It’s hard to believe 64 years after Israel reached its modern independence that we would be in an incessant world discussion about how to carve up the Jewish state even more to provide a new homeland for more Arabs. After all, in 1947 the UN parceled out more land for an Arab state (Transjordan – now Jordan) while the land mass designated for Israel made it one of the smallest nations on Earth. Unlike neighboring Arab countries that occupy large areas (Saudi Arabia is 1/4th the size of the United States), Israel is about the size of New Jersey.
So besides the Arab world’s ongoing disgruntlement with Israel being predominantly Jewish, astonishingly successful and completely democratic, what else could be causing this inability to make peace? Perhaps a six-decade old grudge held by attacking Arab neighbors — Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq — after Israel singlehandedly whooped them all in 1948? You’ve got to admit 40 million Arabs attacking 650,000 Jews ranks as the single worst homecoming gift of all time. So as a tribute to Israel and its 64th birthday, let’s look at what this small, innovative, Jewish country has accomplished in just six decades. Drum roll, please:
Even with its ongoing struggle for survival in a hostile neighborhood, Israel has remained one of the most productive countries on the planet. In fact, Israel has the most college graduates per capita. It has more companies on the NASDAQ than any country outside North America. Much of the technology that we use today we can thank Israelis for inventing. Those breakthroughs include cell phones, voice mail technology, instant messaging, firewall security software, and Intel wireless computer chips. Motorola has its largest research and development center in Israel, and Microsoft is there too. Anyone using Windows operating systems can high-five Microsoft-Israel for most of its development.
Do you have all day and then some? The list of Israel’s achievement is exhaustive and includes technology for AOL Instant Messenger: ICQ. And if you rely on a mobile phone, a PC, or instant messaging to get through your day then you’re benefiting from technology originally developed in Israel. In fact, Israel holds the largest concentration of high-tech industries in the world per capita. Now you know why Israel is often referred to as “The Silicon Valley of the Middle East.”
But there’s more. Israelis have made countless contributions to our society including medical breakthroughs allowing surgeons to examine internal organs through miniature video camera capsules. An Israeli-made device helps restore the use of paralyzed hands. This ingenious device electrically stimulates hand muscles, and also offers hope to millions of stroke sufferers and those with spinal-cord injuries. Now, young children with breathing problems can rest easier thanks to a new Israeli fuss-free device called the Child Hood.
As recently as 2010, Israeli scientists developed a method that can eradicate HIV-infected cells without affecting healthy ones. Here are more accomplishments that make Israel a standout in a sea of hypocrisy:
• Over 90% of Israeli homes use solar energy for hot water – the highest percentage in the world
• Israel has the highest number of solar-power water heaters per capita (Guinness Book)
• Israelis hold more patents per person than do citizens of any other nation.
• Israel has more engineers and scientists per capita than any other country.
• Israel produces more scientific papers per capita than any other nation.
• Israel has the world’s second highest release of new books per citizen.
• More than 85 percent of solid waste in Israel is treated in an environmentally sound manner.
• Drip irrigation is an Israeli invention that accounts for significant water conservation and reduction in world hunger.
There are so many more life-saving, technological, environmental and innovative contributions that Israel has made to the world. My list would be longer but I’ve run out of time. For more, please visit, Why Israel Matters or Israel21C.
Jennifer Hanin must love Israel. She spends her days advocating for the Jewish State she has never stepped foot in. Besides her passion for Israel and its people, she is an award-winning writer, influential blogger, and critically acclaimed author of What to Do When You Can’t Get Pregnant: the Complete Guide to All the Technologies for Couples Facing Fertility Problems (Da Capo, 2005). Newsweek (July 4, 2005) recommended Jennifer’s book as one to buy when undergoing fertility treatments. Jennifer's most recent highly acclaimed book is Becoming Jewish: The Challenges, Rewards and Paths to Conversion (Rowman & Littlefield, September 2011). JTA ranked Jennifer @jennhanin as #38 on their 100 Most Influential Jewish Twitter Users for 2010, and #10 in the category of Politics and Policy. She also won Shorty Awards in the categories of Religion and Judaism in 2009. She has appeared on television and radio to discuss her book and blog, and her blog has generated interest from every continent except Antarctica. Editors have translated her work into Dutch, Russian, Portuguese, Chinese, Spanish, French and Arabic.