Richard Block
A Leading American Rabbi
Farewell 2019

100 inspiring Israel headlines in 2019

The world's first 3-D printed heart, the Beresheet moon launch, aid to Samoan measle victims, and 97 other reasons to smile
Professor Tal Dvir presents a 3D print of a heart with human tissue at Tel Aviv University on April 15, 2019. (Jack Guez/ AFP)
Professor Tal Dvir presents a 3D print of a heart with human tissue at Tel Aviv University on April 15, 2019. (Jack Guez/ AFP)

As a citizen of the US and Israel with homes in both, a political liberal, a Jew and a rabbi, I love both countries wholeheartedly, but I am also intimately aware of their shortcomings. Like all nations, they make mistakes and can be their own worst enemy. These cause me disappointment, concern, frustration and occasional despair, but they fail to extinguish my admiration, my determination to see them grow in goodness, and my hopefulness and optimism about their future.

Israel’s virtues and achievements, especially, are far too little known and appreciated. Traditional and social media focus obsessively on its conflict with the Palestinians and on its defects — real, exaggerated and imagined. Thus, both Israel’s detractors and more than a few of its supporters are profoundly uninformed; the former are willfully ignorant, the latter, insufficiently attentive.

The truth is this: Israel is vastly more than the sum of its conflicts and flaws. This truth needs and deserves to be known.

Consider this list, by no means comprehensive, of articles about Israel published by less widely circulated sources in 2019 alone, demonstrating Israel’s medical, scientific, technological, societal, security, counterterrorism, and humanitarian contributions to the world:

1. Israeli students find pesticide-free way to kill mosquitoes

2. In possible breakthrough, molecule destroys pancreatic cancer cells in mice

3. Israel scientists engineer bacteria to eat CO2

E. coli bacteria. (NIAID/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0)

4. Israel’s Sheba Medical Center becomes world’s first fully VR-based hospital

5. Israeli video on Hebrew, Arabic similarities is a hit in Gulf

6. TIME includes Israeli water technology in top 100 inventions of 2019

7 . Israeli artificial pancreas may one day cure diabetes

8. The tiny NGO that helped heal Paradise

9. NATO recognizes Israel as key medical-assistance partner

10. Movies can be early detection system for autism

11. Palestinians are attending Hebrew U in record numbers

12. New device can sniff out deadly food allergens in 30 seconds

13. Israel eyes sunlight to power whole country

14. Kurdish children being treated at Israeli hospital

15. Rafael delivers US army tank protection systems

16. New treatment offers hope for multiple myeloma and lymphoma

17. Israeli hospital donates equipment and know how to Nepal

18. Experimental Ebola vaccine offers long term protection

19. Team of Israeli doctors fly to Cyprus to save woman’s life

20. Israeli researchers make groundbreaking discovery in curing diabetes

21. Israeli chatbot could diagnose early Alzheimer’s disease

22. Israeli scientist makes memory breakthrough that could help dementia patients

23. Four Israeli universities among top 50 producers of worldwide entrepreneurs

24. The Technion: An investment that does more with less

25. Israel 14th best country for expats despite high costs

26. Israel to help Nigeria fight insecurity

27. McKinsey: Israel on Road to Become a Global Autotech Hub

28. New Mobile App Lets Tel Avivians Munch on Restaurant Leftovers

29. Israel-founded Via to power New York City’s school bus system

30. Israeli Researchers Find Alzheimer Medications May Help Treat Autistic Children

31. Jewish-Arab improv turns painful stories into insights

32. Druze officer appointed military secretary to the president

Ala Abu Rokun (center) receives his new brigadier general insignia from President Reuven Rivlin (left) and IDF chief Aviv Kohavi (right) during a ceremony at the President’s Residence, on August 14, 2019 (Mark Neiman/ GPO)

33. 5 promising Israeli treatments for migraine headaches

34. Israeli Women’s Lacrosse Team Noticed Why They Had Such An Advantage Over the Kenyan Team; Fixed It

35. Israeli company reports breakthrough in radiation vaccine

36. Revolutionary blood test will detect Stage 1 lung cancer

37. Israeli Experts Upgrade Neo-Natal Units in Ghana, Saving 700 Babies

38. Most Greeks believe Israel is our only true ally in the region

39. Israeli company growing bones in a laboratory outside the body

40. Magen David Adom conducts counter-terrorism and emergency response training in Milwaukee

41. Magen David Adom assists in developing first-responder system in Chile

42. Major study shows gut microbes may impact course of ALS

43. Paving the Way to Alzheimer’s Cure, One Algorithm at a Time

44. Report: Mossad intel foiled 50 terrorist attacks in 20 countries

45. Innovations in the U.S. – Israel Security Alliance

46. New Antibacterial Fillings from Israel May Fight Repeated Tooth Decay

47. Technion prof seeks funds for army of cell ‘ghosts’ to battle deadliest cancers

Prof. Marcelle Machluf at her lab in the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology (Courtesy)

48. Restaurant in Israel Offers Discounts to Jewish and Arab Diners Who Eat Together

49. US laud’s Israel’s efforts to combat human trafficking

50. El Al welcomes its first ever Druze flight attendant

51. Justice Ginsburg gives $9,000 to Israeli schools teaching Hebrew and Arabic

52. Israeli companies boosted New York’s economy by nearly $34b

53. Israeli aid organization that saved a mountain village

54. Israeli electric plane takes off at Paris air show

55. High hopes for new ADHD treatment

56. European corporates flocking to Israel’s ‘Silicon Wadi’

57. Israeli agriculture courses help developing world students reap what they sow

Ake Eco Farm and Sustainable Development Learning Center student Sut Ngai Ja harvests organic carrots. (Emily Fishbein/Times of Israel)

58. Israelis spearhead early detection of Parkinson disease

59.Promising results for metastatic pancreatic cancer drug

60. Must-visit LGBT destinations in Tel Aviv

61. Building resiliency in Puerto Rico

62. Israel’s ‘Uber For First Responders’ Goes Global

63. Israeli medical NGO treats its 5,000th child from abroad

64. As second cyclone batters Mozambique, IsraAID prepares to respond

65. A Jew, a Muslim and a Christian walk into a classroom

66. Israeli invents device that can test pesticide residues in food in real time

67. Israeli tech will keep runways safer in Beijing

68. Israel offers aid to Sri Lanka in call after devastating bombings

69. Israeli scientists unveil world’s first 3D-printed heart with human tissue

70. NASA Chief Thanks SpaceIL for Inspiring the World

71. Israeli tech supplies drinking water to Sierra Leone kids

72. Why Israeli research is such a hot ticket worldwide

73. McDonald’s acquires Israeli AI startup Dynamic Yield

74. Israeli startup, Indian hospital, join forces to bring AI imaging to India

75. Cars could be powered by water with new Israeli technology

76. Jews and Arabs jointly jump into Startup Nation boom

77. Israeli company plans to make insulin injections obsolete

78. Why Forbes chose Israel to host 1st Global Women’s Summit

79. 6 things you need to know about the historic Israeli moon launch

80. This low tech device could save you after a heart attack

81. Now your car can call an ambulance for you

82. Medical cannabis relieves symptoms in children

83. Save the Children tests Israeli lifesaving tech in Africa

84. New hope for pediatric burn scars using Israeli lasers

85. Israeli Company Develops Goggles Allowing Surgeons to See Right Through You

86. Cannabis may help relieve Autism symptoms, Israeli study shows

Illustrative: Various cannabis oil products are displayed in the office of Georgia State Rep. Allen Peake, in Macon, Georgia, April 17, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

87. Could an immunotherapy treatment from Israel cure cancer?

88. Scientists find a cause of rare heart failure in pregnancy

89. Intel To Make “Unprecedented” Investment of $11 Billion in Israeli Operations

90. Israeli rescuers aid slow search through Brazilian mud as death toll rises

A Brazilian firefighter, left, helps an Israeli rescue specialist to cross a muddy area as they arrive at a site where a person found dead person inside a vehicle stuck in the mud, days after a dam collapse in Brumadinho, Brazil, January 28, 2019. (AP/Leo Correa)

91. Israeli doctor saved Abbas’s life this summer, says report

92. Study reveals way to activate immune system against cancer

93. New sustainable way to create plastics from seaweed

94. Israeli experts train first responders in India, Sri Lanka

95. IsraAID Establishing Network to Train Disaster Response Professionals in U.S.

96. Israeli doctors ban gay conversion therapy as a mental health risk

97. Mossad Helps Bust Denmark Terror Cell

98. Wearable monitor could prevent rehospitalization for COPD

99. Israeli clean fuel cells aim to slash diesel pollution

100. Israeli medical experts fly to help Samoan measles victims

The Torah recounts that when Abraham and Sarah, the Jewish people’s progenitors, left behind everything comfortable and familiar, some 4,000 years ago, to journey to the land of Israel, God promised, “You shall be a blessing…All the families of the earth shall bless themselves by you.” In Israel, year in and year out, the first of these promises is fulfilled abundantly. In a fairer, more grateful world, the second would be, too.

Sources: Israel21C.org, JNS.org, israelhayom.com, timesofisrael.com, ynetnews.com, jpost.com, haaretz.com, en.globes.co.il, algemeiner.com, calcalist.com, tabletmag.com, the tower.org, eater.com, forbes.com, dailykos.com, eater.com, israeltoday.co.il

About the Author
Rabbi Richard Block is Past President of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the rabbinic leadership organization of Reform Judaism, Senior Rabbi Emeritus of The Temple - Tifereth Israel, Cleveland, OH and Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Beth Am, Los Altos Hills, CA. Newsweek Magazine has recognized him as "one of the top 25 pulpit rabbis in America."
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