Australia and New Zealand may be closed for the summer but here in Israel winter rains have finally arrived and good news keeps pouring forth…writes Michael Kuttner.

HEALTHY LONGEVITY

Media obsession with publishing negative news about Israel results in positive developments being ignored. Thus, a recent survey on the health of the Israeli Arab population most probably drew a blank as far as “down under” media is concerned.

This survey found that in terms of life expectancy and infant mortality rates, the Arab Israeli population ranks highest in the Arab and Muslim world. The average mortality rate among Israeli Arabs was 79, higher than wealthy countries such as Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, and equal to that of the general US population.

Israeli Arabs have access to one of the most advanced medical systems in the region, and enjoy all services provided by the Jewish State.

FIRST ISRAELI ARAB RHODES SCHOLAR

Suffering from a degenerative neurological disorder has not deterred this tough Israeli Arab woman from pursuing her goals.

Lian Najami [pictured above], who is 23, won the prestigious Rhodes scholarship last month. It was the latest of many affirmations of her relentlessly forward-looking worldview.

The honor, which provides a free education at Oxford University, was also an opportunity to advance her advocacy work to make Israel a more inclusive place for people like her: a disabled Arab Muslim woman.

Her message: Arab Israelis, who make up some 20 percent of Israel’s citizenry, can succeed in the Jewish state. She has held herself up as living proof. She credits her success to an excellent education in Israel and her social worker who helped her gain confidence in coping with her disability.

Surveying the chaos and lack of human rights in neighbouring countries which fill our TV screens and newspapers every day it is refreshing to hear and read about such success stories. However, if you rely on your local sources you will never know.

ISRAEL’S CONTINUING INTERNATIONAL AID

A fund is planned to be established to invest in fifty developing countries.

Each country will receive an aid package based on its individual needs, in various areas including tech, water desalination, agriculture and leadership development.

Two experts in the field of irrigation and crop management visited the small Southern African country of Swaziland for a joint course, together with Swaziland’s Water and Agricultural Development Enterprise. They trained 19 individuals working in the agricultural field so they will know exactly how to train various farmers on how to irrigate and manage crops correctly in order to increase yields from their various agricultural endeavors.

ISRAEL IS GROWING

As at 31 December 2017 Israel’s population reached 8.79 million.

Jews made up 75%; Arabs (Moslems & Christian) comprised 21% and the balance was non-Arab Christians and other minorities.

During 2017 there were 180,000 babies born of whom 74% were Jewish, 23% Arab and the rest other minorities.

Approximately 29,000 immigrants made aliyah.

This year should see further growth and development.

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.]

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