The earliest Zionist pioneers in the late 19th century had to a lot to contend with. They faced malarial swamps and barren deserts. There were no natural resources and precious little water. The settlers drained the swamps and transformed them into fertile farmland, thereby boosting agricultural production and providing space for housing. From then on, Zionists worked harm to improve healthcare in Palestine. A British official in 1937 reported that the increase in the number of Arabs moving to Palestine “had been largely due to the health services combating malaria, reducing infant death rates, improving water supply and sanitation.”
The resourcefulness of the Jews has been unrelenting. The State of Israel is a nation of excellence and innovation. It has the highest number of university degrees per capita in the world, and since the founding of the state, Israel has won more Nobel Prizes per capita than any other country (apart from Switzerland). Many of these prizes were for excellence in chemistry. More Israeli patents are registered in the US than from Russia, India and China combined. It also leads the world in patents for medical equipment.
Below is a breakdown of some of Israel’s inventions and discoveries since 1948. It is far from exhaustive.
Physics and chemistry
· There are more scientists and technicians in Israel than anywhere in the world, including the US. Israel has the most engineers and physicians per capita.
· Israel’s scientific research institutions are ranked 3rd in the world. Israel produces the 3rd most scientific papers per capita, and the most in stem cell science.
· Israel is ranked 2nd in space sciences.
· In 1972, Jacob Bekenstein of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem was the first to suggest that black holes should have a well-defined entropy. He also formulated the generalized second law of thermodynamics, black hole thermodynamics, for systems including black holes. Both contributions were affirmed when Stephen Hawking proposed the existence of Hawking radiation two years later.
· In 1959, Yakir Aharonov and David Bohm discovered a quantum mechanical phenomenon now known as the Aharonov-Bohm effect.
· In 2009, Dan Shechtman, of the Technion University in Haifa, discovered quasicrystals, which are crystals with structural form previously thought to be impossible.
Above: Atomic model of quasicrystal surface
· Israeli company Medigus has created the world’s smallest video camera for medical endoscopic procedures.
· Eshkol-Wachman Movement Notation is a notation system for recording movement on paper or computer screen. The system was created in Israel by dance theorist Noa Eshkol and Avraham Wachman, a professor of architecture at the Technion. The system is used in dance, physical therapy, animal behaviour and early diagnosis of autism.
· Nanowire , a conductive wire made of a string of tiny particles of silver, a thousand times thinner than a human hair, was invented by Technion University in Haifa.
· The world's smallest DNA computing machine system was developed by the Weizmann Institute of Science. It is composed of enzymes and DNA molecules capable of performing simple mathematical calculations.
· Discoveries made by the Weizmann Institute of Science led to the creation of Copaxone immunomodulator, a drug for patients with multiple sclerosis. The Weizmann Institute was also responsible for Beta-Interferon, another drug for multiple sclerosis patients.
· Israeli professor, Rafael Beyar of Israel, invented a device called B-Stent to hold arteries open, thereby improving blood flow to the heart muscle.
· Technion University in Haifa worked with scientists in the US to design a surgical device called SpineAssist, a robotic tool which guides doctors through spinal cord operations.
· Researchers from Jerusalem's Hadassah Hospital pioneered a method for producing large amounts of human foetal stem cells that could be used to cure Parkinson's disease and grow new organs.
· The Israeli-designed ReWalk is a bionic body suit that enables a paralyzed person to stand upright, walk, sit and climb stairs.
Above: ReWalk suit
· Israeli gun designer Uziel Gal developed the Uzi Submachine gun in 1948. It was officially adopted by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in 1951.
· Following the 1972 Yom Kippur War, Israel developed the unmanned aerial vehicle, an aircraft that flies without a human crew on board.
· In 2011, the Iron Dome was made operational. Invented by an Israeli defense company, the Iron Dome is a mobile air defense system designed to intercept short-range rockets and artillery shells.
· In 2010, the IDF heaped praise on a newly-designed through-wall vision system. Designed by an Israeli company, the unique radar utilizes Ultra Wide Band to allow users to see through walls.
· 1n 1999, Israeli inventors from M-Systems patented the USB flash drive.
· In 1997, an Israeli company launched Babylon, a computer dictionary and language translation software.
· In 1996, Mirabilis launched the world’s first-ever Instant Messaging software
· The world first processors were all invented by Israeli engineers in Intel’s Israel branch.
· Windows operating systems XP and Vista, including Microsoft Office, were invented by Microsoft Israel.
· Jewish engineer Robert Adler invented the remote control and developed it in Israel.
· In 2006, Google acquired an advanced text search algorithm invented by an Israeli student.
· Internet security was pioneered in Israel. The firewall and the first PC anti-virus software were invented in the Jewish state.
· Mobile phones, voice mail and the camera function were all invented in Israel.
· Israel's most-exported environmental technology is the refined drip irrigation system, which allows farmers to produce greater crop yields while using less water. This technology is used in Africa, Australia and the Americas.
· Israel is the only country that entered the 21st century with a net gain in its number of trees, which is impressive given that the country is mainly desert.
· Per acre, Israel is one of the world’s largest crops producers.
· Israel operates the world’s largest desalinization plant.
· The Jewish state is ranked in the top five Cleantech countries of the world.
· 90% of Israeli homes use solar energy for hot water, the highest percentage in the world.
· Israel is the first country to host a national electric car network.
· At the end of the 1990s, technicians in Haifa developed the “super-iron” battery, a new class of a rechargeable electric battery based on a special kind of iron.
· In 2006 it was reported that the Weizmann Institute had developed technology for producing hydrogen in vehicles.
Above: Weizmann Institute
Consumer goods and appliances
· The first type of epilator, an electrical device used to remove hair, was the Epilady released in Israel in 1986.
· The Wonder Pot, a pot developed for baking on the stovetop rather than in an oven, was introduced in Israel during the 1950s.
· Israel is at the cutting edge of fashion technology. Israeli company Tefron uses computerized robotic manufacturing methods to produce seamless garments for Victoria's Secret, Gap and Banana Republic, among others.
· BabySense, a non-touch, no-radiation device designed to prevent crib death, was developed in Israel.
· Israel has the most startups per capita. In absolute numbers, Israel has more startups than any country, after the US.
· Israel has the 3rd highest rate of entrepreneurship among women in the world.
· Israel has attracted the most venture capital investment per capita in the world, 30 times more than Europe.
· After the US, Israel has more NASDAQ-listed companies than any country.