Israels population is about 1/10th of one percent of the worlds population
Did anything happen in Israel since last October
Readers will know about IsraAID’s relief work after recent Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and Maria, but may have forgotten that IsraAID’s Navonel (Voni) Glick and Yotam Polizer were organizing volunteers back in 2016 to help Haitian survivors of Hurricane Matthew.
In November, the IDF announced that Avraham Yitzhak will be the first colonel of Ethiopian descent in IDF history when he becomes chief medical officer of the IDF Southern Command. Yitzhak came to Israel in 1991, graduated in medicine at Ben Gurion University and was the first Ethiopian-Israeli combat doctor.
Israel received rare recognition from the BBC in December, when (after protest for their initial snub) BBC News finally interviewed Weizmann Institute’sProfessor Avigdor Scherz, co-developer of the globally acclaimed TOOKAD prostate cancer treatment. Also in December, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began his series of global trips to improve Israel’s international relations and bilateral trade by visiting two Muslim countries – Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. He subsequently visited London, Singapore, Australia, West Africa and of course, the USA and the UN.
In January the PM announced that Member of Knesset Ayoub Kara would become the first lawmaker from Israel’s Druze community to serve as a cabinet minister. In his previous role as Deputy Minister of Regional Cooperation, Kara was instrumental in setting up Israeli help for Syrian refugees in Syria, Israel and Jordan. Also in January, Israel’s leading crowdfunding organization OurCrowd, founded by entrepreneur Jon Medved, hosted Israel’s largest investment event with over 6,000 attendees. Most of OurCrowd’s portfolio of 110 startups were on view.
In February new judges chosen to sit on Israel’s Supreme Court of Justice included a Christian Arab, George Kara, and Yael Vilner – the first orthodox Jewish woman to get a permanent seat on Israel’s highest court. In the same month Dr. Michal Kaufmann of Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital performed cochlear implant surgery on 16 Palestinian Arab deaf and mute children to allow them to hear for the first time in their lives.
Then in March, Israeli scientists announced one of the biggest breakthroughs in cancer treatment when they used derivatives of Phenanthridine to make tumor cells self-destruct in the most resistant and incurable cancers. Also in March Intel purchased Israel’s Mobileye, founded by Ziv Aviram and Amnon Shashua, for $15 billion. Mobileye continues to be managed in Israel and expand through partnerships with Fiat-Chrysler and China’s Yutong and Nio.
Another Israeli company, SodaStream, led by David Birnbaum, unveiled its new packaging in March. It includes a picture of the Israeli flag, accompanied by the caption: “This product is made by Arabs and Jews working side by side in peace and harmony.
One of April’s highlights was when Israeli President Rivlin invited Arab teacher Jehan Jaber to his Jerusalem residence, to praise her for teaching Hebrew to Arab elementary school children. The video of Jehan teaching catchy song “Geshem, Geshem Metaftef” (“Rain, rain is dripping”) went viral, with over two million views. In May Yehiel Tal, CEO of Israel’s CollPlant, which has been developing collagen-based bio-ink, made a major announcement. He said that CollPlant is now “working with several large international companies, with the aim of collaborating in the development of organs and tissues printing.”
Meanwhile, Israeli NGO Innovation: Africa, founded by Sivan Ya’ari, publicized its work installing solar power systems to provide electricity for Africans to pump water, illuminate homes and power medical centers. Sivan’s 8-year-old daughter then visited Uganda to see her mother’s work at first hand.
In June, researchers at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital, led by Professor Benjamin Rubinoff, transplanted retinal pigment cells from embryonic stem cells to prevent five sufferers of retinal degeneration from going blind. In the same month, Jerusalem Rabbi Dov Benyaacov-Kurtzman setup the UK National Emergency Response, Resilience and Treatment Program for Stress and Trauma. Its first work was with the victims of the Manchester UK bombing.
In July Eli Beer, founder and President of United Hatzalah, explained his organization’s revolutionary model of life-saving at the largest dedication of emergency vehicles in Israel’s history. Later, in August United Hatzalah despatched its Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit to Houston, Texas.
In September, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon took up his new position as Vice President of the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly (GA). Earlier in the year, as chair of the United Nations Legal Committee, Danon increased respect for Israel at the UN. He saw two Israeli-sponsored resolutions passed by the GA and arranged a co-operation agreement with United Nations Women – the world body’s institution for the empowerment of women. He even organized a UN event to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Israel’s reunification of Jerusalem. Then just before this Rosh Hashana as the presiding GA chair, he proudly invited Israeli PM Netanyahu to speak to the General Assembly.