Israeli Innovations

By Samantha Hulkower

Most people have heard the statistic that Jews have won a disproportionate percentage of Nobel Prize awards considering, our relatively small population. So, it's no wonder that when you have an entire country of Jewish people working together, amazingly innovative things are created.

Those black tubes snaking around the trees and bushes in parks are so ubiquitos, especially in dry climates, it feels like it's been around forever, but drip irrigation was only invented in the 1960s in Israel, as a way to water the Kibbutzim as efficiently as possible. Now, it's a world-wide practice, used to conserve water while keeping fruits and vegetables irrigated. Also in agriculture, the country developed the first cherry tomatoes and potatoes that can grow with salty water irrigation (perfect for using desalinized water).

The whole country was also an experiment in seeing if an electric car could really replace a more conventionally powered vehicle on the road. A Better Place had the idea to sell people a car, and then rent them the electric battery (which makes the upfront costs a lot less). When your battery runs low, instead of going home to charge it, drivers pull into stations where they change out their batteries for a fresh one, and drive off - easier than filling up your gas tank! With the country being about the size of New Jersey, Israelis are never out of range of a new battery. While we're on the road, how could we not mention Waze - the app that helps you navigate around traffic jams. Inventions like these make you wonder how we ever managed without them!

In terms of security, Israel is ahead of the game in most areas - I'm pretty confidant that since they let me keep my shoes on while going through security, they must have something big up the sleeve. The Iron Dome sounds like something out of the movies or a video game - a machine that shoots missiles out of the sky before they can harm civilians. It was the first thing President Obama saw when he visited Israel earlier this spring.

We could keep going on with all the cool things that have come out of Israel - but we'll end on a light note. Having a dog is a lot of fun, but cleaning up after it on walks is not. Fortunately, an innovative Israel created Ash Poopie - a contraption that vaporizes your dog's waste - without you even having to bend down. Whatever your needs - Israel has an invention for you!

Samantha Hulkower is on sabbatical in Jerusalem from the US. She's appreciating all that life has to offer in Israel and trying to find the humor in every situation (especially dating). You can also view her blog on environmental issues in Israel here.

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