There is a Jewish religious obligation to count each of the 49 days between the Festival of Freedom (Passover) and the Season of the Giving of our Law (Shavuot / Pentecost). We look forward to celebrating the high point in our history when we rose from slavery to receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai. Today it is almost impossible to count all of the innovations, discoveries and positive activities arising from the Jewish State – so I will simply enumerate some of the latest examples.
Israel continues to advance exponentially in the field of Medical Science. For the 3rd year running, an Israeli has won Europe’s prestigious L’Oréal-UNESCO “Women in Science” prize. Osnat Zomer-Penn received this year’s award for her research into the genetic basis of autism. Israelis Hadar Gelber-Sagiv won in 2012, and Na’ama Geva Zatursky in 2011. Meanwhile, Israel’s biotech giant Teva had a double success in its latest medication trials. Firstly, patients who began early treatment of Teva’s Laquinimod MS medication halted the progression of the disease. Then Teva’s Azilect add-on treatment for Parkinson’s disease improved patients’ condition significantly.
Europe’s CE mark of approval has just been given to the Nitinol carotid EPS stent from Tel Aviv’s InspireMD. The self-expanding stent is wrapped with a MicroNetmesh to prevent strokes that are common following stent insertions and is just one of countless cardiology devices that Israeli companies have produced. A heart stent is also portrayed on one of three latest Israeli stamps celebrating Israeli cardiology innovations. The 3-shekel stamp depicts the Percutaneous Heart Valve. The 4.2 shekel stamp shows the stent, whilst the 5-shekel stamp has a picture of the Implantable Defibrillator.
Diabetics can now display their blood-glucose count on their smartphone. Dr. Oren Fuerst’s LabStyle Innovations developed the “Dario” glucometer attachment in Israel. A lancing device takes a spot of blood and a test strip measures the glucose. The smartphone displays the result and records it, for sharing with the doctor.
It is becoming hard to count the number of wounded Syrians that Israel has treated. The IDF has now set up a military field hospital in the Golan Heights to avoid having to send serious cases on long, potentially hazardous journeys to hospitals inside Israel. Critics of the so-called “Gaza blockade” should count the number of trucks entering from Israel via the Keren Shalom crossing in any one week. In the seven days up to 23rd March, 1,157 trucks delivered 31,953 tons of goods, before Gaza terrorists forced the temporary closing of the crossing by firing rockets at Israeli civilians in Sederot.
Next, here are a number of recent new Israeli technological innovations that will benefit countless numbers of people around the world. Firstly, when you can’t count on a safe source of water, Israel’s SunDwater will harness the sun’s energy using solar mirrors to turn polluted or salty water into steam and then distill it into safe, clean drinking water. Then in a politically sensitive hot spot, Waterfall Security Solutions of Tel Aviv has installed its Unidirectional Security Gateways to protect South Korea’s nuclear reactors from potential meltdown due to physical and cyber threats. And this new video provides a number of reminders of how much the world counts on Israeli technology.
Those counting their calories will enjoy a new range of Israeli confectionary from Carmit Candy Industries. It includes a weight-management wafer bar and chocolate coins with calcium, vitamin D and vitamin K that the manufacturers claim will help shed pounds, boost the immune system and promote bone health. Meanwhile, cycling enthusiasts will love being able to count their heartbeats using a smart bicycle helmet with built-in infrared heart rate monitor. This unique sensing technology from Tel Aviv’s LifeBEAM is also deployed in test trials for fighter pilots and is currently being analyzed by NASA for possible use in future space missions.
By the way, if UK readers want their activities to count towards the humanitarian efforts of the Jewish State, then please download the free app from UK-based charity Myisrael. Every time an online purchase is made from one of a thousand British retailers, donations are collected for Myisrael’s projects.
To conclude, we should count our blessings for the existence of the Jewish State. Thousands gathered at the Western Wall in Jerusalem just for that purpose during the Passover festival - a reminder of the massive Jewish pilgrimages to the Temple in Jerusalem, over 2000 years ago. And having exceeded the symbolic figure of six million Jewish citizens, the Jewish State now has a larger Jewish population than any other country – for the first time since Biblical times.
Finally, we can count the 2013 / 5773 Passover holiday as the time that Israel became energy independent - when natural gas began flowing from the Tamar natural gas field. It ends Israel's natural gas shortage and has many associated economic and environmental benefits. Surplus supplies could even be exported and create countless numbers of new friends of Israel around the world.
If only we could count on that!
Michael Ordman writes a free weekly newsletter containing Good News stories about Israel.
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