ISRAEL21c was proud to have brought to light many of the companies and inventors featured by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in its Innovation Showcase — a highlight of the recent AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, DC. With 13,000 participants, this March event was the largest-ever Israel advocacy gathering.
AIPAC Midwest Regional Director Brian Abrahams introduced the showcase by noting that Israel — the 153rd smallest country in the world, with virtually no natural resources and surrounded by hostile nations — nevertheless has become a world leader in science, innovation and technology. He then brought on stage some of the scientists, inventors and CEOs behind these advances.
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Among them were Dr. Amir Goffer, founder of Argo Medical Technologies, maker of the ReWalk exoskeleton that enables people with lower-limb disabilities to walk; Tzameret Fuerst, CEO of a company that developed an FDA-approved system for non-surgical male circumcision used in Africa to prevent the spread of HIV; Isaac Littman, CEO of MobileEye, maker of a novel driver safety system now being installed in several brands of automobiles; Hebrew University Prof. Amir Amedi, a brain scientist pioneering “sensory replacement” methods for helping the blind to see; quantum physicist Boaz Almog of Tel Aviv University, who is working on “superconductors”; Prof. Alon Wolf, founder and director of the Technion’s Biorobotics and Biomechanics Lab; and the three founders of Space IL, engineers of a lunar robot that entered the Google Lunar X Prize competition.
Israeli Presidential Medal of Honor winner Nadav Ben Yehuda was there, too, telling his story about giving up his dream of scaling Mt. Everest in order to save the life a Turkish climber.
Though AIPAC conferences have included an Israel innovation panel for the past few years, the Innovation Showcase was an unprecedented celebration of Israeli ingenuity – and a showstopper, according to one attendee.
“The response from our delegation was very enthusiastic because it inspired people to remember what we’re fighting for,” says Anita Friedman, president of the board of AIPAC of Northern California.
“I think it was a very effective addition to the program because it helped create the full mosaic of what Israel is about. It was also inspiring, in that it showed how Israel connects its principles and philosophy with its practice — what it means to be the Jewish state and how those principles contribute to moving the world, ever so slowly, in the right direction.”
An AIPAC source mentioned that the focus on Israeli innovation “has been picking up speed in the last few years at AIPAC events. The plenary focused heavily on the human side of innovation, which is always very powerful. It helps to underscore the case for Israel.”
The 2013 showcase was designed to focus not just on military and homeland security-related inventions for which Israel is perhaps best known, but also medical, entertainment, agricultural and other diverse products that impact the well-being of people across the planet.
Friedman notes that she had first learned of many of the presented innovations on ISRAEL21c. “It was a nice partnership between ISRAEL21c and AIPAC,” she says. “The experience of being reminded about what Israel stands for really resonates with people from here [the Bay Area] who are so focused on innovation and technology and who are very proud that Israel leads the way.”
We at ISRAEL21c are pleased to enable AIPAC and other organizations in spreading the message about Israel’s amazing advances that are helping to make the world a better place.