Good news from the 100th smallest country, with less than 1/1000th of the world's population.


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Israeli medical research boosts Superman's hopes. Actor Christopher Reeve said yesterday that his optimism about recovering from a catastrophic spinal injury has been boosted by meeting disabled Israelis and the country's cutting-edge medical researchers. The former Superman star, who has been paralysed from the neck down since a horse-riding accident in 1995, is in Israel this week to study the country's treatment of spinal injuries and meet Israelis injured in terrorist attacks. Reeve said his encounter with a young man who'd recovered the ability to walk after undergoing pioneering surgery, developed at Israel's Weizmann Institute of Science, "renewed my hope and optimism. It's the most extraordinary case of recovery I've ever seen in a human being." Israel also is a major centre for stem cell research, which many scientists believe could be used to treat a vast array of conditions from spinal injury to diabetes and Parkinson's disease.

Israel invents cheap way to treat cancer. The sun may offer a cheaper alternative to traditional medical lasers, Israeli researchers said Wednesday. Solar-powered lasers can kill tissues as well as medical lasers, but at a lower cost, said Jeffrey Gordon, a researcher at Ben-Gurion University in Negev, Israel, who led the study. That could make the lasers affordable for hospitals that cannot buy traditional medical lasers, which concentrate electricity.

Rafael's newest missiles among the world's best. Israel is one step closer to producing the most advanced air-to-air missile in history, according to Rafael, the government-owned Israel Armament Development Authority. Anything he sees from his cockpit, he can shoot down. The pilot can even destroy aircraft on his tail without needing to turn his jet around.

Israel Retores almost Extinct Oryx. Scimitar-horned oryx once numbered in the hundreds of thousands, but they were shot into extinction in the native habitats in Africa. Israel was a leader in the effort to bring the species back home.

Israel's 10 greatest inventions . In search of the miraculous in the everyday: drip irrigation, the Arrow missile, and eight other inventions that make Israel great For nearly two decades Americans have been trying without success to create an anti-ballistic missile system that can bat down incoming enemy missiles. It took Israeli aeronautical engineer Dov Raviv and his Israeli Aircraft Industries crew just seven days to come up with a successful solution.

EU strikes farm deal with Israel. The European Commission and Israel have agreed on a package of new measures to liberalize their mutual trade in farm products. Under the accord, Israel has notably agreed to increase its import quotas and to cut customers duties levied on a range of products including cattle, dairy products, prepared and dried vegetables and some fruits. In return the EU has given Israel "further concessions" on products such as fresh fruit, fresh and processed vegetables and wine, as well as dropping a price-fixing system for flowers, a key Israeli export.

Hip-hop Thrives in Israel The 10th anniversary celebration of hip-hop in Israel took place July 3rd in Tel Aviv. Israeli youth are mass consumers of Hebrew hip-hop, a music genre that is "just beginning," according to concert producers and hip-hop artists alike. Israeli hip-hop cuts across lines of ethnicity not only between Arabs and Jews, but within the Jewish community itself -- featuring artists from Ethiopian, Mizrahi (Middle Eastern/North African), Sephardic (Spanish-Portuguese and Latin), and Ashkenazi (Central/Eastern European) backgrounds.

Israeli Banks Rank in top 12% of Banks. Bank Leumi today announced that it was ranked top bank in the Middle East and number 126 in a list of the world’s top 1,000 banks in the July edition of the prestigious banking magazine "The Banker". Leumi said it was rated as the largest bank in Israel with the highest capital. Bank Hapoalim, Leumi’s main rival, was rated number 127 in the world.

Israeli tourism showing signs of recovery. Visits to Israel are increasing in numbers that are beginning to resemble pre-intifadah levels. Israeli tourism officials are forecasting that one million visitors will travel to Israel in 2003, up from 880,000 the year before. The Ministry of Tourism reported that hotel stays in May stood at 1.9 million, up three per cent from 2002 figures.

Facts about the 100th smallest country, with less than 1/1000th of the world's population.

  • Israel has the highest ratio of university degrees to the population in the world.
  • Israel is the only liberal democracy in the Middle East.
  • In 1984 and 1991, Israel airlifted a total of 22,000 Ethiopian Jews at risk in Ethiopia to safety in Israel.
  • When Golda Meir was elected Prime Minister of Israel in 1969, she became the world's second elected female leader in modern times.
  • When the U. S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya was bombed in 1998, Israeli rescue teams were on the scene within a day - and saved three victims from the rubble.
  • Israel has the third highest rate of entrepreneurship - and the highest rate among women and among people over 55 - in the world.
  • Relative to its population, Israel is the largest immigrant-absorbing nation on earth. Immigrants come in search of democracy, religious freedom, and economic opportunity.
  • Israel was the first nation in the world to adopt the Kimberly process, an international standard that certifies diamonds as "conflict free."
  • Israel has the world's second highest per capita of new books.
  • Israel is the only country in the world that entered the 21st century with a net gain in its number of trees, made more remarkable because this was achieved in an area considered mainly desert.
  • Israel has more museums per capita than any other country.
  • Israel leads the world in the number of scientists and technicians in the workforce, with 145 per 10,000, as opposed to 85 in the U.S., over 70 in Japan, and less than 60 in Germany. With over 25% of its work force employed in technical professions. Israel places first in this category as well.
  • Israel has the highest per capita ratio of scientific publications in the world by a large margin, as well as one of the highest per capita rates of patents filed.
  • In proportion to its population, Israel has the largest number of startup companies in the world. In absolute terms, Israel has the largest number of startup companies than any other country in the world, except the US (3,500 companies mostly in hi-tech).
  • Israel is ranked #2 in the world for VC funds right behind the US.
  • Israel has the highest percentage in the world of home computers per capita.
  • Outside the United States and Canada, Israel has the largest number of NASDAQ listed companies
  • Israel has the highest average living standards in the Middle East. The per capita income in 2000 is over $17,500, exceeding that of the UK.
  • With more than 3,000 high-tech companies and start-ups, Israel has the highest concentration of hi-tech companies in the world (apart from the Silicon Valley).
  • With an aerial arsenal of over 250 F-16s, Israel has the largest fleet of the aircraft outside of the US.
  • Israel's $100 billion economy is larger than all of its immediate neighbors combined.
  • The cell phone was developed in Israel by Motorola-Israel. Motorola built its largest development center worldwide in Israel.
  • Windows NT software was developed by Microsoft-Israel.
  • The Pentium MMX Chip technology was designed in Israel at Intel.
  • Voice mail technology was developed in Israel.
  • AOL's instant message program was designed by an Israeli software company.
  • Both Microsoft and Cisco built their only R&D facilities outside the US in Israel
  • The city of Beer Sheva in Israel has the highest percentage in the world of Chess Grand Masters per capita – one for every 22,875 residents.
  • On a per capita basis, Israel has the largest number of biotech start-ups
  • Israel has the largest raptor migration in the world, with hundreds of thousands of African birds of prey crossing as they fan out into Asia.
  • Twenty-four percent of Israel's workforce holds university degrees -- ranking third in the industrialized world, after the United States and Holland -- and 12 percent hold advanced degrees.