For me, Israel is an amazing and innovative country. It is a place full of new start-up companies made to help the greater good. It is a democracy which respects its citizens’ rights, and it is a welcoming country; one who is always willing to help people in need.
Unfortunately, the majority of the world does not see Israel the way that I do. Most people hear Israel and think conflict, BDS, terrorism, racism. They do not see the good that the country actually does for the world, and its people.
Tel-Aviv is one of the largest hubs in the world for start-up companies. Many companies, which started in Israel, have helped the world make medical and technological advances. One Israeli start-up company, MedAware, recently made a huge medical advancement. MedAware is a software that detects errors in a patients’ prescriptions, that usually go unnoticed by doctors. Not only does this software create a safer environment for patients, but it will also save the healthcare system money.
Another start up, Store Dot, created a battery which takes thirty seconds to fully charge a phone and only five minutes to charge electric cars. Companies such as MedAware and Store Dot are the reasons Israel is named one of the most innovative countries in the world.
Israel has also made strides with regards to cultivating the land. Most of Israel is desert or swamps, but they have managed to turn the desert into a green landscape. The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies uses aquifers to supply plants with groundwater. The institute also uses satellite dishes and mirrors to purify water and turn food waste into cooking gas. Through this system, Israelis learned how to grow date trees, fruits, and vegetables out of nothing, and today, there are currently over a thousand date trees growing in the Arava desert.
Not only do I think of Israel as the hub of innovation, but as a place that cares for others. A country which will always be there when another country is in need. During the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake in 2010, Israel was one of the first countries to provide humanitarian aid in Haiti. In 2011, following the earthquakes in Japan, Israel was again one of the first countries to send aid. I think of Israel as a place that is always willing to help others in need, and that will go to great lengths to do so.
Israel is also a welcoming country. According to Washington Jewish Week, there are over 60,000 refugees from Sudan and Eritrea. As well as this, Israel has also taken in 100 Syrian orphans. Being itself a country made up of Jewish citizens who did not have a place to go during the pogroms, or the Holocaust, its people understand the meaning of safety, home, and being a refugee, which is why Israel will always be a safe haven for those who need one.
Let’s not forget that Israel is also a democracy. A democracy which respects everyone’s rights. Tel Aviv is home to one of the largest Gay Pride parades in the world. According to the Jerusalem Post, in 2015, over 180,000 people attended the Pride parade. This is a country that comes together, and is full of support for all its citizens.
Too often it is hard to remember that there is more to Israel than the negative words that surround it. It is a beautiful place. It is a place where everyone can go to be safe and respected. It is an innovative place full of different cultures everywhere you go, which is why it is important to not just focus on the conflict when thinking of Israel. So the next time you hear something negative, remember also the good this country does for the world and its people.