Almost exactly five years ago, my wife and I made the best move of our lives when we immigrated to Israel. I’d like to share some further recent examples of moving experiences that highlight where Israelis are making a positive impact on a personal, national and global level.
In the medical arena, scientists at the Hebrew University’s Hadassah Medical School, in Israel’s capital, have managed to disrupt the movement of cancer cells within the body. Working on the HIV virus, they discovered a peptide (small protein) that interferes with a cancer cell’s ability to repair itself. Then over at Tel Aviv University scientists have developed a protein coating that stops the body’s immune system from moving to attack invasive electrodes used to treat brain diseases. The legendary boxer Muhamad Ali no longer moves like he used to in the ring as he suffers from Parkinson's disease. His daughter, Rasheda Ali, is a member of the advisory board of Israeli biotech Brainstorm, and went to Hadassah Ein Kerem to see Professor Karussis’s latest stem cell work for treating brain diseases.
Psychology student Alexa Yakubovich was certainly moved by her voluntary work at Israel’s Save A Child’s Heart centre in Holon. In fact she admitted that it had changed her life forever. As she played with a healed Palestinian Arab baby she wrote, “people can be brought together over a healed heart and a smile”. Rafi Rembrandt was unable to calm down his autistic son with a real hug in the way that parents often calm their normal children. This moved him to invent the BioHug Vest which Israeli company BioHug Technologies demonstrated at ICare4Autism’s International Autism Conference in Jerusalem.
Details of Israel’s innovations were moved onto the agenda of the United Nations when humanitarian organisation Jewish Heart for Africa received special consultative status to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The New York based NGO focuses on bringing Israeli sustainable technologies to African villages. Meanwhile, following CleanTech2012, Israeli companies are moving out to Japan to help reconstruct the area destroyed when the whole region was moved by an 8.9 magnitude earthquake and resultant tsunami last year.
Israeli technology is helping the police move against organised crime. Researchers at Israel’s Tel-Hai Academic College are developing a chip that can use unmatched DNA to identify the sex, height, age, hair colour and type, eye colour and ethnic background of the offender — and even if he/she is right or left-handed. Next, the Israeli smartphone application YouHoo can help you connect with a group of your friends within a 1000-meter radius when you are on the move. At music events, parties, conferences or just waiting for buses, trains or planes, it takes social networking to a new level. We could all be moving a lot more following the imminent release of Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system, which supports gesture recognition. Two Israeli hi-tech companies, eyeSight and PointGrab, have 95% of the market in gesture technology and will be holding up their hands in anticipation of their products being shipped with new laptops.
We move up to a whole new level with these next three items. On the planet Mars, the rover vehicle “Curiosity” is moving successfully around an alien environment thanks to a check-up by software developed from Siemens Israel. Slightly lower, in Earth’s atmosphere, the "open skies" agreement signed between Israel and the EU means that far more people will soon be moving between Europe and the Jewish State – hopefully also paying lower fares. El Al’s pilots and flight attendants are using the time during their layovers to serve as ambassadors for Israel and move the general public to understand what it means to be Israeli.
So as I reminisce about the El Al flight on which Nefesh b’Nefesh brought me home to Israel, I was exhilarated to read that, exactly five years later, 350 new immigrants marked Nefesh B’Nefesh’s 10th anniversary by making the move to the Jewish State.
Finally, it’s never too late for any senior readers who think that they are set in their ways. Jay and Lina Padgug, ages 85 and 82, had a second chance at love when they met on JDate. The two tied the knot two years ago, and recently decided to make an old dream come true and made Aliya.
Clearly, a winning move.
Michael Ordman writes a weekly newsletter containing Good News stories about Israel.