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Innovation and Leadership in Israel, the Start-up Nation

A 2016 exhibition at Israel’s main airport, Ben Gurion, highlighted the country’s achievements in medicine, science and technology. From irrigating a desert for agriculture to GPS that Moses would have loved, Israel continues to fulfill God’s promise and bless the world, as written in Genesis 12:1-3. It is truly the start-up nation.

start-up Tel-Aviv rivals the world's great beach cities. As the commercial hub of Israel, it boasts world-class hotels, restaurants and shopping--all just a blocks away from where Jonah set sail on his fateful encounter with a whale!

Tel-Aviv rivals the world’s great beach cities. As the commercial hub of Israel, it boasts world-class hotels, restaurants and shopping–all just a blocks away from where Jonah set sail on his fateful encounter with a whale!

Romans 3:1 also has an interesting perspective: “What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew …? Much in every way! First of all, the Jews have been entrusted with the very words of God.” For centuries, the Jewish culture has been focused on literacy and the best of all literature, the Bible. The fringe benefits as keepers of God’s word could easily be seen in these technological innovations.

Another fringe benefit could be seen as Israeli entrepreneurship. Per capita, Israel holds the record for the highest number of startups. These are big blessings from a tiny country – only the size of the fifth-smallest US state, New Jersey (the land mass of Israel is approximately 11,000 square miles).

Here’s a list of 10 Israeli inventions or innovations:

  • Copaxone for treating multiple sclerosis, developed by Teva Pharmaceutical (with an office in Overland Park, Kansas)
  • A swallow-able camera to film the gastrointestinal tract, the PillCam
  • flash drives
  • Intel has developed some of their computer chips in Israel.
  • Back pain? How ‘bout a robot to help?
  • Ice, ice, goodbye: some tumors can be frozen, skipping surgery, thanks to IceCure.
  • ReWalk can help people with spinal cord injuries stand and walk.
  • Driver assistance technology helps prevent road accidents thanks to Mobileye.
  • When driving, the shortest distance between two points might be Waze, a navigation app.
  • Sniff, sniff, is that disease on your breath? SniffPhone works like a breathalyzer test to detect certain types of cancer and other diseases.

  • TRAVEL

Why stop at 10?

  • Drip, drip – leave it to the desert irrigators to learn to save water and money. For drip irrigation systems, Netafim is the world’s top manufacturer.
  • Why take up land for solar energy? Float it! Solaris Synergy uses bodies of water to park solar panels (which also cools them), and save money.
  • Leaking pipes? Water utility companies can monitor their network in real time with TaKaDu.
  • WoundClot bandages help save lives by preventing severe bleeding within minutes.
  • Bees are in short supply, the lack threatening our food resources. The buzz is all about bee-breeding with BioBee and BioFly, benefitting agriculture worldwide.

 

And the big 12 Nobel Prizes awarded to Israelis, their fields and contribution:

  • Shmuel Yosef Agnon (1966) literature, on the life of the Jewish people
  • Menachem Begin (1978) for signing a peace treaty with Egypt
  • Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres (1994) for peace talks that produced the Oslo Accords
  • Daniel Kahneman (2002) economics: prospect theory
  • Aaron Ciechanover and Avram Hersko (2004) chemistry: discovery of ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation
  • Robert Aumann (2005) economics: his work on conflict and cooperation through game-theory analysis
  • Ada Yonath (2009) chemistry: her studies on the structure and function of the ribosome in cells
  • Dan Shechtman (2011) chemistry: for his studies on atoms in rigid crystals
  • Arieh Warshel and Michael Levitt (2009) chemistry: for the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems

 

Plus other Jews have received the Nobel Prize. Of the 881 individual Nobel laureates, 196 – more than 22% — were either Jews or of Jewish ancestry. Three well-known laureates:

  • Albert Einstein who, as a German, won the physics prize in 1921
  • Henry A. Kissinger who helped end the Vietnam War as a member of the Nixon administration and won the 1973 peace prize
  • Elie Wiesel, chairman of the (US) President’s Commission on the Holocaust, the 1986 peace prize laureate.

 

–By Lori (Roberts) Wilson