Why the world should care about Israel

As Israel gets slammed over and over again in social media during its recent conflict with Hamas, the more apparent it is that many people are not aware of what impact the small country (about the size of New Jersey) has had in the world.

Here’s a reminder, courtesy of israel21c:

Medical

Israel’s medical discoveries have already improved the lives of millions of people around the world. These include an ingestible video camera that fits inside a pill that helps doctors diagnose cancer and digestive disorders; fingertip monitors for sleep disorders and cardiac issues; and an emergency bandage that closes open wounds quickly and temporarily before further evaluation and treatment.

This year, Israeli researchers and engineers are working on a number of innovative projects that the world will benefit from, including a radiation-free alternative for breast-cancer detection; a patented lens to improve radiation therapy for cancer patients of all ages; the world’s first 3D holographic display and interaction system for use in operating rooms; the potential for restoring memory and protecting the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease; a way to preserve the fertility of young female cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy; products for families of children with autism; an “internal bra,” affixed to rib bones underneath the breasts of women with sagging breasts; shoe technologies that help people avoid falls and regain proper gait after strokes and other injuries; and technology using automatic DNA analysis to streamline the process of detecting, diagnosing and tracking infectious diseases.

Technology

Israel’s high-tech developments are already used in homes, offices and businesses around the world. Pioneering technologies include the PC anti-virus software; Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP); the technology for AOL Instant Messenger; and voice mail technology. Most of the Windows NT operating system was developed by Microsoft-Israel, and the Pentium MMX Chip technology was designed in Israel at Intel. There are more than 3,000 high-tech companies and start-ups in Israel, which represents the highest concentration of high-tech companies in the world apart from the Silicon Valley.

Among the many developments Israeli inventors are currently working on are the world’s first mini-mobile printer; wearable technology; a way to turn smartphones or tablets into a machine that recognizes face movements and hand gestures, for use by people with disabilities; noise-canceling technology; and a device that can be plugged into the USB port of any shared laptop, netbook or desktop to transform it into a personal computer for each user.

International companies also seek out Israel for matters of security, including cyber-security and cyber-defense, and countries look to Israel for airport security technologies.

Environmental

Israel leads the world in the environmental field, including innovations in solar power generation and seawater desalination. A drip irrigation system that minimizes the amount of water used to grow crops was developed by Israeli engineers and agriculturalists.

This year, Israeli engineers and researchers are working on several inventions, such as solar panels that fit inside “curtain walls” and generate solar electricity for a high-rise building while allowing light inside and a product that could inexpensively detect bacteria in food-processing plants, hospitals and municipal water supplies.

Religious freedom and civil rights

Many holy sites for multiple religions exist in Israel, and it’s only under Israeli rule that, barring security threats, all are free to practice their religion there. That’s not the case in neighboring Syria and Iraq, where Christians are being persecuted by Islamic State (ISIS) and being told to convert to Islam, pay a tax or face death.

Israel’s laws guarantee equal rights for LGBT Israelis, which certainly isn’t the case in other countries in the region, where LGBT individuals face beatings, imprisonment or death.

International relief

Israel has provided humanitarian relief around the world (including its neighbors in Gaza during the current war). These include after recent floods in Serbia and Bosnia, the 2009 and 2013 typhoons in the Philippines, the 2011 earthquake in Turkey, the 2011 earthquake in Japan, the 2011 tsunami in Japan, the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Israel also treats patients from around the world inside its own hospitals. In 2012, Israel hospitals took care of nearly 222,000 Palestinian Arabs, according to a 2013 report published by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Unit.

Meanwhile, Israel’s neighbors are currently primarily known for terrorism. Hamas, a militant Islamic fundamentalist group whose charter calls for Israel’s destruction, has ruled Gaza since 2007 (which despite the cry for #FreeGaza, Palestinian Arabs never previously had sovereignty in Gaza. It was under Egyptian rule before Israel gained control in 1967 and before that, the British and Ottoman Empires. And in 2005 when Israel disengaged itself from Gaza, it uprooted about 10,000 settlers, and left it in the hands of the Palestinian Authority).

What happened once Israel left Gaza? Hamas and other terrorists have launched thousands of rockets and mortars out of Gaza into Israel. Since its formation, Israel has transformed its land from a wasteland into thriving cities and farms. In contrast, Gaza immediately destroyed the more than 3,000 greenhouses that were meant to help Palestinian Arabs rebuild Gaza and instead of using donated concrete to build homes and businesses, Hamas built terror tunnels leading to Israeli land.

For a country that could fit into Maricopa County – and is so small on the world map that its name can’t fit inside, so it is often written in the Mediterranean Sea – Israel’s impact upon the world is phenomenal. Why does it seem to be considered such a monster on the world stage? While Israel is busy defending itself from those who aim to destroy it, Islamic militants are slaughtering hundreds daily in Syria and Iraq and many governments around the world are committing horrific human rights violations against their own people.

And yet, why are those #FreeGaza proponents only targeting Israel with their condemnations when the world can benefit so much from Israel’s survival?

Leisah Woldoff is managing editor of Phoenix’s Jewish News.

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