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Israel - Amazing Little Country
(Four Short Articles)

[COMMENT:  Israel, like any country, has it faults.  But it is an amazing little country, not only because of its economic success and democratic government, but because of its moral stance.  All this falls short of Biblical standards, but no more than we here in America.      E. Fox]

 I.  Amazing Little Country

The Middle East has been growing date palms for centuries.  The average tree is about 18-20 feet tall and yields about 38 pounds of dates a year.  
Israeli date trees are now yielding 400 pounds/year and are short enough to be harvested from the ground or a short ladder.

Israel the 100th smallest country, with less than 1/1000th of the world's population, can lay claim to the following:

The cell phone was developed in Israel by Israelis working in the Israeli branch of Motorola, which has its largest development center in Israel ..

Most of the Windows NT and XP operating systems were developed by  


The Pentium MMX Chip technology was designed in Israel at Intel.

Both the Pentium-4 microprocessor and the Centrino processor were entirely designed, developed and produced in Israel.  The Pentium microprocessor in your computer was most likely made in Israel .

Voice mail technology was developed in Israel.  Both Microsoft and Cisco built their only R&D facilities outside the US in Israel ..

The technology for the AOL Instant Messenger ICQ was developed in 1996 by four young Israelis.

Israel has the fourth largest air force in the world (after the U.S. Russia and China).  In addition to a large variety of other aircraft, Israel's air force has an aerial arsenal of over 250 F-16's.  This is the largest fleet of F-16 aircraft outside of the U.  S.

Israel's $100 billion economy is larger than all of its immediate neighbours combined

Israel has the highest percentage in the world of home computers per capita.

According to industry officials, Israel designed the airline industry's most impenetrable flight security.  US officials now look (finally) to Israel for advice on how to handle airborne security threats.

Israel has the highest ratio of university degrees to the population in the world.  Israel produces more scientific papers per capita than any other nation by a large margin - 109 per 10,000 people -- as well as one of the highest per capita rates of patents filed.

In proportion to its population, Israel has the largest number of start-up companies in the world.  In absolute terms, Israel has the largest number of start-up companies than any other country in the world, except the U.S.
(3,500 companies mostly in hi-tech).

With more than 3,000 high-tech companies and start-ups, Israel has the highest concentration of hi-tech companies in the world -- apart from the Silicon Valley , U.S.

Israel is ranked #2 in the world for venture capital funds right behind the U.S.

Outside the United States and Canada , Israel has the largest number of NASDAQ listed companies.

Israel has the highest average living standards in the Middle East .  The per capita income in 2000 was over $17,500, exceeding that of the UK ..

On a per capita basis, Israel has the largest number of biotech start-ups.

Twenty-four % of Israel's workforce holds university degrees, ranking third in the industrialized world, after the United States and Holland and 12 % hold advanced degrees.

Israel is the only liberal democracy in the Middle East.

In 1984 and 1991, Israel airlifted a total of 22,000 Ethiopian Jews (Operation Solomon) at Risk in Ethiopia, to safety in Israel ..

When Golda Meir was elected Prime Minister of Israel in 1969, she became the world's second elected female leader in modern times.

When the U.  S.  Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya was bombed in 1998, Israeli rescue teams were on the scene within a day -- and saved three victims from the rubble.

Israel has the third highest rate of entrepreneurship -- and the highest rate among women and among people over 55 - in the world.

Relative to its population, Israel is the largest immigrant-absorbing nation on earth.  Immigrants come in search of democracy, religious freedom, and economic opportunity.  (Hundreds of thousands from the former Soviet Union ).

Israel was the first nation in the world to adopt the Kimberly process, an international standard that certifies diamonds as "conflict free."

Israel has the world's second highest per capita of new books.

Israel is the only country in the world that entered the 21st century with a net gain in its number of trees, made more remarkable because this was achieved in an area considered mainly desert.

Israel has more museums per capita than any other country.

Medicine...  Israeli scientists developed the first fully computerized, no-radiation, diagnostic instrumentation for breast cancer.

An Israeli company developed a computerized system for ensuring proper administration of medications, thus removing human error from medical treatment.  Every year in U.  S.  hospitals 7,000 patients die from treatment mistakes.

Israel's Given Imaging developed the first ingestible video camera, so small it fits inside a pill.  Used to view the small intestine from the inside for cancer and digestive disorders.

Researchers in Israel developed a new device that directly helps the heart pump blood, an innovation with the potential to save lives among those with heart failure  The new device is synchronized with the camera helps doctors diagnose the heart's mechanical operations through a sophisticated system of sensors.

Israel leads the world in the number of scientists and technicians in the workforce, with 145 per 10,000, as opposed to 85 in the U.  S., over 70 in Japan, and less than 60 in Germany.  With over 25% of its work force employed in technical professions. 

Israel places first in this category as well.

A new acne treatment developed in Israel , the Clear Light device, produces a high-intensity, ultraviolet-light-free, narrow-band blue light that causes acne bacteria to self-destruct -- all without damaging surrounding skin or tissue.

An Israeli company was the first to develop and install a large-scale solar-powered and fully functional electricity generating plant, in southern California 's Mojave desert ..

All the above while engaged in regular wars with an implacable enemy that seeks its destruction, and an economy continuously under strain by having to spend more per capita on its own protection than any other country on earth.



2. Jerusalem Israel and Jerusalem facts

1. Israel became a state in 1312 B.C., two millennia before Islam;

2. Arab refugees from Israel began calling themselves "Palestinians" in 1967, two decades after (modern) Israeli statehood;

3. After conquering the land in 1272 B.C., Jews ruled it for a thousand years and maintained a continuous presence there for 3,300 years;

4. The only Arab rule following conquest in 633 B.C. lasted just 22 years;

5. For over 3,300 years, Jerusalem was the Jewish capital. It was never  the capital of any Arab or Muslim entity. Even under Jordanian rule,  (east) Jerusalem was not made the capital, and no Arab leader came to visit it;

6. Jerusalem is mentioned over 700 times in the bible, but not  once is it
mentioned in the Quran;

7. King David founded Jerusalem; Mohammed never set foot in it;

8. Jews pray facing Jerusalem; Muslims face Mecca. If they are between the two cities, Muslims pray facing Mecca, with their backs to Jerusalem;

9. In 1948, Arab leaders urged their people to leave, promising  to cleanse
the land of Jewish presence. 68% of them fled without ever setting eyes on an Israeli soldier;

10. Virtually the entire Jewish population of Muslim countries had to flee as the result of violence and pogroms;

11. Some 630,000 Arabs left Israel in 1948, while close to a  million Jews were forced to leave the Muslim countries;

12. In spite of the vast territories at their disposal, Arab refugees were deliberately prevented from assimilating into their host countries. Of 100
million refugees following World War 2, they are the only group to have never integrated with their co-religionists. Most of the Jewish refugees from Europe and Arab lands were settled in Israel, a country no larger than New Jersey;

13. There are 22 Muslim countries, not counting Palestine. There is only  one Jewish state. Arabs started all five wars against Israel, and lost every  one of them;

14. Fatah and Hamas constitutions still call for the destruction of Israel. Israel ceded most of the west bank and all of Gaza to the Palestinian authority, and even provided it with arms;

15. During the Jordanian occupation, Jewish holy sites were vandalized and were off limits to Jews. Under Israeli rule, all Muslim and Christian holy sites are accessible to all faiths;

16. Out of 175 United Nations security council resolutions up to  1990, 97
were against Israel; out of 690 general assembly resolutions, 429  were
against Israel;

18. The U.N. was silent when the Jordanians destroyed 58 synagogues in the old city of Jerusalem. It remained silent while Jordan systematically desecrated the ancient Jewish cemetery on the mount of olives, and it remained silent when Jordan enforced apartheid laws preventing Jews from accessing the temple mount and western wall.

These are trying times. We must ask ourselves what we should be doing, and what we will tell our grandchildren about our actions during this crisis? Tell them we had the chance to make a difference.








We have come together today

To stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Israel

And to say a simple prayer.


Ribbono shel olam,

Let your people Israel live in peace.

Let there be an end to bloodshed and violence.

Let there be an end to hostility and hate.

Let Gilad Shalit, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev come home.

Let Israel’s defence forces come home.

What else did Your people ever want,

Except the right to live with security, without fear, in peace?

Almighty G-d, let your people Israel live in peace.

Today we stand in solidarity with Israel,

And rarely have I felt so proud of Anglo-Jewry as I have done these past few


Especially of our young people.

Last week 1300 of them, from youth groups right across the religious spectrum,

Went out to Israel.

Every one of them, or their families, might have said: no. Not now. It’s too


Yet almost none of them did.

I want to say to every one of those young people: Kol hakavod. You make us


And today I want a message to go forth from us to Israel to say: Israel, you make

us proud.

In a mere 58 years, in a country half the size of Lake Michigan, you have done

things that are unbelievable.

You have gathered together Jews from more than a hundred different countries

speaking more than eighty different languages and out of them made a great


You have taken a land with no natural resources and turned it into one of the

great economies of the modern world.

You have created a democracy in a part of the world where no one thought it


You have taken a desolate land and made it blossom and bear fruit.

You have developed medical technologies to save life.

Wherever in the world there has been a natural disaster, you have been among

the first to offer humanitarian aid.

Through six decades under almost continuous threat you have given the world

poets and philosophers and musicians and novelists whose heart is Jewish and

whose love is for all humanity.

You have taken the language of the Bible and made it speak again

You have taken a people from the valley of the shadow of death and made it live


You have taken hope itself – hatikvah shnot alpayim – and made it breath again.

Israel: you are our people and our pride and we stand with you today.

Why then does a people who have consistently said Yes to life and No to death,

Who have consistently said Yes to peace and No to terror,

Find itself today fighting in Lebanon and Gaza?

The answer is so simple, yet so unbelievable, that we must hear it clearly and


Israel is fighting today in Lebanon because 6 years ago it withdrew from


Israel is fighting today in Gaza because 1 year ago it withdrew from Gaza.

And Israel discovered the terrible truth spoken by the late Mother Theresa

That no good deed goes unpunished.

Every gesture of goodwill undertaken by Israel has been seized on by its enemies

as a sign of weakness.

Every Israeli effort towards peace has led without exception to an increase in

violence against Israel.

The Oslo Peace Process led directly to the first Palestinian suicide attacks in


Taba: the most generous offer Israel ever made to the Palestinians, led directly to

the most concerted set of terrorist attacks against any nation in modern history.

The Gaza Withdrawal, the most painful act Israel has ever had to undertake, led

within less than a year to 1000 Kassam rocket attacks on Israeli civilian targets

including schoolchildren.

And finally the Lebanon withdrawal, undertaken by Israel six years ago in full

compliance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 425. That

resolution was immediately broken by Hizbullah, about which the United

Nations special envoy to Lebanon warned at the time, in November 2000: “Such

breaches of international peace and security in the south threaten to ignite a new

spiral of violence with tragic consequences for the civilian population.”

That failure led in 2004 to the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1559

which called categorically for the disarming of militias in Lebanon. Again

rejected. This time Kofi Annan himself protested to the Syrians. The effect? The

arming of Hizbullah with weapons that threaten the very heart of Israel.

Israel withdrew from Lebanon.

Israel does not want to be in Lebanon.

It does not want to do any of the things it is now doing.

It accepted in good faith the commitment of the United Nations that it would not

have to.

It is acting today only because the international community has failed to ensure

that its neighbours met their obligations when Israel met hers.

Israel, the Israel we know and love, is a people that pursues peace, yearns for

peace, sings about peace, needs peace.

For 58 years it has done everything a nation could do in pursuit of peace, and it

has been rewarded instead with violence and terror.

It has done what the world has asked it to do, and the result has been that it has

been left vulnerable and alone.

Which of us does not weep when we see the news day after day?

Does any of us, God forbid, take satisfaction at the devastation of Lebanon?

Is that who we are?

Let me be clear and unambiguous.

We weep not just for Israel

But for the people of Lebanon also.

Lebanon was once a great country,

A centre of civilization

A beacon in the Middle East --

Until Jordan drove the Palestinians out of Jordan into Lebanon

Until Syria used them to terrorise the Lebanese

Until Iran armed and funded and manipulated them;

Until the whole country of Lebanon, every man, woman and child, became a


And so a great country was destroyed and reduced to ruins.

And today Israel is fighting in Lebanon so that Israel should not become, G-d

forbid, another Lebanon,

As any country in the world will become

If it lacks the clarity and courage to say No to terror and Yes to peace.

Tragically Jews have learned over the centuries

That when their enemies speaking of killing them, driving them into the sea,

wiping them off the face of the earth, they mean what they say.

What Hizbullah and Hamas have said in word and deed is:

We will kill you if you stay

And we will kill you if you leave.

We will kill you if you retaliate

And we will kill you if you don’t retaliate.

What can Israel do but to seek to end the terror

That threatens and is meant to threaten its very existence?

When alone among the 192 nations that make up the United Nations, after 58

years it still finds its very right to exist denied?

Friends, let me tell you what is wrong with terror. It is not just that it murders the

innocent: the young, the old, the defenceless, the uninvolved.

It is that it murders innocence itself.

It turns virtue into weakness, decency into vulnerability.

And if we, if Israel, if Europe, if America do not take a stand against terror,

if we ignore it as the world ignored it for so long,

then it will leave a stain on the human future that no tears, no regrets, will ever


The battle Israel is fighting today is not for itself alone.

It is for the sake of all those who say no to terror

No to the desecration of life

No to killing in the name of God

Whether they live in Bali or Beslan, or Madrid or Mumbai.

And therefore let me end with simple words of prayer:

Ribbono shel olam: Be with your people Israel now.

Hear their cry

Heed their tears

Listen to this, our prayer on their behalf.

Grant peace to all your children, Jew, Christian and Muslim alike.

Help us live together, respecting one another.

Help us cherish life.

Help us to use the powers You gave us, to heal, to mend, to build.

We ask of You, Almighty God, just one thing:

You who make peace in high places,

Help us make peace down here on earth.


4. Speech of Ehud Olmert, 
Prime Minister of the State of Israel

 published in Maariv on Monday, July 31, 2006.

Ladies and gentlemen, leaders of the world, I, the Prime Minister of Israel, am speaking to you from Jerusalem in the face of the terrible pictures from Kfar Kana.  Any human heart, wherever it is, must sicken and recoil at the sight of such pictures.  There are no words of comfort that can mitigate the enormity of this tragedy.  Still, I am looking you straight in the eye and telling you that the State of Israel will continue its military campaign in Lebanon.

 The Israel Defense Forces will continue to attack targets from which missiles and Katyusha rockets are fired at hospitals, old age homes and kindergartens in Israel.  I have instructed the security forces and the IDF to continue to hunt for the Katyusha stockpiles and launch sites from which these savages are bombarding the State of Israel.  We will not hesitate, we will not apologize and we will not back off.  If they continue to launch missiles into Israel from Kfar Kana, we will continue to bomb Kfar Kana.  Today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow.  Here, there and everywhere.

The children of Kfar Kana could now be sleeping peacefully in their homes, unmolested, had the agents of the devil not taken over their land and turned the lives of our children into hell.  Ladies and gentlemen, it's time you understood: the Jewish state will no longer be trampled upon.  We will no longer allow anyone to exploit population centers in order to bomb our citizens.  No one will be able to hide anymore behind women and children in order to kill our women and children.  This anarchy is over.  You can condemn us, you can boycott us, you can stop visiting us and, if necessary, we will stop visiting you.

Today I am serving as the voice of six million bombarded Israeli citizens who serve as the voice of six million murdered Jews who were melted down to dust and ashes by savages in Europe.  In both cases, those responsible for these evil acts were, and are, barbarians devoid of all humanity, who set themselves one simple goal: to wipe the Jewish people off the face of the earth, as Adolph Hitler said, or to wipe the State of Israel off the map, as Mahmoud Ahmedinjad proclaims. 

And you - just as you did not take those words seriously then, you are ignoring them again now. And that, ladies and gentlemen, leaders of the world, will not happen again.  Never again will we wait for bombs that never came to hit the gas chambers.  Never again will we wait for salvation that never arrives.  Now we have our own air force.  The Jewish people are now capable of standing up to those who seek their destruction - those people will no longer be able to hide behind women and children.  They will no longer be able to evade their responsibility.  Every place from which a Katyusha is fired into the State of Israel will be a legitimate target for us to attack.  This must be stated clearly and publicly, once and for all.  You are welcome to judge us, to ostracize us, to boycott us and to vilify us.  But to kill us?  Absolutely not.

Four months ago I was elected by hundreds of thousands of citizens to the office of Prime Minister of the government of Israel, on the basis of my plan for unilaterally withdrawing from 90 percent of the areas of Judea and Samaria, the birth place and cradle of the Jewish people; to end most of the occupation and to enable the Palestinian people to turn over a new leaf and to calm things down until conditions are ripe for attaining a permanent settlement between us.  The Prime Minister who preceded me, Ariel Sharon, made a full withdrawal from the Gaza Strip back to the international border, and gave the Palestinians there a chance to build a new reality for themselves.  The Prime Minister who preceded him, Ehud Barak, ended the lengthy Israeli presence in Lebanon and pulled the IDF back to the international border, leaving the land of the cedars to flourish, develop and establish its democracy and its economy.

What did the State of Israel get in exchange for all of this?  Did we win even one minute of quiet? Was our hand, outstretched in peace, met with a handshake of encouragement?  Ehud Barak's peace initiative at Camp David let loose on us a wave of suicide bombers who smashed and blew to pieces over 1,000 citizens, men, women and children.  I don't remember you being so enraged then.  Maybe that happened because we did not allow TV close-ups of the dismembered body parts of the Israeli youngsters at the Dolphinarium?  Or of the shattered lives of the people butchered while celebrating the Passover seder at the Park Hotel in Netanya?

What can you do - that's the way we are.  We don't wave body parts at the camera.  We grieve quietly.  We do not dance on the roofs at the sight of the bodies of our enemy's children - we express genuine sorrow and regret.  That is the monstrous behavior of our enemies.  Now they have risen up against us.  Tomorrow they will rise up against you.  You are already familiar with the murderous taste of this terror.  And you will taste more.

And Ariel Sharon's withdrawal from Gaza  -- what did it get us?  A barrage of Kassem missiles fired at peaceful settlements and the kidnapping of soldiers.  Then too, I don't recall you reacting with such alarm.  And for six years, the withdrawal from Lebanon has drawn the vituperation and crimes of a dangerous, extremist Iranian agent, who took over an entire country in the name of religious fanaticism, and is trying to take Israel hostage on his way to Jerusalem - and from there to Paris and London.  An enormous terrorist infrastructure has been established by Iran on our border, threatening our citizens, growing stronger before our very eyes, awaiting the moment when the land of the Ayatollahs becomes a nuclear power in order to bring us to our knees.  And make no mistake - we won't go down alone.  You, the leaders of the free and enlightened world, will go down along with us.

So today, here and now, I am putting an end to this parade of hypocrisy.  I don't recall such a wave of reaction in the face of the 100 citizens killed every single day in Iraq.  Sunnis kill Shiites who kill Sunnis, and all of them kill Americans - and the world remains silent.  And I am hard pressed to recall a similar reaction when the Russians destroyed entire villages and burned down large cities in order to repress the revolt in Chechnya.  And when NATO bombed Kosovo for almost three months and crushed the civilian population - then you also kept silent.

What is it about us, the Jews, the minority, the persecuted, that arouses this cosmic sense of justice in you? What do we have that all the others don't?  In a loud clear voice, looking you straight in the eye, I stand before you openly and I will not apologize.  I will not capitulate.  I will not whine.  This is a battle for our freedom.  For our humanity.  For the right to lead normal lives within our recognized, legitimate borders.  It is also your battle.

I pray and I believe that now you will understand that.  Because if you don't, you may regret it later, when it's too late.

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