Regular readers of this blog will hopefully have enjoyed the news of Israel’s achievements over the past year. Well the good news is that 5773 is likely to be even better. Just look at the following promising recent developments.
Researchers at Schneider Children’s medical centre have discovered the defective gene that causes fatty liver disease, which will lead to screening and hopefully a new treatment. Meanwhile, Hebrew University of Jerusalem researchers have discovered how the brain controls bone development. Together with previous research on protein interleukin-1 it explains why brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy and even depression often accompany osteoporosis and has huge potential for new therapies.
Israel’s humanitarian and social work continues. IsraAID, the Israel Forum for International Humanitarian Aid, has been training Japanese students from the Tohoku earthquake region. The leadership program empowers youth from Tohoku to take responsibility for their future as individuals and as a community. Then following on from a project initiated in April 2011, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon signed a cooperation agreement with Kenya and Germany to promote fish farming techniques and the desalination and purification of the waters of Lake Victoria. Back home, the Tel Aviv branch of Citibank helped get new Ethiopian-Israeli students off to a good start on their first day at school, by donating backpacks and school supplies.
Israel is certain to advance its work in Robotics during the coming year. Already Israeli classrooms are being transformed by innovative teaching methods such as that demonstrated by RoboThespian who here is teaching a class of Israeli children how to work with weights and levers. Lessons were never like this in my time. And if that fascinated you, then you will really appreciate watching the following New Year greeting video from the robots of Israel’s Technion.
Israel’s work with clean technology will definitely improve our environment in 5773. For example, Israel’s Seambiotic is turning pollution into bio-fuel. Its patented technology takes the Carbon Dioxide (a greenhouse gas) directly from smokestacks and uses it to feed algae for bio-fuel projects in Ohio and Italy and for the vitamin industry in China. Then just one week after Tel Aviv announced a new environmental school, Israel’s capital of Jerusalem is also to build one. The 2,000-square-meter facility will overlook Sacher Park on the Hebrew University campus. Meanwhile, Israel’s environmentally friendly electric car infrastructure looks destined to expand further overseas. The European Investment Bank is financing Better Place’s future operations in Denmark.
Several of the exciting products from Israeli hi-tech companies can really transform the future. In fact, that’s exactly what the World Economic Forum said about Israel’s PrimeSense and its 3D sensing technology for Microsoft’s Kinect for XBox 360. Another product - the new keyboard from Israel’s KeyView - may also transform the work of people like me who seem to be permanently attached to their computers. KeyView’s Smartype has a sophisticated built-in display, so that writers no longer need to split their focus between a keyboard and computer screen, thus helping minimize typing errors, reducing neck strain and maximizing productivity.
Despite the economic downturn and having to layoff thousands of staff, Israel’s unemployment rate actually fell in July to 6.5% from 7.1% in June. Additionally, the workforce increased from 59% to 59.8% of the population. No wonder that Jews across America are making their way to the “Holy land of opportunity”. This is evidenced in the recent major surge in interest for the job search sites of Nefesh B’Nefesh and Janglo.
However, one new arrival in the Jewish State is unlikely to be joining the jobs market. At 96 years of age, Lily Hyde is believed to the oldest Australian ever to immigrate to Israel.
"It’s a dream come true,” she said.
Let’s hope all our dreams of a better future come true in 5773
Michael Ordman writes a weekly newsletter containing Good News stories about Israel.