Welcome to 2020, writes Michael Kuttner.

The political crystal ball is decidedly opaque but one thing is certain, namely that this year will once again witness outstanding achievements by Israel in technological innovations, discoveries, inventions and medical breakthroughs.

This tiny country is already on the verge of becoming a major exporter of energy and hopefully the economic benefits accruing will benefit all sectors of Israeli society.

ISRAEL IN THE TOP 10 AGAIN

A study, which drew on public data from bodies including the International Labor Organization, UNESCO and the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, found that the U.S. ranked most highly in aggregate across three main segments considered conducive to women’s entrepreneurship.

Those were: a) Women’s advancement outcomes, such as women’s labor force participation; b) Knowledge assets and financial access, including the ability to secure funding; and c) supporting entrepreneurial factors, like the cultural perception of women entrepreneurs.

Out of a total of 100 points, the U.S. scored 70.3, fueled by a “surge in women’s entrepreneurial activity rate” and a boost to supporting conditions, such as the ease of doing business. New Zealand scored 70.2 thanks to strong governance and good financial support. Canada (69) ranked in third place, again due to good financial inclusion and sound cultural perceptions.

Rounding out the top 10 best places for women entrepreneurs were Israel (68.4), Ireland (67.7), Taiwan (66.2), Switzerland (65.8),  Singapore(65.6), U.K. (65.6), Poland (65.1) and the Philippines (65.1).

FOOD OF THE FUTURE

Three Israeli food-tech initiatives were among 15 revolutionary startups to pitch groundbreaking, sustainable solutions for the food and agriculture industry in London recently…

Redefine Meat of Rehovot won the People’s Choice Award, one of three top prizes. The company is developing “a plant-based steak without the cow in the middle.”

The Redefine Meat technology will use a proprietary recipe of sustainable and natural ingredients and a 3D printer to produce a vegan food with the appearance, texture and flavor of meat.

The other Israeli finalists in the competition and networking platform were ag-tech startup Trellis, whose AI-powered Food System Intelligence Platform aims to optimize the way millions of acres of land are transformed into consumable food; and Else Nutrition, developer of a non-soy, nondairy infant formula.

ONLY IN ISRAEL

With all the uncertainties, problems and challenges which lie ahead there is no better way to start 2020 than to read and watch some of the inspiring moments which make Israel such a special place.

If your car breaks down or some other emergency happens there are volunteers ready, willing and able to ride to your rescue.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMrp01fO3_U

How will the pure oil for the menorah in a rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem be prepared and made ready?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtR0UeR5Sgw

Where else in the world would a group of soldiers riding on a light rail train burst into exuberant Chanukkah songs? This happened on a commuter train in Jerusalem, Israel’s eternal Capital.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOSGr7r7azg

Countless Jewish individuals looking to reconnect with their lost roots find their way to Israel. Coming from many parts of the world and being cut off from their heritage they make their way back to the home of the Jewish People.

Watch and be moved by this true story of one such person who rediscovered his faith here in the place where it all began.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZGKy5gXkew

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.]