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January 30, 2015 / 10 Shevat, 5775
 
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A Tu B’Shvat Tribute to Israel

The grape harvest in Ofek Vineyard in Zur Hadassah.

The grape harvest in Ofek Vineyard in Zur Hadassah.
Photo Credit: Flash90

Israel is a vibrant country of tremendous innovation. Israel is not only the “Start-Up Nation” in the field of technology, producing, among many other inventions, our text messaging, voice mail, and computer technology, but Israel is also among the leaders in medical and environmental innovations.

An imaging system to diagnose malaria, the Pillcam which aids in medical procedures, an electromagnetic brain device for autism and schizophrenia, ReWalk robotic exoskeleton enabling paraplegics to walk and climb stairs without assistance, non-invasive ultrasound surgery that destroys tumors inside the body, Copaxone – the world’s top-selling treatment for multiple sclerosis, this is to name just a few of the countless medical innovations Israel has made.

In a survey conducted of 61 experts from 20 countries, the Haifa-based Technion, Israel’s oldest university, was ranked sixth in the world for entrepreneurship and innovation. The report placed Israel, as a country, in third place for entrepreneurship and innovation, after the US and the UK. Among the Technion’s achievements is the invention of the memory stick, drip irrigation, the Parkinson’s drug Rasagiline, the Iron Dome air defense system and Instant Messaging.

MASHAV, an organization which operates under the auspices of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for decades has been exporting Israeli innovations and sharing with developing countries knowledge of the technologies that helped in Israel’s own development.

Israel regularly brings children and medical personnel from developing countries as part of their Save a Child’s Heart(SACHS) mission. Thousands of youngsters have received emergency heart care from volunteer doctors in Israel. Cardiac surgery and care is provided in Israeli hospitals, while the medical professionals from the visiting countries are trained so that they can bring this knowledge home.

Israel’s desire to contribute is also demonstrated by acting as first responders in times of crisis the world over.

Israel provided aid to Southeast Asia after the tsunami of 2004. In 2010, Israel was among the first nations to send relief and rescue units to Haiti after the earthquake. A mother of a baby delivered at the field hospital Israel had set up named the baby “Israel” in gratitude.

In 2011, Israel sent aid to Turkey after a massive earthquake hit the country’s eastern region.

Israel sent an aid team to Japan at the time of the earthquake and tsunami of 2011.

In Boston, in the wake of the horrific Marathon Day bombings, doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital credited Israel with training the hospital’s first-response team and readying it to treat mass-casualty incidents.

And in response to the typhoon in the Philippines, a 150-member delegation, as well as, 100 tons of humanitarian and medical supplies were dispatched in aid. The Israeli field hospital became the central medical facility in the area, treating on average over 300 patients a day.

This is the reality of modern Israel: a nation that has rebuilt her ancestral homeland, and, in a span of only 65 years, has become a leader in innovation and in life-saving programs and technologies, a nation which continually reaches out a hand to contribute productively and compassionately the world over.

On Tu B’Shvat, as we celebrate our cherished Jewish homeland, we think of our beloved State of Israel, with love, pride, and gratitude.

 

 

About the Author: Yishai Fleisher is the Contributing Editor and PR manager at the JewishPress.com, and Israel's only English language broadcast radio show host (Galey Yisrael 106.5FM). Yishai is an Israeli Paratrooper, a graduate of Cardozo Law School, and the founder of Kumah ("Arise" in Hebrew), an NGO dedicated to promoting Zionism and strengthening Israel's national character. Yishai is married to Malkah, they have two children, and they live on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.


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