By Gal Sitty
Israel, a country with virtually no natural resources of its own to speak of in the traditional sense, was forced to discover that its only true natural resource, the human spirit, is more valuable than oil, gold or copper. Focusing from its founding on educating its populace and inventing solutions to its alarming scarcity of natural resources Israel has created an economy that thrives on the human mind.
Recently there have been several major Israeli achievements in technology and science that are sure to benefit our lives in the near future. These accomplishments are evidence of the culture of entrepreneurship, innovation and education that is pervasive throughout Israeli society.
One of the more talked about developments is the “cancer vaccine” that is currently in clinical trials at Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem. The vaccine, developed and tested by the Israeli company Vaxil, has the potential to keep 90% of cancers from coming back. Most vaccines help the immune system attack foreign invaders in the body. However, because cancer cells are the body’s own cells Vaxil’s therapeutic vaccine teaches the body’s immune system to identify a cancer cell as malignant and then attack it. This discovery has the potential to save millions.
Another Israeli company, Emefcy, has developed a wastewater treatment process which is so revolutionary that it can drastically change the economics of the industry. Traditionally, treating wastewater has been an expensive and energy intensive endeavor. Emefcy has developed a system based on microbial fuel cell technology which enables direct electricity generation from treating wastewater. Meaning that whereas in the past treating wastewater required a lot of electricity and carbon emissions, with Emefcy’s new method treating wastewater will soon be able to not only clean water but to create electricity which can be fed into the grid while doing so.
A research project collaboration between Tel Aviv University’s Porter School of Environmental Science, the Hebrew University and the University of Tuscia in Viterbo, Italy has discovered a way to grow trees in the barren Arava Desert in southern Israel. The scientists involved expect this project to be a blueprint for reducing mankind’s carbon footprint and improving air quality. By using wastewater to nurture plants specifically chosen for their ability to grow in harsh environments, this initiative was able to grow trees on land previously considered to be unusable. This effort can then be exported to vast tracks of land which have similar ecosystems in India, Central Asia and Africa thereby improving the environmental quality in these larger areas as well.
These are just a few of the many groundbreaking Israeli contributions which will improve the world. At a time when many misguided people are advocating to boycott, divest and sanction Israel it is important to note how harmful their efforts would be to world peace. This is not just because attempts to hurt the Israeli economy would ultimately hurt the Palestinians as well. Israeli efforts to develop new clean energy technologies, water management systems and other such innovations will improve mankind’s ability to provide for itself without harming the environment. This would make resources more abundant while improving quality of life, creating less tensions among the nations of the world to control or hoard resources.