There is so much more to Israel and her extraordinary people than what is often portrayed by the global mainstream media. Today, we are bombarded with news stories and commentary obsessed with negatives about this nation. However, behind the scenes in hospitals, offices, factories, and farmlands, Jewish citizens are busy generating blessings for the entire world.
Numerous innovations are emerging in a timely way. Supply chain gaps, reduced crop production, and inadequate water supplies are only a few of the growing challenges facing the nations – and increasing. With inflation still on the rise and economies in freefall, Israel is researching and pioneering solutions for the basic necessities of life – and then some.
God’s promises to use Israel as a blessing to the nations are not just ancient words. It has been a modern reality ever since May 14, 1948, when David Ben-Gurion stood in a simple art gallery in Tel Aviv and read the rebirthed state’s Declaration of Independence. Settled in their homeland now for 74 years, with roots going deep into the Holy Land’s soil, Israelis demonstrate that their creativity flourishes across countless sectors.
In Genesis 12:2 God promised, “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing” (NKJV). God’s promises are scattered across the Old and New Testaments. The word “promise” itself is mentioned 120 times in the Bible, and when we include the number of promises made in Scripture, it goes up to nearly 9,000.
Israel’s previous creations and discoveries make lives better worldwide—often without beneficiaries realizing that Israelis were behind these innovations. Among them are ReWalk, a battery-packed “exoskeleton” that lets paraplegics walk; the world’s first USB drive; the Watergen generator that produces clean drinking water out of air; SodaStream; Michal Negrin (my favorite jewelry); Mobileye car technology to make driving safer; and Waze navigation.
Join me now for a brief tour of Israel’s unchanging destiny guided by God’s promises to bless the world with new discoveries. One of the best sites to explore these near-miraculous ideas and inventions is www.Israel21c.org. Keeping up with the latest discoveries is a full-time job, but this site is a virtual treasure trove.
Having experienced a pandemic that continues to manifest in various versions, many people around the world will welcome the fact that Israelis are closing in on promising results from medical research they initiated in 2020. Tel Aviv University’s Dr. Natalia Freund is the lead researcher. She and her team, after examining people who have recovered from the COVID-19 virus, have determined that antibodies from those patients have a role to play in neutralizing the various strains of the virus, strengthening the immune system, and reducing the need for boosters. Stay tuned for their final results – hopefully including products to ease the fears that COVID has generated.
Converting trash to fuel isn’t a new concept, but one firm has developed a remarkable innovation in this field. The Israel-based company Boson (the name of an energy-carrying subatomic particle) is harvesting hydrogen from non-recyclable mountains of local household, medical and agricultural waste. When run through an already engineered process, it creates hydrogen fuel. With the European Union, they plan on engaging municipalities worldwide to use energy-saving equipment to produce hydrogen gas. It is estimated that one ton of trash can replace five-and-a-half barrels of crude oil. Their goal is to “bring clean air and energy to future generations by solving the world’s waste problem.”
Animal and meat lovers alike will be delighted to learn about Future Meat Technologies. The company engages prominent biologists and bioengineers to develop animal cell agriculture and technologies that provide lab-grown meats to replace traditional animal-based foods – and talented chefs to bring these creations to the table. According to a news release, this innovative food technology is expected to “generate 80% less greenhouse emissions and use 99% less land and 96% less freshwater than traditional meat production.” They have built their first factory in Rehovot, Israel, which currently produces cultured chicken, pork, and lamb – with beef on the way. Their plans include GMO-free, lower-cost meats to provide protein for future generations. They are opening facilities in the United States.
Our pet dogs are family members that bring smiles to our faces. Yet their value can far exceed their loyalty and our enjoyment. An Israeli startup company holds great hope for those who suffer cancer or have family and friends facing this dreaded disease. Former IDF Commander Colonel (Res.) Ariel Ben-Dayan, who led the canine unit of the Israeli Defense Forces, has added his skills to training Labradors Retrievers to detect cancer. The company, SpotitEarly, uses the Labradors’ incredible sense of smell along with artificial intelligence.
It works this way. A client will buy a home kit, which includes a face mask. They breathe into the mask for five minutes. Next, they send it to the company’s headquarters, located on a kibbutz, where the dogs live and are trained. The mask is then inserted into an on-site sniffing station. The dog’s sniffing behavior is monitored by an AI algorithm. If a cancer is detected, then Spot It Early refers the person for testing at a medical facility.
Currently, the Labradors can sniff out breast, lung, colon, or prostate cancer from a single sample. Clinical trials are taking place at two Israeli medical centers that will end after 10 months. The company has hopes that their canine training plus AI technology will detect many other kinds of cancers. Founder Ben-Dayan and his team of three PhDs – one in animal behavior, another a data science expert, and the third a clinical lab manager – estimate that one Labrador Retriever could perform a million tests annually. What a blessing that can grow to be, since it is estimated that 10 million people worldwide die each year due to cancer.
Turning to agriculture, the Bible comes alive once again. Isaiah 27:6 declares a delicious promise: “Those who come He shall cause to take root in Jacob; Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.” This is a promise we can all celebrate! Israel grows and then exports flowers globally. It is among the top 10 countries in this beautiful business, attaining one percent of the global market. That may seem small, but the flowers generate $200 million per year. Fruit crops cover around 33 percent of the land. As a fun fact, the prickly pear (sabra in Hebrew) is the national fruit. Sabras, those born in Israel, describe their temperament as similar to the prickly pear, which is hard and prickly on the outside and sweet inside.
For readers who have traveled to Israel, you may be like me. I always find their vegetables more colorful and more delicious than anywhere else. Israel produced around 2.3 million tons of vegetables with a value of $1.6 billion in 2020. Keep in mind that Israel has reclaimed parts of its barren deserts for food production.
One fascinating effort began to unfold in 2005 in the Negev Desert at Moshav Talmei Yosef. Agronomist Uri Alon started a small farm that he now calls the Salad Trail, and where he has truly – as he says – made the desert bloom. Others became interested in his efforts and began farming in the Negev, which is surely a complex area to farm. But due to the farmers’ ingenuity and endurance, lush greenhouses now produce fruits and vegetables.
Tours are offered where guides lead groups through greenhouses with everything from tomatoes to strawberries, oranges, and the “hottest pepper in the world”! The Salad Trail is described as “an intoxication of colors and smells.” More than 40,000 visitors walk the trail annually.
May we praise God for the ongoing fulfillment of His promise to Israel and her people: “So they will say, ‘This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden; and the wasted, desolate, and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited.’ Then the nations which are left all around you shall know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted what was desolate. I, the Lord, have spoken it, and I will do it” (Ezekiel 36:35-36).
Arlene Bridges Samuels pioneered Christian outreach for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). After nine years she retired and later worked part-time with International Christian Embassy Jerusalem USA. Arlene is now an author at The Blogs-Times of Israel and writes a weekly column at CBN ISRAEL. She has often traveled to Israel, including being invited three times by Israel’s Government Press Office to their annual Christian Media Summit. Read more of her articles on her CBN Israel blog.