The State of Israel is the 100th smallest country in the world with less than 1/1000th of the world’s population, yet her people have accomplished so very much even as she has struggled in war and been forced to spend more money per capita on her own protection than any other county on earth.

On Israel’s 65th birthday I pause to marvel in all she is and represents to the Jewish people.

I raise my glass to her accomplishments in literature, medicine, agriculture, the arts, science, and technology.

I tip my hat to her courage and survival.

Consider the following:

  1. Israel is the only country in the Middle East that based its principles of government on both democratic liberal values and on the values of the Biblical prophets.
  2. Israel is the largest immigrant-absorbing nation on earth.
  3. Israel has the world’s second highest per capita rate of published books.
  4. Israel is the only nation on earth that resurrected an ancient language, Hebrew, as its national language.
  5. Israeli poets and song writers are regarded as heroes.
  6. Israel is the only country in the world that entered the 21st century with a net gain in its number of trees.
  7. Israel has more museums per capita than any country.
  8. Israel developed the cell phone, Windows NT and XP operating systems, Pentium MMX Chip technology, the Pentium-4 microprocessor, the Centrino Processor, voice mail technology, and AOL Instant Messenger ICQ.
  9. Israel has the highest per capita rate of home computers in the world.
  10. Israel designed the airline industry’s most impenetrable flight security system.
  11. Israel designed and implemented the Iron Dome Defense system.
  12. Israel has the highest ratio of university degrees in the world.
  13. Israel produces more scientific papers per capita than any other nation, and one of the highest per capita rates of patents filed.
  14. Israel has the third highest rate of entrepreneurship in the world.
  15. Israel is second in the world in the number of start-up companies behind only the U.S.
  16. Israel has the world’s largest per capita number of biotech start-ups.
  17. Israel has the third largest number of NASDAQ listed companies, behind the U.S. and Canada, and is ranked second for venture capital funds.
  18. Israel has the highest average living standard in the Middle East.
  19. 24% of Israel’s workforce holds university degrees, ranking third in the industrialized world; 12% hold advanced degrees.
  20. Israel leads the world in the number of scientists and technicians in the workforce.
  21. Israel is a world leader in water renewal, recycling, desalination, and solar heating.
  22. Israel invented the drip irrigation system used around the world.
  23. An Israeli company is developing a toilet that needs no water and generates its own power to turn solid waste into sterile and odorless fertilizer in 30 seconds, thereby affecting 1.1 billion people who do not use a toilet.
  24. An Israeli scientist has developed a way to preserve 50% of every grain and pulse harvest lost to pests and mold in the developing world.
  25. Israel won international praise for the speed and expertise with which it responded to a 7.0-magnitude earthquake in Haiti that killed 300,000 by sending a team of 240  Israeli doctors, nurses, rescue and relief workers to set up an advanced field hospital to work in search-and-rescue missions.
  26. An Israeli company developed a water purification system that delivers safe drinking water from contaminated water, seawater and even urine thereby addressing the tragedy of 1.6 million children under the age of five who die annually from untreated drinking water in developing nations.
  27. Israeli scientists developed the first fully computerized, no-radiation, diagnostic instrumentation for breast cancer.
  28. Hadassah medical researchers found the gene that causes liver disease, thus paving the way for new treatments for alcoholism.
  29. Tel Aviv University Scientists say a nutritional supplement commonly sold in health food stores can delay the advance of degenerative brain disorders such as Parkinson’s disease.
  30. Israel’s Given Imaging developed the first ingestible video camera, so small it fits inside a pill that can view the small intestine from the inside to detect for cancer and digestive disorders.
  31. Israeli researchers developed a device that helps the heart pump blood that is synchronized with a camera that helps doctors diagnose the heart’s mechanical operations through a system of sensors.
  32. An Israeli company developed a computerized system for ensuring proper administration of medications, thus removing human error from medical treatment.

In the spirit of Yom Ha’atzmaut I celebrate her, despite her imperfections and challenges, with enthusiasm and the words of the Psalmist in my heart: “This is the day God has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it!” (Psalm 118:24)