divide and reproduce properly in response to a virus, and that the neutrophils and macrophages that engulf and kill invading bacteria can do their job efficiently.
Maximizing the variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants can be achieved by eating up to six servings of fruits and vegetables per day. It is necessary to consume two different colors of vegetables and fruits with each meal, and one-third of lean protein.
Include in your diet a generous amount of protein to ensure production of more white blood cells to help combat the invading antigens. The building blocks of all the body’s cells, including the cells that power the immune system, are the amino acids found in protein. Protein and amino acids are essential in increasing immune cell proliferation. It has also been reported that one crucial amino acid called, arginine, is required to let the body know that it’s being attacked by an infection, so that all those good virus fighting cells can react more quickly in a second-line of defense against a human coronavirus. It is also claimed that Arginine increases your blood circulation when it comes to fighting viral infections.
According to WHO, coronavirus causes respiratory diseases. In short, COVID-19 virus begins to attack your lungs and two things can possibly happen – either it will end in your lungs or it can spread to other parts of your body, such as resulting in liver or kidney failure.
It is widely reported that once you have been attacked, it could take more than 12 months to fully recover.
Many Reasons to Drink Water Regularly Every Day
The most important items required for our Human Body Machine to function efficiently, is Fresh Air and Clean Water. Unfortunately, the majority do not consume sufficient of this most important commodity. Now is the time to improve, if there ever was one.
Now is the time to move beyond whether one likes or dislikes. WATER & MORE WATER IS THE ORDER OF THE DAY. Force yourself if necessary.
The various systems of the body use and store different amounts of water. It is imperative that every system works well, so that the other systems can also work in a healthy state.
Every system relies on the efficient functions of the other systems. So, if one system is not working well, other systems will be adversely affected.
Below is a listing of a few of the body systems that need and rely on sufficient water –
Water boosts your Immune System
Keeps you looking young and fresh
Helps to keep your Kidneys healthy
Gives you energy and helps avoid muscle and joint pains
Prevents Headaches and Lightheadedness
Improves the circulation of Blood
Helps your Muscles to remain in good condition – even stops them from Cramping
Important for your Digestive system – Avoids Constipation
Prevents Bad Breath and a Dry Mouth.
The percentage of Water in your various body parts are –
Flu-like symptoms with or without fever. At this stage it is hard to ascertain whether the coronavirus will continue to spread. It can stay dormant for at least 10 days before it goes to the second stage of attack. Hence why people are diagnosed with coronavirus can go past the thermal scanners at the airports without any early warning signs.
Many diagnosed with coronavirus will develop pneumonia in both lungs and this is usually accompanied by symptoms like shortness of breath, fever, cough and other forms of breathing difficulties.
Lung damage continues to build — which can result in respiratory failure depending on your health condition and age. In severe cases, you will witness coughing blood and other extreme conditions. Some may survive this stage or recover with permanent lung damage.
How does it Transmit?
When an infected person coughs or sneezes, coronavirus contained in micro droplets of saliva, mucus, or other bodily fluids can be easily transferred through skin contact (i.e. touch), kissing or airborne. So, if a person sneezes or coughs next to you, then you need to take extra caution by not touching whatever may have been on the receiving end, with your hands.
The immune system is a complex system made up of organs and vessel systems including a network of individual cells and proteins.
It is “highly intelligent” and keeps a record of every germ it has ever defeated, so it can recognize and destroy the germ in the future.
The main parts of the immune system are:
White Blood Cells, also called leukocytes or leucocytes, are the cells of the immune system that are involved in protecting the body against both infectious disease and foreign invaders.
Antibodies are a blood protein produced in response to and counteracting a specific antigen. Antibodies combine chemically with substances which the body recognizes as alien, such as bacteria, viruses, and foreign substances in the blood.
The Complement System which plays a critical role in inflammation and defense against some bacterial infections.
The Lymphatic System is a network of tissues and organs that help rid the body of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials. The primary function of the lymphatic system is to transport lymph, a fluid containing infection-fighting white blood cells, throughout the body.
Bone Marrow is the spongy tissue inside some of the bones in the body, including the hip and thigh bones. Bone marrow contains immature cells, called stem cells. Healthy bone marrow and blood cells are needed in order to live.
The Spleen is an abdominal organ involved in the production and removal of blood cells.
Surely PREVENTION is as, if not more important, than CURE. It is never too late to Start.
Prevention is the age-old wisdom that never goes out of fashion, except for the fact that most fail to live by its importance.
There are non-invasive ways and means to assist us in living a healthy and energetic lifestyle. One of the many benefits is a stronger immune system.
Best wishes to all – Stay Safe.
Lionel H. Phillips D.O.
About the Author:
Lionel Phillips is a Doctor of Osteopathy (1975), an International Fitness & Health Instructor, Consultant and Lecturer. He has researched and designed ‘The Needs & Functions of the Human Body’ as an educational subject for inclusion in all School Curriculums World-Wide.
A past Federation Member and Israel Liaison Representative of IHRSA (International, Health & Racquet Sportsclub Association) and member of their world-wide “Panel of Experts”, Phillips is a recipient of the “Prime Ministers Award of Merit” (PM Menachem Begin).
Interested in keeping fit alone or together with the whole family?
Lionel Phillips’s website www.globalhealth-education.com which he launched in 2000 is a free site offering advice and explanations on the needs of The Human Body and how to cater to those needs.
Below you will find the link to website pages that illustrate and explain every movement.
When Israel started to enforce very tough measures in response to the growing Coronavirus pandemic, many thought the country’s leaders were suffering from a case of “coronoia”. Fast forward several days, and that the numbers grow around the world and it seems like no country is immune, Israel’s strict measures, first criticized by the global media and citizens alike, is now being lauded.
Israel, recognizing the threat of the Covid-19 virus almost at the outset, acted with almost military precision. This was done against the background of coalition discussions after Israel’s March 2nd election. Israel has demonstrated its magnificent crisis management capabilities.
A country that is used to adapting quickly to changing conditions, we have survived intifadas, wars and waves of terror and this has built a strong, resilient survivalist culture.
Years of dealing with threats means we have become accustomed to quickly adapting. Israel is also a country where the majority of citizens has served in the army and is accustomed to taking orders and following accordingly.
Israel’s response has exhibited the best of the country – and its spirit. Declaring war against the virus, the government with its relevant ministries, has employed all mechanisms that one would in a decisive military campaign. Counter-terror technology, the military and the extraordinary Magen David Adom have all been deployed to ensure that Israel’s citizens have what they need; that the response is quick and efficient and that we can maintain monitoring on the virus. The end goal is clear – flatten the curve.
Tight restrictions now mean that we can get a firm handle on this global pandemic and hopefully recover soonest.
The first major restriction put in place was enforcing a rule that anyone, regardless of where they came from and including Israeli nationals, had to self-quarantine for 14 days upon entry into the country. Crowds were restricted to no more than 100 (since reduced to ten), and schools closed until after Passover. This drew widespread criticism from the global media who saw this move as somewhat draconian but days after, as the virus continued to spread, most saw Israel’s response as the right way to go about beating this virus and are now appealing to their governments to follow suit.
The man that many say is responsible for Israel’s rapid and responsible response is Moshe Bar Siman-Tov, the Director General of the Health Ministry. The first non-doctor to head the ministry, this economist who many call “Barsi”, has introduced this aggressive policy not only to slow the entry of the virus into Israel, but to ensure that the country’s health infrastructure does not become overwhelmed and many are applauding him. Other countries have taken note.
Some of them have.
New Zealand has followed Israel’s self-quarantine on entry example and South Africa, has restricted crowds to no more than 100.
Over the past weekend, it was announced that Israel would go into partial lockdown. All leisure activities like theatre, movies, restaurants and malls would be closed. No more than 10 people at a gathering and if possible, work from home. Social distancing at 2 metres is also recommended. Not touching is completely uncharacteristic for the hot blooded, tactile Israelis who mostly feel that invading one’s personal space is totally okay because we are all family!
Israelis are getting creative! Restaurants are finding ways to change their business models to deliver instead of shutting completely; kids are online schooling and faced with the prospect of having to talk to each other (heaven forbid!) a number of Israelis have been caught standing on their balconies, singing to their hearts content. This shining example of resilience was started in Italy – and it is hard to compete, but it really is proof that there is an Eyal Golan song for every occasion!
Like many countries, the pervasive panic over a potential shortage of toilet paper has sent many storming the supermarkets. While we have been reassured, we have no shortage of anything, including a decent roll of 2/3 ply, many are frightened that they will not survive the great bog roll shortage of 2020. It’s loo-paper-geddon! Personally I believe stockpiling whisky would be more effective – it is medicinal!
One of the greatest lessons in all of this has been the realization that we are all in this together. Israel and the Palestinian Authority are jointly working together to save lives and contain the virus so that our respective populations remain safe and through the COGAT unit of the IDF, disinfectants, sanitisers and medical supplies continue to enter the Gaza Strip.
Keeping morale high (Petach-Tikva/Israel, 16.03.2020)
As China recovers and the eye of the storm moves westwards, all we can do is pour ourselves a Quarantini (it is just a martini – only drunk alone), wash our hands multiple times and be grateful for a government who has set a shining example on how we win the war against Covid-19. It can be done.
Mega Shopping? An alternative way to spend in the queue.
Deadly disease “Made in China” and Israel responds
By David E. Kaplan
Dominating the news theses days is a mysterious virus emanating out of China that has a passenger ship quarantined, flight routes suspended, international conferences cancelled and people panicking – where is it going to strike next?
Most disquieting is the ‘surprise factor’ – that something unknown one day, can be so feared the next. While there have been no reported cases so far in Israel – although three Israeli passengers on the ‘Diamond Princess’ cruise ship docked in Japan have been diagnosed with coronavirus – the first US citizen to be diagnosed with the illness died in Wuhan, China, where the mysterious respiratory ailment began.
As the world grapples with this crisis, and in particular to find an antidote, joining the proverbial cavalry is an Israeli startup, Sonovia Ltd.,that says it may have a solution to help stop the spread of the new deadly coronavirus “through novel technology for an anti-pathogen, anti-bacterial fabric.” It has sent the product over to labs in China for testing, notably the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing and a medical lab in Chengdu.
The co-founder of the Ramat Gan based Sonovia that was founded in 2013, Shay Herscovich, explains:
“We have identified the methodology to determine the fabric’s ability to eliminate viruses and bacteria. We sent a number of fabrics to China and it would require a few days to colonize the coronavirus on the fabric and evaluate if our technology can destroy it.”
Infusing metal oxides nanoparticles into textiles, Sonovia’s patented technology was developed as protective gear – to see if the textiles would prove highly effective blocks against bacteria and fungi. Upbeat with the positive results following tests at laboratories at Israel’s Bar Ilan University, the relevant question today is whether Sonovia’s bacteria-fighting fabric can protect against the spread of coronavirus?
According to the company, the technology can be used on masks, protective clothing, hospital bedding and gowns, and other apparel to stop hospital-acquired infections. The enhanced textile “is able to maintain its anti-pathogen activity at up to 100 washes at 75° Celsius (167 Fahrenheit) and 65 washes at 92° Celsius (197 Fahrenheit),” says Sonovia scientist Dr. Jason Migdal.
The company, says Migdal, has tested the fabrics against a variety of infections, notably a pilot study in a European hospital that showed that when the textiles were used in protective clothing, there was a significant reduction in infections.
Migdal firmly believes that the same technology could be used to block viruses and potentially stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
In a company statement sent out to newsrooms Migdal said “In response to the global concern regarding the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCOV) in China, which has since spread to several other countries, we would like to accelerate the development of our technology.”
Now it is in the hands of the Chinese who according to Migdal, will follow a European protocol to test the fabric’s anti-viral activity.
A further advantage of the ‘face masks’ are that they are designed for repeated use and “could be distributed effectively where they are needed most in China,” says Migdal, “as well as being more sustainable to the environment.”
At the time of writing, there were officially 67,192 Coronavirus cases – the vast majority in China – and 1,527 deaths.
More people have now died from the coronavirus than during the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak in 2002-2003.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the outbreak a global emergency and has warned governments to prepare for “domestic outbreak control” if the disease were to spread in their countries.
Last Flight To China
As China grapples with the current outbreak – over and above the efforts of an Israeli start-up like Sonovia – there are other Israeli non-profit organisations responding to the region’s request for aid by donating sanitary masks, medical supplies, and protective gear.
Israel’s Magen David Adom (MDA) national emergency network has contributed 2,000 masks and 200 full protection kits to help prevent the spread of coronavirus in China.
Also, the humanitarian aid organization IsraAID sent a shipment of emergency medical supplies and protective gear to the Chinese Ministry of Health on the last flight from Tel Aviv to mainland China. This project was done with partners Israel-China Chamber of Commerce, INNONATION and David Ashkenazi of ICCB Capital.
Yotam Polizer ,the Co-CEO of IsraAID, said his organisation “will continue to monitor the situation and may launch a secondary response including Mental Health and Psychosocial Support for humanitarian aid workers and first responders working in the area, focusing on stress relief.”
The late Israeli humanitarian, peace activist and founder of the ‘Voice of Peace’ Abie Nathan would be impressed. I recall in an interview with him in the late 1990s when he said, “My aim is that whenever there is a humanitarian crisis in the world, I want an Israel team there among the first to bring relief.”
Today, Israel has a heightened sense of humanitarian awareness and responsibility with aid teams and private enterprise poised to respond to natural or man-made disasters anywhere in the world.
Israel is proud to respond to the call from China.
Nano Textile fights against infections during hospitalization by providing a revolutionary solution in the production of antibacterial factories which prevents the spread of bacteria between patients and staff.
Israel makes the cover of Time as 9 of its inventions feature on the Magazine’s 100 best inventions of 2019
By David E. Kaplan
Every year, TIME magazine highlights the Best Inventions that are making the world “better, smarter and even a bit more fun”. In choosing their 2019 list, TIME solicited nominations across a variety of categories from its editors and correspondents around the world, as well as through an online application process. Each contender on the list is evaluated based on key factors, including
Here are the nine Israeli innovations that appear in Time’s top 100:
Seeing Is Believing
I was first exposed to this invention over a year ago when I walked into my uncle’s sitting room in Rehovot, south of Tel Aviv and saw him reading. Reading! He is virtually blind but there he was, wearing his glasses reading the morning paper. Then I saw he had a device and soon leaned it was a MyEye 2.0 by OrCam.
It was great, we could argue over politics!
The MyEye 2 is a lightweight smart camera that attaches to virtually any frame of a pair of glasses. Using AI technology, it instantly and discreetly reads printed and digital text aloud from any surface, recognizes faces, products, money notes and more, all in real time. The intuitive device is operated by using simple hand gestures and has more than 20 voice-activated commands. It is designed for all ages, can be used with any level of vision loss and does not require an internet connection.
The portable, finger-sized device can be discreetly clipped to eyeglasses or sunglasses to read out texts from books, newspapers, product labels, and restaurant menus and can even scan barcodes, identify faces and currency, and tell time even without a watch.
“This is the world’s most advanced artificial vision device for people who are blind, partially sighted and have reading difficulties,” OrCam Director of Media and Communications Rafi Fischertold NoCamels last year. The device is gesture-motivated, so the user only has to point to the piece of text to activate the device or hold their hand out to stop the audio of the reading.
“Fitting all this power into such a small device is like “putting an elephant into a small closet,” OrCam co-founder Amnon Shashuatold TIME. Shashua is also famously the co-founder of Israel’s Mobileye, which develops vision-based driver-assistance systems. Intel acquired Mobileye for $15.3 billion in 2017.
Offering CONCRETE Solutions
Man’s love of the ocean and building on its coast is all very well for man – not always for the ocean! The problem lies in the detrimental impact of eco-unfriendly concrete.
Step in an Israeli company ECONcrete – an environmental tech company founded in 2012 by marine ecologists Dr. Shimrit Perkol-Finkel and Dr. Ido Sella. Listed in the “design” category of TIME’s list of 100 Best Inventions of 2019, ECONcrete develops sustainable concrete for constructing ecologically active infrastructures in coastal and marine environments as well as in urban landscapes.
The company uses “a technique known as biomimicry, relying on the shapes, textures and size of natural systems to dictate how the company builds its products,” so they blend in with their surroundings and are less intrusive to marine ecosystems.
Earlier in 2019, ECONcrete was listed by Fast Company on its “World’s Most Innovative Companies” of 2019. The company was also featured in an episode of the popular web series Nas Daily.
With nearly half of the human population living along coastlines, coastal development, and increasing coastal urbanization are inevitable. Concrete is the main construction material globally, accounting for over 70% of Coastal and Marine Infrastructure (CMI). Nonetheless, it is a poor substrate for biological recruitment, and is considered toxic to many marine organisms, mainly due to its unique surface chemistry which impairs the settlement of various marine larvae.
Now, ECOncrete, with a suite of innovative, science-based solutions, is proving that development and sustainability don’t have to be at odds.
Step in an Israeli medical tech company Theranica that has developed a migraine-zapping wearable device Nerivio and featured in Time’s list in the “health care” category.
The device, worn on the upper arm, provides migraine treatment through neuromodulation therapy, altering nerve activity by way of targeted delivery of a stimulus. The treatment is like “a personalized pain-relief programme,” according to the Netanya-based company.
“We are honored to be recognized by TIME and thrilled to see Nerivio listed alongside inventions that are shaping the future,” said Alon Iron, CEO and co-founder of Theranica.
“At Theranica, we believe that migraine solutions should be affordable and accessible. We are proud of the non-invasive, low side-effect and drug-free alternative that Nerivio offers and remain dedicated to bringing effective relief to individuals around the world living with migraine.”
The “health care” category on the TIME list also featured the remote medical examination device TytoHome developed by Israeli tele-health company Tyto Care. A handheld examination device, TytoHome comes with attachments to examine the heart, lungs, skin, ears, throat and abdomen, as well as measure body temperature, to enable remote diagnosis of acute care situations like ear infections, sore throats, fever, cold and flu, allergies, and more.
The device allows users to perform these comprehensive medical exams and send the information to a primary care provider.
The device, at $299, was recently made available to purchase at over 300 Best Buy locations across the USA. It’s also available online.
“Tyto Care’s mission has always been to make high-quality healthcare accessible on-demand, from any location to as many people as possible,” Tyto Care CEO and co-founder Dedi Gilad, said in a statement. “We are honoured to be included on TIME’s Best Inventions list for 2019. This recognition signifies the ground-breaking impact TytoHome is having on people’s day-to-day lives and we are excited to continue to deliver the best virtual care experience to consumers across the globe.”
As reported in NoCamels, “Dedi Gilad was a young father of two dealing with fevers, fussy eaters and his daughter’s chronic ear infections when he did what few exhausted parents of young children do – he launched a startup!”
Tytocare is a telehealth company bringing medical exams to the comfort of our homes. And like all good ideas, it was born out of necessity. Gilad was spending hours day and night at the emergency room with his daughter, getting exposed to germs in hospital waiting areas and losing countless hours of sleep, only to receive the same diagnosis every time.
Retailing at for $1,999,Temi can answer questions, order groceries, play music and videos, make calls, control your smart home, follow you around your house (except up or down stairs), and call for medical assistance. Users can control Temi remotely from any location in the world via the app and command different actions.
Temi has won a number of prestigious awards over the past year, including 1st prize in the field of robots and drones at the Shanghai CES Asia 2019 Exhibition, a Gold Award in the Personal Robot category at the prestigious Edison 2019 Awards, and the best robot in CES Las Vegas according to Tom’s Guide and the International PC Magazine Award for Best of MWC 2018.
Founded in 2015, Robotemi is headquartered in New York City, has an R&D lab in Tel Aviv and a business and manufacturing location in Shenzen, China. Earlier this year, the company announced that world-renown Israeli mentalist Lior Suchard was joining as chief brand officer (CBO).
Out Of Thin Air
If Moses brought forth water for the People of Israel in the desert by striking a stone, today’s Israelites strike water from the air.
Instead of searching below for solutions, Watergen found it above – in our atmosphere – and devised a way to ‘tap’ into this unlimited resource.
The Israeli company Watergen, which hopes to improve the quality of life of billions who suffer from poor water sanitation or lack of accessibility to safe drinking water, developed a patented technology that makes drinking water “out of thin air”. It is its at-home appliance called the Genny that featured on the TIME magazine list in the “social good” category.
In the aftermath of the raging fires that wiped out much of Paradise, California, a truck pulled up to a group of residents and rescue workers, parched after a day of cleanup. The driver came out, pointed to a machine in the back and said that the device could pull water out of thin air. He flipped a spout and out came clean, drinkable H20.
“They literally walked around the truck and they kept on trying to figure out where this water is coming from, what magic are you guys doing?” recalled Yehuda Kaploun, the president of Watergen USA.
The device, which looks like a water cooler, is a generator capable of producing between 25-30 liters (6.6-7.9 gallons) of water per day using the company’s heat-exchange GENius technology. The generator first collects water vapour in the air and then cools the air at its dew point, after which the water goes through physical, chemical and biological treatment followed by a mineralization process to maintain its cleanliness, tastiness and healthy quality.
The Genny retails at an estimated $1,500, according to TIME. Watergen’s generators have been used in countries like India, South Africa, Vietnam, Sierra Leone, China, Uzbekistan, and the US.
Come Fly With Alice
While “These are the largest windows in a commercial aircraft,” noted one observer, that is not what won it its listing in the Time magazine list in the “sustainability” category.
In June 2019, Israeli aerospace company Eviation Aircraftdebuted “Alice” – a prototype of the first all-electric commuter aircraft. Alice is a battery-powered nine-seater which Eviation hopes will help transform urban aerial travel through a “flying taxi” concept. CEO Omer Bar-Yohay has called it “Uber meets Tesla in the sky,” with commuters of the future travelling at a fraction of the costs of conventional jetliners ushering in a new era “of flying that is quieter, cleaner, and cost-effective.”
Regional trips will be “cheaper than a train ticket” and far more considerate for the environment. The idea of curbing carbon emissions by half by 2050 – an eco-friendly pledge by the aviation industry – is another reason many of the major airlines are exploring electric options.
Alice is “capable of flying with nine passengers at 240 knots and a range of up to 650 miles [1046.07 km],” says Bar-Yohay.
“It’s basically a huge battery with some plane painted on it,” Bar-Yohay told reporters.
“This plane looks like this not because we wanted to build a cool plane, but because it’s electric,” he said, “You build a craft around your propulsion system. Electric means we can have lightweight motors; it allows us to open up the design space.”
In 2018, the company was selected as the winner in the transportation category of Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas Awards.
Alice is sure going places!
Hello, Meet ElliO
Making the “special mentions” category on the TIME’s list is ElliQ, is a robotic companion created by Israeli company Intuition Robotics.
Designed to help the elderly “stay engaged, independent and connected to family and friends,” the tabletop social robot mimics human movements and responds to voice, gaze, and touch. ElliQ offers tips and advice, responds to questions, engages throughout the day, makes appointments, reminds those in its care about medications and can suggest content to watch and set up chats with friends.
Useful for those who cannot easily operate a smartphone, ElliQ is meant to address the issues of isolation and loneliness among senior citizens by reading out messages, displaying photos, and answering video calls.
Also in TIME’s “special mentions” section was Israeli insurance tech company Lemonade with its “Giveback” charity component.
Lemonade’s concept was coming up with a fresh brand that through the use of technology rather than relying on brokers, it could break into the huge and rather staid insurance market.
Customers answer a set of simple questions through a chat with the company’s bot, “Maya,” and, in seconds, can get their home insured. It takes 90 seconds to get insured – says the company’s website – and three minutes to get paid, if and when a claim is made.
Unlike traditional insurers, Lemonade takes a flat fee — one that would normally go to the insurance brokers — and sets aside the remaining funds for claims. In a good year, when there’s money left unclaimed, the company does not pocket the money but donates it to causes their customers choose.
Founded in 2015 by Israeli entrepreneurs Daniel Schreiber and Shai Wininger, the Lemonade Giveback’s mission is “to transform insurance from a necessary evil into a social good.” They have designed Lemonade to bring out the best in people, while giving society a push for the better.
When users sign up, they choose a charity or non-profit organization they care about, and once a year, Lemonade tallies up unclaimed money pooled from policyholders who chose that same cause and donates it to the organization.
Tens of thousands of members are supporting causes they care about, simply by getting a Lemonade insurance policy. As the Lemonade community grows, the social impact emerges stronger.
The philosophy of Lemonade’s Schreiber may apply to all of Israel’s inventions for 2019. “Great digital brands,” writes Schreiber, “transcend borders. Whether in Chicago, Paris, or Singapore, today’s consumers listen to music on Spotify, ride with Uber, and stay at Airbnb. Consumers are increasingly cosmopolitan, socially aware, and tech-native.”
Israeli inventors and entrepreneurs are in tune with this, hence their phenomenal global success.
We can look forward to a no less exciting 2020 for Israeli inventiveness!
When Israelis woke up to the day’s news earlier this month that “NASA is set to send a prototype of an Israeli-developed miniaturized solar-power generator to the International Space Station (ISS) in its first launch of 2020,” it hardly raised an eyebrow!
Nor would they have been astounded to read lower down the same article that “Future prototypes are being planned for private space initiatives as well as space agencies pursuing new missions that require high power for electric propulsion and for operation in deep space such as missions to Jupiter and Saturn.”
Such news today in Israel maybe “news” but hardly surprising revelations!
Israel is in the vanguard of preparing for tomorrow and more and more countries and international companies and agencies are realising the value of partnering with Israel – collaborating on projects for the benefit of all mankind.
However, what did raise eyebrows as reported in the international media, was when earlier this month, Cyril Ramaphosa, the President of South Africa, expressed in public that South Africa can learn from Israel that was “leading by leaps and bounds” – notably in the hi-tech sector.
And why the surprise?
Well, it was only a month earlier that South Africa confirmed its intention to downgrade its Tel Aviv embassy to a liaison office.
This was like a cart or carriage being pulled by horses hitched in the front and the back!
In which direction, if any, was South Africa’s foreign policy headed?
The diplomatic downgrade had been due to the nefarious influence of BDS on ANC policy at the ruling party’s December 2017 biannual conference. As warned at the time and shown over events since, the fateful short-sighted resolution was set neither to help the Palestinians nor to materially harm Israelis. In fact, the only harm inflicted was on the majority of citizens of South Africa.
With Ramaphosa’s public address, are fresh winds of change blowing in South Africa?
Speaking at a Women in Business Conference in Johannesburg, the State President said that: “There is money: Come with plans and innovative ideas which we can fund, and then we can seed your business.”
In Israeli parlance, Ramaphosa was talking “tachlis”. In plain English – “Let’s get down to brass tacks.”
Ramaphosa was telling the conference and by extension the people of South Africa how the country could economically benefit from engagement with Israel.
Right On Ramaphosa
It was the right time for the South African president to deliver this message as the conference was the launching pad of his country’s three-day investment drive led by the State President, where the country hoped to commit trillions of dollars to economic investments; even before the conference ended.
Most revealing was that Ramaposa recognised Israel’s “challenge funds” as a role model for South Africa to fuel enterprise, innovation and entrepreneurship in its hi-tech sector.
“In many ways, that is what has gotten Israel to lead in the technology space. They are leading by leaps and bounds, and they are actually innovative in a number of sectors of the economy, in agriculture, in maritime and in a number of other areas. They have shown that they can lead. And we can learn a lot from what they do.”
This is a far cry from South Africa cutting off its nose to spite itself when in 2016, a Johannesburg conference dealing with the water crisis in South Africa was canceled due to the inclusion of Israel’s Ambassador to South Africa.
The then Ambassador, Arthur Lenk, was to be part of a panel at the conference organised by the Mail and Guardian newspaper on “equitable and sustainable water management for poverty alleviation.” It is globally recognised that Israel is the world’s expert in water management.
After Ramaphosa’s recent conference address, Israel’s present Ambassador to South Africa, Lior Keinan, took to Twitter to welcome the State President’s statement:
Has Ramaphosa pressed a reset button that common sense may prevail over ignorance? During the worst of the water crises in Cape Town in 2018; and with Israel offering help, typical of the WhatsApp messages was this one received by Darren Bergman, a Jewish member of parliament in South Africa which read:
“There is NO water crisis! Day zero is a Zionist plot planned by the DA Zionists…. They have been using scaremongering and by laws [sic] to create a water ‘crisis.’ The ‘created’ drought is a Zionist plot to control Cape Town’s water supply and profit from it.”
Rise To The Challenge
Times may be A ‘Changin’ when Ramaphosa says of Israel:
“We can learn a lot more of what they do with regard to Challenge Funds, and I would like to learn more.”
Most encouraging words from the State President, but part of the process of learning about “Challenge Funds” is also accepting the challenge of rejecting the attitudes of the likes of BDS whose vocabulary when it comes to Israel is less about finding a solution but more in advocating the country’s dissolution.
South Africa is currently facing Challenging times. In rugby, the World Champions need no counsel but there are many areas that Israel can assist and wants to assist.
Ramaphosa’s recent words are a good beginning!
*Feature picture: ewn.co.za – President Cyril Ramaphosa addesses a dialogue, convened under the theme ‘The Economy is Woman’, which is organised by the Businesswomen’s Association of South Africa (BWASA) on 29 October 2019. Picture: GCIS.
You can actually say, “This steak is out of this world” and it would be true; both literally and figuratively.
Earlier in the year, Lay Of The Land published an article titled ‘Israel Leading A Slaughter-Free Revolution For A Healthier World’ revealing on how the world’s first laboratory-grown steak was served up in Israel by Aleph Farms (Aleph being the first letter in the Hebrew alphabet) by isolating cells from a cow and cultivating them into a 3-D structure.
Founded in 2017 by Israeli food-tech incubator The Kitchen – part of Israel’s food processing company Strauss Group Ltd., in collaboration with the Technion, Alpha Farms is set to impact the nature and scope of the future of food by producing cell-grown meat that resembles a free range version.
For meat lovers, that all too familiar alluring sizzling aroma that is like a culinary aphrodisiac, will still be there.
The only difference is that the genesis of your T-bone, fillet, rump, sirloin or entrecote hails from a laboratory rather than a field. Having unveiled in December 2018 to much fanfare, the first prototype of lab-grown steak in the world, the Israeli enterprising entrepreneurs decided to take its curiosity to another scientific level!
The Next Frontier
In typical Israeli out-of-the-box fashion, Alpha Farmslaunched its idea into the stratosphere by conducting an experiment to manufacture its meat product on the International Space Station (ISS) some 248 miles (339 km) from earth.
The ISS is a low-orbit space station that serves as a microgravity and space environment research laboratory between five participating space agencies: NASA, Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe), and CSA (Canada).
Aleph Farms explained that the project aims to demonstrate its mission of being able “to provide sustainable food security on earth and beyond by producing meat regardless of the availability of land and local water resources.”
Says CEO Didier Toubia who co-founded Aleph Farms together with Prof.Shulamit Levenberg:
“In space, we don’t have 10,000 or 15,000 liters (3962.58 gallons) of water available to produce one kilogram (2.205 pounds) of beef.”
The experiment, he said, “marks a significant first step toward achieving our vision to ensure food security for generations to come, while preserving our natural resources.”
To conduct the experiment in space, Aleph Farms teamed up with Russian company 3D Bioprinting Solutions, which develops implementations of 3D bioprinting technologies, and two American companies, Meal Source Technologies and Finless Foods, to carry out the process on September 26. As reported by Israel’s innovation news platform, No Camels cosponsored by the IDC Herzliya, “Aboard the Russian segment of the ISS, they used a unique technology of magnetic bio-fabrication, developed by 3D Bioprinting Solutions, to produce bovine, mummichog and rabbit myoblast/fibroblast constructs provided by Aleph Farms, Finless Foods, and Meal Source Technologies, respectively. All under microgravity conditions.”
In a statement released on October 7, 3D Bioprinting Solutions said that the joint project “lays the groundwork for renewable protein sources for long term manned missions.”
3D Bioprinting Solutions and Meal Source Technologies’ co-founder Aleksandr Ostrovsky said, “We believe that bio-fabrication of cultured meat in space has several unique advantages such as sustainability, personalization, and biosafety. What is more, creating cultured meat products in space may grant invaluable scientific insights for implementation of this technology on Earth.”
Hailing the experiment in space as a “successful proof of concept,” Aleph Farms said the cutting-edge research “in some of the most extreme environments imaginable serves as an essential growth indicator of sustainable food production methods that don’t exacerbate land waste, water waste, and pollution.”
These new innovative culinary methodologies aim to feed a rapidly growing world population predicted to reach 10 billion by 2050.
Assured of it venturing in the right direction, Aleph Farms cited a UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report – published in September – that argued that conventional animal farming methods contributed greatly to climate change, creating “a challenging situation worse and undermining food security.”
Said The Kitchen’s CEO, Jonathan Berger:
“The mission of providing access to high-quality nutrition anytime, anywhere in a sustainable way is an increasing challenge for all humans.” Whether “On earth or up above,” he continued, “we count on innovators like Aleph Farms to take the initiative to provide solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems, such as the climate crisis.”
This achievement, said Toubia, “follows Yuri Gagarin’s success of becoming the first man to journey into outer space, and Neil Armstrong’s 50th anniversary this year, celebrating the moment when the first man walked in space.”
While lab-grown steaks will likely not become commercially available for at least three to four years and the world waits, a video shows a group of people – among them Aleph Farm‘s vice president of research and development Neta Lavon – enjoying the steak-of-tomorrow alongside a tomato and zucchini pasta.
All these revelations have tongues not only wagging – but wanting to taste!
Israel is a tiny sliver of land in the Middle East, barely the size of the Kruger National Park in South Africa or New Jersey in the USA yet seems to enjoy a disproportionate amount of coverage in the media – often focused on the conflict with the country’s Palestinian neighbours.
A disproportionate amount of airtime and column inches are dedicated to coverage (and I use that term loosely because often fact and context are the first victim of headlines) and more often than not Israel is portrayed as the aggressive Goliath to the more passive Palestinian David. In the court of public opinion it could appear that Israel is nothing but a country perpetually mired in conflict.
There is so much more to Israel; a country which may be bantam in size but punches like a heavy weight.
Israel is a leader in so many fields. Let’s look at some of this tiny country’s greatest achievements:
A helping hand – Humanitarian assistance:
Wherever disaster strikes, be it natural or man-made, Israeli is one of the first to respond – even to countries with who there are no formal bilateral ties.
Even though hostile relations exist between Syria and Israel, and between Israel and the Gaza strip, Israeli humanitarian aid continues to be dispensed. The IDF ( Israel Defense Force), at great risk to the soldiers, embarked on Operation Good neighbour during the height of the Syrian civil war and brought thousands of wounded Syrian adults and children into Israeli hospitals for medical treatment.
Every day, under the supervision of the IDF body called COGAT (Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories) thousands of tons of aid are sent into the Gaza strip from Israel.
Recently, Israel sent assisstance to the hurricane struck Bahamas by sending portable water purifiers along with the other aid including Post Trauma counselling.
Israeli aid NGO, IsraAid, is ever ready to be deployed, along with the IDF to parts of the world where humanitarian assistance is most urgent.
Today, while Turkish forces engage in conflict with the Kurds, Israel has not only dispatched humanitarian aid to displaced Kurdish refugees but has also provided medical care for Kurd refugee children in our hospitals.
Army of the people
Israel’s army is so much more than a sophisticated defense machine. It is a citizen army, and is as widely inclusive as possible. While conscription is compulsory for Israel’s Jewish citizens who are able to serve, many Arab, Druze and Bedouin citizens in fact volunteer for service. In the last few years, these numbers have increased. The army tries to be sensitive to the cultural boundaries of these communities.
But minority communities are not the only sectors of society that the IDF include.
The IDF has introduced a programme called Special in Uniform in conjunction with JNF-USA and Lend-a-Hand to a Special Child, which helps to integrate people with mental and physical disabilities into the army to enable them to make meaningful contributions to the country. Special in Uniform includes a three-month course on occupational skills to teach disabled young adults to function independently and contribute to society in a positive way.
Soldiers who have participated in these programmes have gone on to have bright and better futures. We salute them!
Where the prophets walked
Home to the three Abrahamic religions, Israel is the place where Judaism, Christianity and Islam meet.
Where else but in Jerusalem can you hear the Imam calling the Muslim faithful to prayer while church bells peal and the melodic Hebrew incantations at the Kotel (Wailing Wall) sound out?
Even though Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people, freedom of religion is enshrined in the Israeli Declaration of Independence. While it is sometimes a complex issue, the right to worship as you choose is protected. Israel is also home to the Bahá’í World Centre – the name given to the spiritual and administrative centre of the Bahá’í Faith. The World Centre consists of the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh near Acre, Israel, the Shrine of the Báb and its gardens on Mount Carmel in Haifa, Israel, and various other buildings in the area including the Arc buildings.
Whether it is intoning ancient prayers or meditating in downward dog, all faiths are welcome. Perhaps this is why Israel is the Holy Land?
Living in a neighbourhood where there is perpetual threat can turn one into the master of necessity. As a result, Israelis have had to be fairly innovative. As Israel’s first Prime Minister, David ben Gurion once said, “In Israel, in order to be a realist, you must believe in miracles.”
Israeli innovators do not only believe in miracles – they create them! Israeli innovation has become so attractive that it is attracting billions of dollars of investment and acquisition. From life-saving diagnostic tools, to the Re-Walk exoskeleton that helps paraplegics walk again, to hi-tech inventions like firewalls and communications technology and many, many more including WAZE, low drip irrigation, Mobileye, Israeli know how is changing and improving the world on a daily basis.
Make it Rain – Environmental leaders
Climate change is having very serious repercussions on global weather patterns. Many countries that in the past enjoyed high levels of rainfall are now severely drought-stricken. Today, water has become the most sought after commodity and wars have been started over access to sources.
Israel, being a desert country knows only too well the challenges that come with having no water.
Israeli start-up, WaterGen has developed a machine that can literally create water out of thin air! It has been so successful that it has been deployed to desperate communities around the world and even played a role in humanitarian efforts. In 2018, WaterGen machines were sent to northern California to provide clean drinking water for US police and firefighters battling major fires.
Water is not the only area in which Israel is helping to preserve the environment. The country is a leader in breeding programmes for endangered species such as rhinoceros, re-forestation, recycling of plastics, pursuit of natural gas, high percentage of vegans and so much more.
Golda would kvell – Women’s rights leaders
Famous for her razor sharp wit, Israel’s first female Prime Minister, the formidable Golda Meir would be quite proud of Israel’s current record on the status of women – and that we continue to work for this to be improved.
In a neighbourhood where women’s rights are often eroded, Israel stands out. Apart from being one of the first countries in the world to have a female head of state, women in Israel are not only active in society but are leaders in their fields that include politics, philanthropy, entrepreneurship, minority communities, social welfare, education, the military, arts and culture, science, medicine and technology and so much more.
We can vote, drive, and own property and business. We can make decisions that govern our bodies and our communities and if we want to, raise a little hell.
The same cannot be said for many of the other women in our neighbourhood. Women in other parts of the Middle East are not as free as their Israeli sisters. In this part of the world, girls are often married off before they reach puberty or are killed because they have ‘dishonoured” their families. In this part of the world, women do not have the right to own property, vote, and receive and education or even drive. Gender Apartheid is rife.
Israeli women lobby and work hard to continue to elevate the status of women not just in our country; but in the region. Golda would kvell – I think she would raise her glass and toast L’Chaim to Israel’s women.
In June the streets of Tel Aviv are decked with rainbow flags in celebration of Pride Week. The city comes out in support of the civil rights of our fellow citizens and many across the country flock to Tel Aviv to march in solidarity.
While Israel may be a trailblazer in terms of tolerance for the LGBTQ community and is certainly the most accepting and progressive in the Middle East, there are still improvements to be made. Same-sex marriage is not performed in the country; however, Israel does accept and recognize common-law partnerships of same-sex couples that live together. There is always progress to be made, but Israel is certainly a leader of gay rights in the region.The IDF is LGBTQ supportive. The city of Tel Aviv is known to be one of the friendliest and most tolerant in the world and Pride marches are also held across the country including in the capital, Jerusalem.
Israel is also a safe haven for many Palestinians escaping persecution for their sexual orientation.
Watch us on TV
I am not talking about the news – that is enough to raise anyone’s blood pressure.
Did you know that some of your favourite TV shows are based on shows created in Israel? The award winning “Homeland” and “In Treatment” are just two of Israel’s stellar small screen offerings and have been followed by international hits like “Fauda”, “Shtisel”, “The Spy” and so many more.
Even our gal, Gal Gadot, has become a box office sensation! We always knew she was Wonder Woman; but now the world does as well.
People of the book
Israel has more books published per capita than any other country. And while we may be the people of the book, we are also the people of the book week. Israelis love reading – whether it is for pleasure or knowledge. Israel can boast one Nobel Laureate for Literature, Shmuel Yosef Agnon and award winning authors Amos Oz and David Grossman are just some of our writers who enjoy international support.
We are also now the people of the Facebook. Social media giant, Facebook has acquired several Israeli start-ups to increase their service and technology offering to users.
To the Moon – and beyond!
Israelis dream big. There is no such saying as the sky is the limit – we believe in pushing beyond that and reaching for the stars. And we did! In April 2019, Israeli NGO, SpaceIL, sent an unmanned spacecraft called the “Bereshit” (Hebrew for Genesis) to the moon. On the 22nd of February, the Bereshit began its long anticipated journey and in April, entered lunar orbit and prepared for landing. If successful, Israel would be the 7th country, joining major powers like Russia, USA, Japan, China, India and the European Space Agency to have a presence on the moon.
The landing did not go as planned and while the Bereshit crashed instead of descending gently, we still made it to the moon and this was a great achievement. Morris Kahn, one of the sponsors behind the project, congratulated the team and spoke of a future second mission. Just days later, SpaceIL announced that they would not be attempting a second time but would rather set their target higher. We don’t know what they are planning; but we will definitely be along for the ride!
Israelis epitomize the tenet; if at first you don’t succeed, try to outdo what you did the first time. The universe, not the sky is our limit!
This is just a mere glimpse into the achievements that Israel has and continues to pursue. When the father of modern Zionism, Theodore Herzl, envisioned a Jewish State that would live up to the tenet of Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) and would be in a position to help others. Looking at what this 71 year old State has achieved, I think he would be proud!
Israel Aerospace is flying high and is set to manufacture over 800 F35 wings by 2034.
By David E. Kaplan
Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) is Israel’s major aerospace and aviation manufacturer, producing aerial and astronautic systems for both military and civilian usage.
Founded in 1953 under the initiative of the late State President and Nobel Peace Laurette, Shimon Peres – when Israel was under threat of annihilation by all its neighbours in the region – IAI today, designs and builds civil aircraft, drones, fighter aircraft, missiles, avionics and space-based systems no longer exclusively for itself but also for export.
Renowned for its state-of-the-art electronics – IAI’s products are in hot demand by foreign militaries.
A case in point is the joint collaboration of IAI and Lockheed Martin that this month marked the delivery of the 100th advanced combat aircraft F-35 stealth fighter wing delivered by IAI at a ceremony held at the company’s wing assembly line.
Established in November 2014, the wings manufacturing center of IAI’s aviation division has established a solid reputation in making wings for the F-16 and T-38. The centre is now expected to manufacture over 800 pairs of F35 wings by 2034 using state-of-the-art technology which includes a unique composite layer of materials called AFP (Automatic Fiber Placement). The 3mm. thick threads that eventually become one unit, give the wings the ability to evade radar detection.
On December 2018, IAI inaugurated an innovative line for production of F-35 wing skins, expanding the collaboration between the two companies.
Out Of This World
Israel Country Executive of Lockheed Martin, Joshua Shani, said that the delivery of the 100th wing signals “a significant milestone” for the F-35 programme. “We take this opportunity to mark the broad cooperation Lockheed Martin holds with the local industries as a whole and IAI in particular, who play a major role in the global F-35 programme. The F-35 is the leading 5th Generation fighter jet in the world, manufactured by the highest standards along the supply chain. We look forward to deepening the fruitful, strong cooperation of today and in future programmes, with both the Ministry of Defense and Israeli defense industries.”
Nimrod Sheffer, the president and CEO of IAI, said that “IAI’s collaboration with Lockheed Martin has major business and strategic importance for us. We regard it as a vote of confidence on behalf of Lockheed Martin and the US administration in IAI’s capabilities as a global leader. We are excited to deliver the 100th wing and believe our collaboration will expand even more in the future.”
Having invested multiple resources in the most advanced systems and technologies, IAI has established a production line characterized by the utmost of precision.
The production line, which will last around 20 years, is expected to generate revenues of more than $2.5 billion during the next 10-15 years
At the launch in December 2018, IAI vice-president Shlomi Karako said that “the opening of the production line constitutes a significant milestone in the realization of the company’s strategy for building advanced capabilities in the field of composite materials manufacturing technology. Thanks to this move, IAI will belong to a ‘limited club’ of companies with these manufacturing capabilities.”
I am reminded when interviewing Shimon Peres for Haaretz when he became State President in 2007, and him saying:
“When in the 1950s Israel was mostly an economy based on agriculture and I pushed for industry, people said, “What; you’re crazy, the country can’t even build bicycles!” Look who’s crazy; where are those people today and where is Israel.”
From the days when Israel failed to “build bicycles”, Israel today is a world leader in converting ideas into reality.