Thou Shalt Innovate: How Israeli Ingenuity Repairs the World.

by | Oct 22, 2018 | Book Reviews

Thou Shalt Innovate: How Israeli Ingenuity Repairs the World.

Avi Jorisch

Gefen Publishing House LTD

In the summer of 2014, along with the rest of the world, I was watching closely as Israel launched  Operation Protective Edge to protect her citizens from Hamas-led rocket attacks coming from Gaza. With guidance from AIPAC, I lobbied my members of Congress to stand by Israel and do everything to protect the Israeli people, especially with continued funding for the Iron Dome. This year at AIPAC’s Policy Conference, an actual Iron Dome was showcased. I was torn between being amazed and terrified at the size. Towering over me, the Iron Dome was huge. Then I thought about it some more, that machine, the one that somehow fit inside the Washington DC Convention Center basement, saves the lives of millions of people, when necessary.

That same summer that as I was watching Operation Protective Edge unfold from Virginia, Avi Jorisch was rushing his three children into the bomb shelter of his Jerusalem home. While Jorisch and his family waited for the comforting sound of the two loud thuds indicating the Iron Dome had been successful in intercepting Hamas’s rockets, he also thought about the effect the invention of the Iron Dome had on Israel’s citizens.

The realization of the positive impact of Israeli innovation did not stop there, and in Thou Shalt Innovate, Jorisch highlights 15 inventions by Israelis that are saving the world today. The book illustrates how Israel’s technological advances have impacted the world, saving millions of lives with medical research, providing water access to drought-affected villages, and bringing healthcare to underserved communities, to name a few.

Jorisch demonstrates how from living with constant war and surrounded by memories of the Holocaust, Israelis have proactively turned to hope and optimism in saving the world. For example, Bernard Bar-Natan, son of Holocaust survivors, developed the Emergency Bandage, a unique life-saving product that instantly controls bleeding. Its use led to the survival of former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords after she was shot in the head at a campaign event. The factory where the Emergency Bandages are produced is owned by a Muslim man, Ahmed Heib, whose employees are all women. This is just another way Jorisch shows the diversity and cooperation of Israel beyond the media reports.

While Jorisch does not hide that Israel has its fair share of problems, the stories he tells in the book as he says, share a tale of Israelis who have chosen hope and healing over death and destruction, and shine a light in a part of the world that has more than its share of darkness.

Melissa Eichelbaum is assistant director of United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s Community Relations Council.