Haley’s comments: Top 10 Israeli inventions

By Haley Abramson Senior, John Burroughs School

Israel is a homeland for some people, a dream for others, but it relates to everyone through science and research. Other than Judaism itself, Israelis have invented a vast array of mechanisms to aid the modern world.

What follows is a list of the Top 10 Israeli inventions that I deem most important, with honorable mentions including the domesticated golden hamster and the color hologram.

10. Drip Irrigation: Israel is hot, dry and contains an impressive agriculture industry in largely due to one man. Astute Israeli Simcha Blass noticed that a tree constantly fed small amounts of water grew much faster than one that was watered periodically. Based on this observation, he developed Netafim in 1965 to bring drip irrigation to farms, and now his company operates in 112 countries worldwide.

9. Pillcam: Aptly named for its size and purpose, the Pillcam takes images throughout the digestive process for an inside look on the gastrointestinal tract. Disposable and conveniently unobtrusive, it has helped many patients by detecting irregularities in the colon or esophagus without the need for sedation or scopes.

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8. Brainsway: A new treatment for depression and other brain disorders, Brainsway is paving the way to safer cures with its dTMS, Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. A helmet is placed over the patient*s head during a painless 15-minute treatment. Since its founding in 2003, Brainsway has been extremely successful and won the Entrepreneurship Award at the Jerusalem Business Networking Forum conference just last month.

7. Power Rangers: Unite! This classic, colorful, Ninja TV show came to the United States with Israeli producer Haim Saban of Saban Entertainment in 1993 and has since spawned 19 seasons and two movies.

6. SodaStream: ※SMART: Better for you. Better for your family. Better for the environment,§ SodaStream*s motto says. With its machine, anyone can turn water into bubbly beverages within seconds and without hassle. Based in Israel, it has has expanded to being sold in 60,000 stores internationally.

5. Instant Messaging: In 1996, Israeli company Mirabilis launched the program central to this fast-paced world of communications: ICQ, the first online instant messaging technology.  AOL bought the company for $407 million and popularized the service in America (remember signing up for an AIM account? Ah, elementary school memories!).

4. Nano Retina: By implanting a small chip to stimulate neurons in the eyes of those affected by macular degeneration, Nano Retina can restore sight to the blind. It interacts with rechargeable glasses to restore functions such as reading, and the half-hour procedure has only a one-week recovery period. Founder Yossi Gross expects Nano Retina to enter the market in 2016; it passed the first line of testing in 2010.

3. Flash Drive: Saving the lives of millions of students worldwide whose computers crashed or who forgot to print their essays, three Israelis invented the flash drive, which backs up papers, videos, photos and anything else crucial to the life of a teenager. Formerly known as the Disk-on-Key, Israeli tech company M-Systems sold its invention in 2006 to American-owned SanDisk for $1.6 billion.

2. Iron Dome: This United States-backed, Israel invented project intercepts rockets raining in from Gaza by firing massive projectiles that destroy the incoming explosives. With a 90 percent success rate, it is also extremely expensive: $50,000 per defense rocket. Israel thus far has invested $1 billion into Iron Dome, and the United States has supported the project with $235 million this year alone.

1. Cherry Tomato: One of the tastier elements of a salad, the cherry tomato did not exist until Israeli botanists combined the better genes of various tomatoes, such as longer lives and resistance to diseases, in the 1970s. BonTom and Hishtil, the current world leaders in tomato development and breeding, continue to work to create the ideal plump, red fruit.

Editors note: Information for this commentary collected from aish.com, online news magazine israel21c.org and online Israeli newspaper Times of Israel (timesofisrael.com).