As all the main political parties get stuck into their largely negative campaigns, it is important to remind readers of the great work that the Jewish State performs for all its citizens and for the world at large. These recent examples feature both government and non-government activities.
New and veteran immigrant (olim) families, who have a special needs child or adult at home in Israel have been granted further access to a government and private sector outreach services. As of last month, they will now receive increased rent subsidies. And it has just been revealed that, thanks to the community outreach program of Iron Dome manufacturer Rafael Industries, three employees with mental disabilities have the vital job of manufacturing parts for the IDF’s crucial defense system. Another current news article featured Leket Israel, an organization that supports Israel’s impoverished citizens by salvaging non-saleable crops from farmers and unused food from caterers and shipping them to 200 soup kitchens, homeless shelters and other institutions.
Instead of maligning Israel’s ultra-orthodox citizens, take a look at how enlightened organizations behave. The Sami Shamoon College of Engineering in Ashdod has launched a five-year degree program in civil and software engineering, which has been tailor-made for the lifestyle requirements of its 100 ultra-Orthodox participants – 70 men and 30 women. In another sphere, one religious woman has proved that “in the IDF there is place for all parts of Israeli society. Tamar is an example of the equality between the sexes in Israel.” So said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the Israel Air Force’s first religious woman navigator. Tamar was one of four women to gain their wings at this year’s Israel Air Force Flight Academy.
A new program has been launched to encourage young members of Israel’s Druse community to stretch the limits of their potential to achieve scientific or technological success. The Technion Sparks program enables 200 Israeli-Arab Druse high school students to take special science and technology courses at Israel’s Technion Institute. The project is the brainchild of Brig.-Gen. Hasson Hasson – the first Druse to serve as a military aide to a President of the State. And Israel’s Ethiopian immigrants and their veteran Israeli support teams have much to be proud of. No other population group has risen so quickly to achieve such high university rates (42%). Just think of where the community was before Operations Moses in 1984 and Solomon in 1991.
Israel’s most needy citizens, of course, are those requiring medical help. The Israeli National Health Council has just approved a NIS 300 million increase in the budget for subsidized medicines, which will benefit an additional 300,000 Israelis. The majority of the new money will be spent on preventative medicine and pre-natal testing. Alongside this, the Israel Institute for Occupational Safety and Hygiene has launched a program of specially adapted Mobile Training Units for agricultural workers nationwide. Vans containing pullout touch-screen monitors and pick-of-the-crop courses in Hebrew and Arabic, deliver in-the-field courses on accident prevention. See the larger MTUs in action in this video.
Israeli schoolchildren continually need encouragement, despite the massive improvement in their math skills over the last five years. For this purpose, Israeli company Slate Science is piloting its award-winning mathematics learning "Ten Fingers" program for tablets and smartphones at three Israeli schools, in three languages: Hebrew, Arabic, and English.
Israel is also addressing international needs. Following a recent visit by a delegation from South Carolina, Israel’s NeuroQuest is to open a development center in Charleston for its work in the early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Then to encourage research in India, the government of Israel is to give three-year scholarships grants to sixty-six post-doctoral Indian scholars to pursue research at top Israeli universities. Israel is even working with the Greek government to help it out of its economic crisis. Top Greek officials have been visiting Israel and presenting opportunities to invest in and own Greek infrastructure. Israeli companies now own several Greek hotels, the old Athens airport and one is in talks to buy Greece’s national oil company. Other international projects include cleaning up sewage in Slovenia and Croatia and installing security systems in Spanish ports.
But we return to Israel for our final news item. Fifty-three Jews from the Bnei Menashe community of northeastern India needed to return to their ancestral roots. The Bnei Menashe trace their Jewish identity to a lost biblical tribe, exiled from the Jewish State over 2700 years ago. 'It's a dream. We've been waiting for this moment for hundreds of years,' said Ben Asher, 23, who arrived with his family.
So whatever you’re after, look to the Jewish State.
Israel may have just what you need.
Michael Ordman writes a free weekly newsletter containing Good News stories about Israel.