Israel ranks about 150 on the scale of countries for size, encompassing only about 10,800 square miles and a population under 8.6 million. However, its achievements over its 68 years of modern statehood have drastically dwarfed its actual size. Israel is a recognized world leader in many fields, including water and agricultural technology, high-tech, medical devices and humanitarian aid.
We’ve chosen 10 ways that Israel made a remarkable impact in the world during 2016.
IDF FIELD HOSPITAL RANKED WORLD’S BEST
The portable field hospital flown by the IDF Medical Corps to disaster areas around the world was the first field hospital ever to achieve a Type 3 rating, the highest rank on the United Nations’ World Health Organization (WHO) scale.
Run by Medical Corps doctors, soldiers, and reservists, the field hospital can accommodate more than 200 patients per day and has 12 emergency medicine stations, three operating rooms, a blood bank, advanced laboratories, and imaging equipment. Nepal, Haiti, the Syrian border, and the Philippines are among the places it has been deployed.
AIDING SYRIAN WAR VICTIMS
Syria may officially be an enemy country, but that hasn’t stopped dozens of Israeli individuals, organizations, and government bodies (including the Israel Defense Forces) from doing all they can to alleviate human suffering in the country, even though giving this aid is often dangerous.
Israeli aid to the country comes in many forms, much of it under the radar. Nonprofit organization Il4Syrians, which was founded by a private Israeli citizen at the start of the civil war in 2011, sends food, medicine, coats, and basic supplies to Syrians in a perilous cross-border mission.
With the help of transports organized by the IDF, some 2,500 Syrian men, women, and children have received care in various Israeli hospitals at the expense of Israeli taxpayers and donors. In addition, Israeli-American serial entrepreneur Moti Kahana bought a bus to transport seriously ill or injured Syrian children to Israeli hospitals through his nonprofit foundation, Amaliah, and the Yitzhak Rabin Foundation.
The Israel Trauma Coalition trained clinicians, caregivers, and volunteers in Berlin to treat Syrian refugees in that German city. Natan-International Humanitarian Aid, based in Tel Aviv, has provided trauma and post-trauma care to Syrian refugees in Jordan.
The nonprofit IsraAID has been rescuing and providing many forms of assistance to Syrian and other Middle East and African refugees pouring into European countries.
REVOLUTIONARY STANDING WHEELCHAIR
UPnRIDE Robotics of Yokneam Illit introduced UPnRIDE 1.0 at the end of September and expects the revolutionary mobility device, which brings unprecedented mobility to paraplegics and quadriplegics, to be on the market in the second half of 2017.
UPnRIDE’s jointed braces and harnessing straps provide support when transitioning between sitting and standing positions. Cutting-edge motion technology and real-time computing automatically balance and stabilize UPnRIDE on sloped sidewalks, parking lots, ramps, and low stairs. UPnRide was invented by Amit Goffer, a paraplegic who previously invented the ReWalk robotic exoskeleton.
WOMEN’S CANCER SCREENINGS IN KENYA
On World Cancer Day (February 4), approximately 700 women in Kenya had their first-ever cervical cancer screening thanks to the Tel Aviv-based MobileODT.
Piloted successfully in the United States, Haiti, Guatemala, Botswana, Kenya, Nepal, and Mexico, EVA’s advanced optical technology captures and securely transmits biomedical images for diagnosis and analysis using only a mobile phone and an Internet connection. This makes cervical cancer screenings possible in places lacking more sophisticated medical infrastructure.
A TRUE ISRAELI WONDER
Israeli actress Gal Gadot may have starred in several Hollywood films before 2016, but this was the year she really emerged as a fabulous role model for women. Her performance as Wonder Woman was considered by many as the best part of this year’s Batman v Superman movie.
In October, the United Nations chose Gadot’s Wonder Woman persona as an honorary ambassador for the empowerment of girls and women. The assignment only lasted two months, but Gadot has taken time from the promotion circuit for her new Wonder Woman film, scheduled for release in June next year, to propose a positive new role model for children to see females as superheroes rather than helpless princesses. Gadot also lent her star power to a short video celebrating accomplished young Israeli women.
3D-PRINTED DRESS WOWS AT PARALYMPICS
Israeli designer Danit Peleg’s 3D-printed dress caught the world’s attention when US Paralympic snowboarder Amy Purdy wore it to dance a samba with a robot at the Opening Ceremony of the 2016 Paralympics in Rio. Peleg said her design was inspired by Botticelli’s famous painting “The Birth of Venus” and celebrates the intersection of technology and fashion.
3D-PRINTED HUMAN TISSUE
It’s the stuff of science fiction: technology that can print a human organ! Israel’s Nano Dimension, a manufacturer of 3D printers, is collaborating with Israeli biotechnology firm Accellta in Haifa to mix human stem cells into its 3D inkjet printer ink. When expelled through the more than 1,000 tiny nozzles of a Nano Dimension DragonFly 3D printer, the ink can form into human tissue.
While the technology is still at the proof-of-concept stage (not to mention that going from simple tissue to a full organ is a daunting and uncharted process), the possibilities for saving lives by “printing” a new liver or lung are staggering.
CHICKEN MEAT MADE BY MACHINE
Israeli startup SuperMeat made headlines for its announcement that it is creating the first mass-market device to bring cultured chicken meat to restaurants and eventually to home kitchens.
Cultured meat is grown from stem cells rather than taken from a slaughtered animal. In the past, this was done in a test tube under highly controlled laboratory conditions. SuperMeat proposes to develop and market a small high-tech “oven” that would make non-GMO meat from a serum, powder, or capsule containing cell samples.
GAUZE STOPS BLEEDING IN SECONDS
Core Scientific Creations’ WoundClot gauze absorbs about 2,500 percent of its own weight in fluids and forms a coagulating gel membrane that can stop a person hemorrhaging blood within minutes.
The product, which naturally dissolves within 24 hours and is already used by European hospitals and American and Israeli first responders, fills a large need in situations when compression is not effective or even counterproductive as in the case of stab wounds and certain other kinds of trauma.
A TIRE THAT CAN’T GO FLAT
SoftWheel, the Israeli company that literally reinvented the wheel by replacing the traditional spoke-and-rim hub with an innovative automatic suspension system, is entering the automotive sector with its Enduro wheel, aiming to bring the same radical improvements to automobiles that it has already brought to wheelchairs and bicycles.
Because Enduro’s rigid tire is not filled with air, it can never go flat.
“The best way to revolutionize the world is to revolutionize transportation,” SoftWheel CEO Daniel Barel said upon introducing the concept last March. “No more flat tires, 20% more energy efficiency, better maneuverability, higher safety, lighter — better in every way.”
Originally posted at Israel21c.