Israel is the size of New Jersey, but the innovations emerging from the small country are massive.
The determination and creativity Israel’s pioneers showed in transforming the agriculture of the land of Israel are being applied toward countless innovations today that have the potential to help millions of people in Israel and abroad, writes Middle East expert and entrepreneur Avi Jorisch in the book “Thou Shalt Innovate.” (Jorisch spoke at Congregation B’nai Torah on March 21 as part of the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces’ Israel 70 Speakers Series.)
Jorisch highlights technological advances such as the PillCam, invented by Gavriel Iddan, which is swallowed to take diagnostic pictures of a person’s gastrointestinal tract, and ReWalk, created by Amit Goffer, which helps paraplegics walk again. The PillCam’s manufacturer, Given Imaging, had its U.S. headquarters in Duluth before a couple of corporate takeovers made it part of Medtronic.
The human ramifications outweigh the inventions themselves.
For instance, Simcha Blass’ introduction of drip irrigation, which helps farmers produce plants twice the normal size as water is transported directly to the roots, is being used across the globe. The innovation helps farmers grow crops in dry regions and helps Israel establish partnerships with countries that otherwise might hold negative views of the Jewish state.
To that end, Jorisch explains that Israeli innovations have helped Arabs become entrepreneurs as part of the next generation of inventors who want to enroll in Israeli technical schools or launch startups.
The ambucycle, for example, which helps medics get to emergency patients much faster, has enabled Israelis and Arabs to work together and save each other’s lives.
The book’s short chapters make “Thou Shall Innovate” an easy read that includes the sources of inspiration behind Israeli innovations. Jorisch writes that while some people experienced traumas that led them to create devices, others responded to the Jewish call for tikkun olam to help repair the world and save as many lives as possible.