A brief history of the Jewish people
· The twelve Israelite tribes, having escaped slavery in Egypt, settle in the land of Canaan between 1200 and 1000 BCE.
· Under Saul, David and Solomon, respectively, the tribes are united under a single monarchy.
· David makes Jerusalem his capital. His son and successor, Solomon, builds the First Temple.
· Solomon dies in 930 BCE. Mistakes made by his heir lead to the division of the united monarchy into two kingdoms: the kingdom of Israel, comprising of the ten northern tribes, with its capital in Samaria; and the kingdom of Judah, comprising of the two southern tribes, with its capital in Jerusalem.
· In 722 BC the Assyrians conquer and settle the kingdom of Israel, scattering the northern tribes (hereafter known as the ‘ten lost tribes’).
· Judah is conquered by the Babylonians in 586 BCE, with much of the population deported to Babylon.
· The exile ends in 538 BCE when the Persian conqueror of Babylonia, Cyrus the Great, gives the Judeans permission to return to their homeland. The returnees proceed to build the Second Temple.
· The Persians conquer Israel but are, in turn, conquered by Alexander the Great. In 167 BCE the Maccabees revolt and gain independence for the Judeans.
· Two decades, Simon Maccabaeus establishes the Hasmonean Dynasty, which rules Judea and the surrounding regions.
· In 63 BCE, Judea becomes a protectorate of Rome. In 37 BCE, Herod becomes the client king of Judea, reigning until 4 BCE.
· The Roman Empire annexes Judea in 6 CE. The first Jewish revolt against Rome begins in 66 CE.
· In 70 CE, the Romans almost completely destroy Jerusalem and the Second Temple. A second Jewish revolt against Rome some decades later is crushed.
· The Romans, in an effort to de-Judaize the land, rename Judea as Palestine.
· Despite the best efforts of subsequent invaders, a Jewish remnant remains in Palestine and is occasionally joined by Jewish migrants from other parts of the world. During the centuries that follow Roman rule, there are Jewish communities in Safed, Gaza, Ashkelon, Jaffa, Jericho, Tiberias, Jerusalem and Hebron.
· Following Roman and Byzantine rule, Palestine is conquered by Muslim invaders in 634 CE.
· Throughout the Middle Ages, Muslims and Christian crusaders wrestle for control of the land.
· Between 1517 and 1917, Palestine is a province of the Ottoman Empire. In 1847, there is a massacre of Jews in Jerusalem by Muslims. Several pogroms take place throughout the Middle East.
· The Ottomans, having lost the First World War, relinquish control of the Middle East to the British. In accordance with international law, Britain recognises the right of Jews to live in Palestine.
· Palestinian state of Transjordan is created in 1923.
· Attacks on Jews and Jewish communities increase. In 1929, the Jews of Jerusalem and Hebron are violently attacked.
· In 1947, the United Nations votes by a two-thirds majority to divide west Palestine into two states. The Arabs reject the vote and declare war on the Palestinian Jews, who declare independence in May 1948.
· In 1967, the State of Israel wins the Six-Day war and now controls Gaza and the West Bank.
· In 1993, Israel and the Palestinians agree to share power in the West Bank. In 2000 and 2008, Israel offers to give up control of the West Bank in return for peace. On both occasions, the Palestinians refuse.
Maps of Israel and Judea from 1250 BCE to present day
The earliest Zionist pioneers in the late 19th century had to a lot to contend with. They faced malarial swamps and barren deserts. There were no natural resources and precious little water. The settlers drained the swamps and transformed them into fertile farmland, thereby boosting agricultural production and providing space for housing. From then on, Zionists worked harm to improve healthcare in Palestine. A British official in 1937 reported that the increase in the number of Arabs moving to Palestine “had been largely due to the health services combating malaria, reducing infant death rates, improving water supply and sanitation.”
The resourcefulness of the Jews has been unrelenting. The State of Israel is a nation of excellence and innovation. It has the highest number of university degrees per capita in the world, and since the founding of the state, Israel has won more Nobel Prizes per capita than any other country (apart from Switzerland). Many of these prizes were for excellence in chemistry. More Israeli patents are registered in the US than from Russia, India and China combined. It also leads the world in patents for medical equipment.
Below is a breakdown of some of Israel’s inventions and discoveries since 1948. It is far from exhaustive.
Physics and chemistry
· There are more scientists and technicians in Israel than anywhere in the world, including the US. Israel has the most engineers and physicians per capita.
· Israel’s scientific research institutions are ranked 3rd in the world. Israel produces the 3rd most scientific papers per capita, and the most in stem cell science.
· Israel is ranked 2nd in space sciences.
· In 1972, Jacob Bekenstein of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem was the first to suggest that black holes should have a well-defined entropy. He also formulated the generalized second law of thermodynamics, black hole thermodynamics, for systems including black holes. Both contributions were affirmed when Stephen Hawking proposed the existence of Hawking radiation two years later.
· In 1959, Yakir Aharonov and David Bohm discovered a quantum mechanical phenomenon now known as the Aharonov-Bohm effect.
· In 2009, Dan Shechtman, of the Technion University in Haifa, discovered quasicrystals, which are crystals with structural form previously thought to be impossible
Above: Atomic model of quasicrystal surface
· Israeli company Medigus has created the world’s smallest video camera for medical endoscopic procedures.
· Eshkol-Wachman Movement Notation is a notation system for recording movement on paper or computer screen. The system was created in Israel by dance theorist Noa Eshkol and Avraham Wachman, a professor of architecture at the Technion. The system is used in dance, physical therapy, animal behaviour and early diagnosis of autism.
· Nanowire , a conductive wire made of a string of tiny particles of silver, a thousand times thinner than a human hair, was invented by Technion University in Haifa.
· The world's smallest DNA computing machine system was developed by the Weizmann Institute of Science. It is composed of enzymes and DNA molecules capable of performing simple mathematical calculations.
· Discoveries made by the Weizmann Institute of Science led to the creation of Copaxone immunomodulator, a drug for patients with multiple sclerosis. The Weizmann Institute was also responsible for Beta-Interferon, another drug for multiple sclerosis patients.
· Israeli professor, Rafael Beyar of Israel, invented a device called B-Stent to hold arteries open, thereby improving blood flow to the heart muscle.
· Technion University in Haifa worked with scientists in the US to design a surgical device called SpineAssist, a robotic tool which guides doctors through spinal cord operations.
· The Israeli-designed ReWalk is a bionic body suit that enables a paralyzed person to stand upright, walk, sit and climb stairs.
· Researchers from Jerusalem's Hadassah Hospital pioneered a method for producing large amounts of human foetal stem cells that could be used to cure Parkinson's disease and grow new organs.
Above: ReWalk suit
· Israeli gun designer Uziel Gal developed the Uzi Submachine gun in 1948. It was officially adopted by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in 1951.
· Following the 1972 Yom Kippur War, Israel developed the unmanned aerial vehicle, an aircraft that flies without a human crew on board.
· In 2011, the Iron Dome was made operational. Invented by an Israeli defense company, the Iron Dome is a mobile air defense system designed to intercept short-range rockets and artillery shells.
· In 2010, the IDF heaped praise on a newly-designed through-wall vision system. Designed by an Israeli company, the unique radar utilizes Ultra Wide Band to allow users to see through walls.
· 1n 1999, Israeli inventors from M-Systems patented the USB flash drive.
· In 1997, an Israeli company launched Babylon, a computer dictionary and language translation software.
· In 1996, Mirabilis launched the world’s first-ever Instant Messaging software
· The world first processors were all invented by Israeli engineers in Intel’s Israel branch.
· Windows operating systems XP and Vista, including Microsoft Office, were invented by Microsoft Israel.
· Jewish engineer Robert Adler invented the remote control and developed it in Israel.
· In 2006, Google acquired an advanced text search algorithm invented by an Israeli student.
· Internet security was pioneered in Israel. The firewall and the first PC anti-virus software were invented in the Jewish state.
· Mobile phones, voice mail and the camera function were all invented in Israel.
· Israel's most-exported environmental technology is the refined drip irrigation system, which allows farmers to produce greater crop yields while using less water. This technology is used in Africa, Australia and the Americas.
· Israel is the only country that entered the 21st century with a net gain in its number of trees, which is impressive given that the country is mainly desert.
· Per acre, Israel is one of the world’s largest crops producers.
· Israel operates the world’s largest desalinization plant.
· The Jewish state is ranked in the top five Cleantech countries of the world.
· 90% of Israeli homes use solar energy for hot water, the highest percentage in the world.
· Israel is the first country to host a national electric car network.
· At the end of the 1990s, technicians in Haifa developed the “super-iron” battery, a new class of a rechargeable electric battery based on a special kind of iron.
· In 2006 it was reported that the Weismann Institute had developed technology for producing hydrogen in vehicles.
Above: Weizmann Institute
Consumer goods and appliances
· The first type of epilator, an electrical device used to remove hair, was the Epilady released in Israel in 1986.
· The Wonder Pot, a pot developed for baking on the stovetop rather than in an oven, was introduced in Israel during the 1950s.
· Israel is at the cutting edge of fashion technology. Israeli company Tefron uses computerized robotic manufacturing methods to produce seamless garments for Victoria's Secret, Gap and Banana Republic, among others.
· BabySense, a non-touch, no-radiation device designed to prevent crib death, was developed in Israel.
· Israel has the most startups per capita. In absolute numbers, Israel has more startups than any country, after the US.
· Israel has the 3rd highest rate of entrepreneurship among women in the world.
· Israel has attracted the most venture capital investment per capita in the world, 30 times more than Europe.
· After the US, Israel has more NASDAQ-listed companies than any country.