The Government is still in a state of limbo with politicians failing to agree on a majority coalition… writes Michael Kuttner.

Meanwhile, the rest of the country is busy getting on with the important challenges of daily life. The Knesset may be gridlocked but our scientists and innovators are certainly not idle. Positive achievements continue to hit the headlines.

ANOTHER CANCER BREAKTHROUGH 

Once again Israeli researchers are bringing hope to all humanity as a new anti cancer drug goes into full use.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEmeJYSwEvs

TAKE A DEEP BREATH TO SOLVE PROBLEMS 

Another amazing discovery by Israeli experts offers a clue to everyone facing problem solving dilemmas.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNLcV5sZNgY

CHAMPION SNIFFER DOG

 It’s not just human Israelis who rank first in the world for scientific and other achievements.

An Israel Tax Authority’s sniffer dog was crowned world champion at a recent international competition.  Katcha, who is usually on patrol at Ben Gurion International Airport, beat 16 other canine competitors at the contest, held in Russia.

Handler Chen Cohen showed off Katcha’s skills for the station, which followed the pair as they walked around looking for illegal drugs and cash being smuggled through the country’s main airport. As the cameras rolled, Katcha got a whiff of something out of the ordinary and soon identified a suitcase that was found to have bundles of euros stuffed inside it.

Cohen, who has worked with Katcha for five years, explained that every day she practices by snuffling bundles of $10,000 to keep her talent honed.

Katcha is not a one-trick pooch; she can also pick up the scent of drugs including cocaine and MDMA, or ecstasy. In 2018 customs officials discovered 1,200 attempts to smuggle drugs through Ben Gurion, the report said. There were also 80 interceptions of smuggled money, totaling nearly $5 million.

LAND OF MILK AND HONEY

Israelis consume 250 grams of honey per person in the Hebrew month of Tishrei, during the High Holiday festivals. According to the Israeli Honey Production and Marketing Board, on average, Israelis consume 600 grams of honey per person during the whole year.

Here are 10 buzz-worthy facts about honey in Israel:

  1. Beekeeping, also known as apiculture, has been a profession in Israel since before the modern state came into being. The Israeli Honey Production and Marketing Board says the trade can be traced back to 1882 in this Land of Milk and Honey.
  2. As of this year, there are 529 beekeepers keeping an eye on some 120,000 hives around the country. The bees produce approximately 35 kilogramsof honey per hive annually.
  3. The local bee tech scene is buzzing with new solutions to help combat colony collapse and improve natural pollination. According to the World Bee Project, 77 percent of our global food supply is dependent on bee pollination. Locally, BeeHerouses beehive sensors to monitor hives. Edete has an automated fruit orchard pollination system that does not require bees. BioBee mass-produces the earth bumblebee for natural pollination of various crops.

4.Oracle and the World Bee Project are collaborating on a data collection project that is meant to help farmers manage bee and pollinator habitats. The global project is currently underway, as a pilot, in the UK, Ireland and Israel.

  1. Israelis consume 4,500 tons of honey per year. According to the Honey Board, in the period leading up to Rosh Hashanah, Israelis consume 40 percent of the overall annual intake.
  2. A new citrus honey on the market this year is named for Nechama Rivlin, the late wife of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. Earlier this month, CEO of the Honey Board Zeev Meidan gave the president a jar of the new honey. “Growing up on an agricultural settlement, she loved Israeli honey with its citrus scent and saw in you the fulfillment of Zionism. Thank you for honoring her memory with this honey that you have produced,” Rivlin told representatives of the Honey Production and Marketing Board and beekeepers from around the country at their annual visit to the president’s residence.
  3. Students from the WIZO Nir Ha’Emek Youth Village represented Israel at the 10th Annual International Meeting of Young Beekeepers in Slovakia earlier this year, winning second place in the mixed delegation category. “I was so happy to hear the young generation of beekeepers did so well. The apple and honey doesn’t fall far from the tree,” President Rivlin told them at a meeting at his residence.
  4. Local beekeepers collaborate with JNF-KKL to plant some 100,000 plantsthat produce pollen and nectar annually to help honey production.
  5. There are 1,100 species of beesin Israel. The Israeli honeybee is actually of Italian origin, and is known as the Apis mellifera ligustica – a subspecies of the western honey bee.
  6. Israeli honey cake, known by its Yiddish name lekach, is a traditional Rosh Hashana must-have. It is a sweet cake made with spices, orange juice and sometimes coffee, to symbolize a sweet new year.

Michael Kuttner is a Jewish New Zealander who for many years was actively involved with various communal organisations connected to Judaism and Israel. He now lives in Israel. 

[This article was originally published on J-Wire and is reproduced here with permission from Michael Kuttner.]