Photo Credit: Flash 90
An Iron Dome Missile Battery near Tel Aviv on the first day of Operation Protective Edge, July 8, 2014.

by Mara Vigevani

The Iron Dome missile defense system has been voted Israel’s all-time top innovation in a competition organized by the Ministry of Economy for Israel’s 70th Independence Day celebrations which kick off Wednesday evening.

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Iron Dome got 28 percent of the 115,000 votes cast in the online competition titled “70 Great Blue and White Inventions.” Mobile navigation app Waze came in second with 17.77 percent of the votes, a fraction ahead of the drip irrigation system got 17.75 percent – a mere 12 votes separated the two.

The Israel Innovation Authority picked 70 inventions for the competition, in which nine made it through to the second stage.

The USB flash drive came in fourth with 10.96 percent of the votes, followed by the Memic’s micro-surgery robot (8.18 percent). Water Gen, a technology to extract fresh water directly from the air (8.08 percent) came in sixth while Source Sandals (4.38 percent), famous for their non-slip sole even in wet conditions was seventh. Closing off the list were Check Point Software Technologies for its firewall software (2.69 percent), and the Ofek reconnaissance satellites (2.18 percent).

All 70 inventions appear in the book “Israeli Innovation – Breakthrough Products That Changed the World,” which is scheduled for publication by the Ministry of Economy and Industry.

“During its years of existence, Israel has become a world power in everything related to technological and scientific innovation, said Minister of Industry and Economy Eli Cohen.

“I am sure that the Israeli characteristics, including original thinking, boldness, rapid adaptation to changing conditions and the ability to circumvent obstacles will help us to continue to bring to the world Israeli innovation.

“There is no dispute that the inventions that have just been chosen by the public as leading inventions are excellent examples of Israel’s ability to provide solutions to significant challenges, inspire the entire world, and are a national pride for Israel.”

Iron Dome is an anti-missile and rocket defense interception system developed in 2007 by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aircraft Industries. Since its deployment, the system has intercepted more than 1,700 missiles and rockets fired at Israel, almost entirely from the Gaza arena, although it has also downed mortar shells in the Golan Heights and intercepted rockets fired from Lebanon. The system registered a 90 percent success rate in the 2014 Gaza war.

Waze is the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation application. Invented by Ehud Shabtai in 2006, it was sold to Google for $966 million in 2013, making it the most expensive application sold until that time.

The drip irrigation system was developed in 1959 by Simcha and Yeshayahu Blass and Rafi Mahudar. The technology was quickly adopted by Kibbutz Hatzerim in the Negev because it met its needs for efficient and economical irrigation of water. The system quickly became commercial and is sold by Netafim around the world.

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