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KOPPEL:Israel small giant in tech field

Published: March 18, 2005
Section: Opinions


A new exhibit entitled Israel: On the Cutting Edge is on display in the Shapiro Campus Center this week. The exhibit, sponsored by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Combined Jewish Philanthropies, demonstrates how technology developed in Israel influences our daily lives.

After viewing the exhibit, one is challenged to imagine life without Israeli technology. Try making it through one day without using cell phones, voice mail, Intel Centrino processors, and Instant Messenger. All were developed in Israel, along with hundreds of medical devices, disease treatments, and other important advances.

Israels vital contributions to technology seem especially remarkable since the tiny nation accounts for only 1/50 of the population of the Middle East and just 1/800 of the land in the region. Yet it should be no surprise that Israels high-tech sector far exceeds those of its neighbors.

Zionists for Historical Veracity, the Brandeis student group that helped bring the exhibit to campus, held several events this week under the banner Israel Inspires. The group could not have selected a more fitting title. Indeed, Israels success should inspire the world to mimic its embrace of globalization and its investment in human resources.

Israel has demonstrated an exceptional willingness to share ideas and information. Numerous joint projects between Israel and other countries have yielded improved technology. For example, Israel and the United States cooperatively developed the Arrow ballistic missile defense system to protect soldiers and civilians from missile attacks.

The freest society in the Middle East, Israel protects the rights of all of its citizens regardless of race, sex, sexual orientation, national origin or religion. Every citizen of Israel can oppose the government, vote, run for office and speak freely without fear of imprisonment or physical harm. Freedom is a prerequisite for economic and academic success. Is it any wonder that Israel leads the world in its percentage of engineers in the workforce and has the worlds highest percentage of home computers per capita?

Too often it seems that people are willing to dismiss Israel as a threat without first considering the numerous positive contributions the country has made to the world. A widely publicized October 2003 poll taken by the European Union suggested that over half of Europeans see Israel as the greatest threat to world peace. Perhaps those Europeans would be well advised to turn off their cell phones, shut down their computers, and reevaluate their position.