The winter rains have already ceased although political storms keep rumbling, but positive developments in many fields continue to precipitate… writes Michael Kuttner.
CUTTING EDGE FOOD TECHNOLOGY
Some start-up companies are quietly finding new ideas to change the way we think, produce, and eat food. Their goals vary. Some want to make the food we eat safer, some want to make it more nutritious, others want to make it environmentally sustainable. Israel, its northern region of the Galilee in particular, is shaping up to become a new hub for these start-ups.
Many food-tech companies are busy researching new proteins. The demand for alternative protein sources has skyrocketed, and experts have been looking for them virtually everywhere. Developments include a plant-based drink that keeps EL AL pilots awake during long flights. Another one develops lab-made chicken meat.
Other companies are developing new solutions to check for food safety. A portable device that detects contaminants in food, like residues of fertilizer is being developed. The device can be adopted and used by anyone in the food supply chain, from the farm all the way to the supermarket.
Several players in the food-tech ecosystem work on finding new solutions to substitute or reduce sugar in our diets. Just until recently, artificial sweeteners seemed to be the solution to this problem. But then, experts backtracked a bit, saying that also these products may be unhealthy and even addictive. Healthy alternatives are now being investigated.
BRINGING HEALTH CARE TO THE MOST REMOTE AREAS
Over 3 billion people of the world’s population live in rural areas, 90 percent of them in Asia and Africa. One of the major challenges many of these countries face is access to healthcare, where hard-to-reach rural areas bear the brunt of the inequality. In some cases, even where health clinics are relatively accessible, they often offer lower quality care compared to those in urban areas. This is where Israel technology and innovation comes to the rescue.
Among products developed is a small, portable device that can perform automated blood tests, diagnostics, and data analytics on the spot, a kind of hand-held hospital to assist under-equipped medical workers and technicians. Other products are hand-held medical check-up devices, which can examine the ears, throat, heart, lung, abdomen, and skin, and measure heart rate and temperature so a doctor can issue a diagnosis remotely.
A LAND FLOWING WITH MILK & HONEY AND NOW WHISKY
It’s taken a few decades for Israelis to get around to distilling single malt whisky. But now a handful of local distilleries are creating their own sabra spirits, suffused with local flavor and aged slightly more quickly in this warmer climate than in Scotland.
There are currently three boutique distilleries around Israel. That’s a lot of amber spirits for a country that didn’t have any plans for distilleries just five years ago. But it was the very obvious success of the boutique wine industry and then the microbreweries here that led whisky lovers to take the risk.
While Israeli whisky has a long way to go before it challenges Scotland’s reputation and share of the market, given the country’s ingenuity and innovation, Holy Land malt may one day in the not too distant future sweep the world.
WILD LIFE HOSPITAL
While men, women and children are being massacred in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, here in Israel injured creatures are being nursed back to health by dedicated teams of individuals. Watch this video and marvel at how Israel’s amazing wildlife hospital operates to save endangered species and return them to their native habitats.
PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT
Spring has sprung and Passover is looming. This is a favourite time to visit the beautiful nature reserves which help to preserve the diverse environments in this tiny country. If you cannot visit at least enjoy the scenes depicted here.
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.]