By Gal Sitty
2011 was a year in which Israel’s continued contributions to the World received increasing recognition. Whether it was disaster relief in Japan, helping to feed people in sub-Saharan Africa, or ground breaking discoveries in science, Israel was at the forefront of the all the major positive developments of 2011.
Here is a piece by piece look at some of Israel’s impressive achievements in 2011:
Chemist Dan Shechtman became the 10th Israeli to be awarded a Nobel Prize. Shechtman’s discovered chemical structures previously thought to be impossible to exist. His groundbreaking work opened up entirely new fields of research.
The Israeli humanitarian relief agency, IsraAID, was the recipient of numerous awards for its efforts in helping the victims of Japan’s devastating earthquake and tsunami earlier this year. IsraAID dispatched medical and post-trauma units to three locations in Japan along with over 20 tons of relief items (see video below). IsraAID established a 2-year plan for relief and rebuilding efforts in Japan and has recently sent its fifth delegation to the country. IsraAID also operated in many more areas of need including South Sudan and Kenya.
Israel became one of the first nations to formally recognize the newest country in the world, South Sudan. Israel has pledged extensive aid in helping the extremely underdeveloped country build infrastructure and develop expertise in agriculture and water management among many other things. As such, Israel was one of the first countries that the newly formed State’s President paid an official visit to.
Many technological breakthroughs that may soon greatly improve our lives and our environment were achieved this year in Israel. The company Better Place unveiled the first electric car with “battery switching” technology that allows drivers to switch out the drained battery for a fully charged one in less time then it takes to fill a tank of gas. Emefcy announced its development of a method to generate electricity from the treatment of wastewater; this could have an exponentially beneficial impact on our environment as wastewater treatment has traditionally been very energy intensive.
New developments in medicine may soon save millions of lives. Of the more noteworthy accomplishments is the development of a “cancer vaccine“, currently in clinical trials, which teaches the body’s immune system to attack cancer cells. Israeli scientists also identified a glucose sensing enzyme that can trigger natural insulin production, possibly helping to end Type 1 Diabetes.