SOLAR PLEXUS

A site devoted to to understanding the world we live in and to making a difference.

…And now for the GOOD NEWS

I’ve spent the last few posts discussing Iran and have read many articles, pro and against. At the end there is little doubt in my mind that the interim  agreement will mean the end of effective sanctions and that this was clearly understood by the negotiators. The 2 important questions which remain are:

1.    Will Iran quietly enter the global family of nations and cease its rogue behaviour especially vis-a-vis Israel? Since this outcome seems unlikely (but not wholly impossible) we come to the next question…

2.   If it continues with its sabre-rattling, nuclear militarization, terror-supporting activities, what will be Israel’s response?

All this is going on alongside the so-called “peace process”. They are clearly related and all this will provide an enormous test of Israel’s clarity of vision and resolve.  Expect this kind of argument:

Netanyahu is trapped in a conceptual and emotional rut which narrows his vision and ensures that he militarises potentially diplomatic problems. This leads to a vicious cycle of mutual distrust and hostility. He thus needs to have the the confidence to ignore provocative statements and actions from hardliners in Iran and the Arab-Muslim world and trust in the Western (specially USA) commitment to Israel’s security and in Israel’s own strength. In other words, Netanyahu (and by extension, Israel) is a spoiler getting in the way of a more relaxed and harmonious international order.

This is a very seductive line but I simply don’t trust it. I don’t trust either the West or the USA or the supposed willingness of  Iran and other segments of the Middle East-North Africa axis to join the democratic and peaceful bloc. I believe that only unyielding strength and determination will persuade the leaders and populations of these countries to resist fantasies of revenge and destruction and enter into a genuine diplomatic process. Obama is destabilising  the international order while setting Israel up as the scapegoat.

But despite all that I have written and contrary to the constant stream of bad news and propaganda from the Middle East, Israel is a lot more than the militarised, beleaguered State she is made out to be. One of her many extraordinary achievements is the capacity to live life to the full in the midst of uncertainty and anxiety. Let us trumpet this wonderful reality and make known to the South African population just how much in the way of achievement and sheer enjoyment of life Israel can provide. To help us I reproduce below a list of websites received from Adie Judes of Group18 which show just what Israel has achieved in the face of adversity. It should be a lesson to us all and I will make every attempt to bring this to the attention of readers in the future.

So dip in at your leisure:

Mike Berger

From G-18

In the 1st Dec 2013 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:
·        An Israeli non-invasive treatment was used to cure a Jerusalem shopkeeper of essential tremor.
·        Special Israeli shoes will straighten infants’ deformed feet in six weeks.
·        Following the typhoon, Israeli medics treated over 2600 injured Filipinos and delivered 36 babies.
·        An Israeli company won an international prize for saving drinking water in the Philippines.
·        Israel has many job opportunities for unemployed US citizens.
·        A Jewish altar has been discovered in Shiloh that predates King Solomon’s Temple.
·        Last week’s JPost Israel Good News descriptive summary
Click here for “Israel is Weird and Wonderful” (fast-loading, text-only version, no adverts).
·        Click here to see the newsletter on Jewish Business News.
Page down for more details on these and other good news stories from Israel.
 ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
 
Israeli cured of essential tremor.  At Haifa’s Rambam hospital, the first Israeli has been cured of essential tremor using ExAblate Neuro – the non-invasive focused ultrasound treatment from Israel’s InSightec.  Also a recent BBC program featuring the treatment, but no mention of the name of the equipment, or that it is Israeli.
 
Doctors seeking doctors.  Israeli start-up Qure has developed a smartphone app that allows doctors worldwide to locate and communicate with their fellow professionals.  Qure maps physicians globally with a navigation tool to find a particular expert.  It then provides a closed network for private communications.
Intensive Care Unit on a motorcycle.  Israel’s emergency service Magen David Adom in Jerusalem has introduced unique ICU motorcycles. These are fully equipped with rescue and ICU capabilities so that MDA paramedics can get to patients faster and stabilize them until ambulances arrive to evacuate them to hospital.
$1 million to research brain disorders.  Researchers from Ben-Gurion University, plus the University of Heidelberg and Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin are investigating the impact of mitochondria on memory and brain disorders. The team has been awarded a $1 million German-Israel Project-Cooperation Grant.
Cannabis cures Crohn’s?  Israel is a pioneer of the medical properties of cannabis / marijuana. A study by scientists at Tel Aviv University and Kfar Saba’s Meir Hospital has shown it to give Crohns’ disease sufferers significant relief from their symptoms. Some of them said the disease went into remission.  An estimated 0.3 percent of the general population suffers from Crohn’s disease.
Straightening babies’ feet.  Another Israeli medical products mentioned last week is the UNFO foot brace. The device is worn below the ankle and rectifies infant foot deformities (metatarsus adductus or metatarsus varus) within six weeks.  It is far superior, safer, and less stressful than a cast or full leg braces.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Ikea Israel helps toddlers with disabilities.  Ikea in Israel has raised funds to help two Israeli charities (Akim and Chimes) renovate an educational and therapeutic center for toddlers with disabilities in Jaffa.
Israeli technology treats PA sewage.  Israeli water treatment company Mapal Green Energy is building a a sewage water reclamation system for the Palestinian Arab village of Uja, near Jericho. It will recycle domestic sewage and water for use in agriculture.
Saving lives in Israel and the world.  Good summary in the UK Sunday Telegraph of the work of Israel’s emergency service Magen David Adom both nationally and globally.
Syrians treated in Israel:  IsraAid has provided almost $100,000 in nutritional and hygienic assistance to displaced Syrians. Plus, some aid examples and of the wounded Syrians treated in Israeli hospitals.  Then watch a two-minute BBC program on the Syrians being treated at Israel’s Ziff Hospital in Tsfat.
 
Israel in the Philippines  Israeli doctors treated 300 Philippine injured per day and delivered three-dozen babies.  The team also rebuilt a school enabling 350 children to restart classes and their parents to return to work. The 148-member team has now handed over to a EU delegation having treated over 2600 patients.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
The Technion: The Engine of a Young Nation.  Richard Baehr, Chief Political Correspondent of American Thinker, was most impressed with his visit to Israel’s Institute of Technology.
Where to stick your phone?  If your mobile phone keeps sliding around the inside of your car, then you need an Israeli “Sticko”.  The gadget will stick your phone to your dashboard, windshield or any window.  You can also stick other items – like a shower gel bottle to the wall of the shower.  See the video.
Protection against multiple threats.  (Thanks to Nevet www.BroaderView.org) Israel’s RADA has developed a tactical Multi-Mission Hemispheric Radar (MHR) to detect UAVs, mortars, and rockets.  Boeing is currently evaluating the system.
Recycling US vehicles for peace.  (Thanks to Nevet www.BroaderView.org) Elbit Systems of America, a subsidiary of Israel’s Elbit Systems, refurbishes hundreds of obsolete military vehicles at its Land Vehicle Center.  60-year-old vehicles have been put into world peacekeeping roles at a fraction of the cost of new ones.
Before the typhoon.  Israel’s water management company Miya won the Drinking Water Supply – Software category in this year’s IWA Project Innovation Awards for its work reducing water leakage in Manila, Philippines.  Water lost through faulty systems was reduced from 67% to 38% – saving 700 million liters a day.
Israeli cooking app goes global.  Israeli startup Kinetic Art is producing a vegetarian cooking application of 20 of America’s leading chefs in association with the James Beard Foundation culinary organization.  The application, called “The Best of the Best”, will be available for iPad, iPhone and Android devices.
The best start-up at IDCEE 2013.  Israeli company Ubertesters won the best startup award, and a prize of about $20,000 in the IDCEE 2013 international technology conference held in Kiev, Ukraine.  Ubertesters presented its cloud-based platform for the crowdsourced testing of mobile applications.
Database of Israeli companies fighting climate change.  The Ministry of Economy presented a database of the Israeli companies that offer Adaptation technologies at the Warsaw Climate Change Conference. The companies address climate, waste, green building materials, agriculture and crisis management.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Agritech – Israel’s commercial future.  Israel has become a world leader in advanced precision farming techniques, water optimization, robotics, sensor driven technology and environmentally friendly agrochemicals.  All will be on display at the 2nd annual Agrivest Conference on Dec 3 at the Eretz Israel Museum, Tel-Aviv.
The best in business.  Top speakers at Globes Israel Business Conference include OECD Secretary General Angel Gurría, Professor Stanley Fischer and Dr. Fatih Biron, one of the most influential experts in the energy industry.  The event takes place at the Dan Intercontinental Hotel in Tel Aviv on Dec 8-9.
Don’t suffer unemployment – come to Israel.  (Thanks to Nevet – www.BroaderView.org) Interesting article that suggests Americans should consider working in Israel after college.  Between 4.8 and 14.7 per cent of US graduates cannot find jobs locally.  Many American companies have specific jobs pages for their Israel sites.
Global and dynamic.  Israel has been ranked second in the Global Dynamism Index science and technology sector of worldwide accountancy firm Grant Thornton International.  Only South Korea was higher.  Israel was eighth in the overall Global Dynamism Index rankings.
Engineering Israeli-UK projects.  British engineering firm Arup is working with Israel’s national water carrier Mekorot and several Israeli start-ups, both globally and also to bring their technologies to Britain. Arup is supported by the UK Israel Tech Hub at the British Embassy in Tel Aviv.
Paraguay offers a springboard to Israeli trade.  Paraguay’s visiting Trade and Investment Minister Gustavo Leite said that an Israeli-Paraguayan partnership would bring Israel’s hi-tech and technology to Paraguay whilst Israel would acquire an instant ability to expand its markets throughout South America.
Israel’s Spice Girls.  (Thanks to Charlie) “Tavlinim” (Hebrew for “spices”) is a group of women in Netivot who formed a cooperative in order to cater at events on a commercial basis.  The group is supported by Philadelphia’s Partnership2Gether.  Most of the women originated from Morocco, Tunisia and Ethiopia. http://blog.ifcj.org/post/israels-spice-girls
Scramble for Israeli technology firms.  CNN records the growing success of Israeli hi-tech start-ups that has attracted the interest of major global giants.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
Heritage coin wins international prize.  The NIS 2 Silver Proof commemorative coin in the UNESCO “World Heritage Sites” series issued by the Bank of Israel and dedicated to the water supply system at Tel Megiddo has won a prize at the tenth annual Vicenza Numismatica International Competition held in the city of Vicenza, Italy. It was chosen as the “Most Beautiful Architectural Representation on a Coin Minted in 2012”.
The Beatles as never seen before.  Another unique performance from Rabbis Arie and Gil Gat.
“Everything is wonderful here”.  Please take a look at the redeveloped Independence Square in my hometown of Netanya. (Turn down the speakers if the music isn’t as attractive as the visuals.)
THE JEWISH STATE
“And you shall chose life.”  This article explains the simple reason why Israel has been sending rescue missions and humanitarian aid across the world for the past 60 years.  It gives examples from the Greek earthquake of 1953 to the Philippines in 2013.
New Orleans supports Israel.   Chloe Valdary has made this powerful and inspiring video about the Jewish State.  Chloe is a black American woman who is organizing the second annual pro-Israel Festival in New Orleans next year.  Please support her project.
Majorca’s master chef returns to the Jewish people.  For centuries the family of Tony Pina practiced Judaism secretly in Majorca.  Now, 500 years after forced conversion to Christianity, Tony has returned to his roots in Jerusalem, defying history, logic and the impossible.
Biblical altar discovered at Shiloh.  Archeologists have found the first physical evidence that the ancient city of Shiloh (in Judea and Samaria) was a religious center before the First Temple was built in Jerusalem.  An Iron Age stone altar was accidentally exposed during a recent archeological dig.

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