By Alex Stone
While we often read about Israel in the news regarding political issues in the Middle East, we do not hear much about the incredible technological advancements and feats accomplished in Israel. Israeli products and innovations impact our daily lives in ways most of us probably never realized.
None of us could get through our days without our cell phones. Cell phones were developed in Israel by Motorola, and the company still has its largest development center in Israel. It may seem surprising that Israel—the 100th smallest country in the world and geographically the size of New Jersey—developed something that has revolutionized our society. But Israel is one of the most educated and innovative countries in the world.
Israel is often referred to as “Silicon Valley East” because it has the highest concentrations of high-tech companies in the world, right after Silicon Valley. The small country produces more scientific papers per capita than any nation in the world by a large margin.
I highly recommend the book “Start-up Nation: the Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle” by Dan Senor and Saul Singer. The book uses the Israeli company Better Place as a case study for Israel’s economic and technological success. Better Place’s goal is to produce a “virtual oil field” and completely free Israel from oil dependency. The company aims to produce a mass-market electric car and is well on its way to doing so. Better Place has partnered with GE and has international mega-investors because many international companies know that it is safe to invest in Israel. Better Place is also indicative of Israel’s ‘green’ consciousness: while Israel’s desire to be free from Arab oil is obviously partly motivated by politics and a desire for peace, Israeli society is also committed to an environmentally friendly lifestyle.
Israel has also developed military technology that saves American lives every day. Israel created the unmanned drones that are used in Iraq and Afghanistan. It also developed the Bradley Tiles that cause tanks to explode outwards rather than inwards. This technology saves an uncountable number of American lives.
Israel’s technological accomplishments are just one reason of many why I believe that the United States should always support Israel. Israelis and Americans share many common values: we are both liberal democracies that value freedom. In fact, Israel is the only liberal democracy in the Middle East. It is surrounded by countries that frequently commit human rights atrocities. Almost all of Israel’s neighbors deny their citizens any basic freedoms, including freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and due process. Israel promotes all of these rights.
Most of Israel’s neighbors utilize “Sharia law” in which women have an inferior role to men and are granted very few basic rights. Women in Israel have full legal rights and are treated equally; many argue that women have many more rights in Israel than in the United States. Former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir was only the second woman prime minister in the entire world. Gay rights in most of Israel’s neighboring countries are virtually nonexistent and it is basically impossible to be openly gay. But in Israel, gays have more rights than arguably any nation in the world. Tel Aviv’s annual gay pride parade is a wildly popular and well-received event.
Israel is a strong ally of the United States and the two nations share many common values. Both are secular societies founded on religious principles and both value entrepreneurship and innovation. Both countries are worldwide leaders in business and technology. Even though Israel is a tiny country that is usually only in the news for political reasons, I hope to educate the campus about the many other accomplishments Israel has achieved and the positive impact Israel has on our society.
This response is the writer’s own and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Concordiensis.