Jerusalem, Israel - Aug. 30, 2017 - Monday evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres participated in an innovation event at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, Israel, featuring five Israeli startups (listed below).
Prior to the program, the Secretary General and Prime Minister visited the Tzedek V'Shalom Synagogue of Surinam, which was moved to and reconstructed in the museum. The synagogue was established in the 18th century by Portuguese Jews who came to Suriname from the Netherlands.
In his words of welcome UN Ambassador Danny Danon quoted from Theodore Herzl, "Israel may be small...but if you will it, it is no dream."
Netanyahu emphasized Jewish tradition of learning and searching for answers in his remarks, "Our sages said, 'From Zion will emerge Torah.' Well, from Zion emerges Torah, software, progress; I hope with your help. So welcome, Mr. Secretary General."
Guterres open his remarks mentioning concern for the people left behind in this new world of globalization. However, one presenter after another offered the Secretary-General an option worthy of UN support to help those suffering global regions.
Each of the five featured technologies and their representatives on the panel moderated by Prof. Eugene Kandel, were impressive enough to mention:
HomeBiogas has developed and produced the most efficient, affordable and user-friendly home-based biogas systems in the market today. The biogas system produces clean cooking gas and natural liquid fertilizer for home plants from food and animal waste. CEO and founder Oshik Efrati, said, "To date, HomeBiogas has sold more than 1,000 systems in more than 70 countries worldwide."
Aqwise developed wastewater treatment solutions for industrial and municipal markets. Using Aqwise's technology featuring small plastic bioactive pieces, CEO Elad Frenkel stated, "more than 300 million cubic meters of wastewater per year are purified in more than 500 facilities in 50 countries across five continents." In opening his remarks, Frankel referred to Moses hitting the rock, as possibly the first Israeli innovation to get water.
Water-Gen provides an inexpensive, available and renewable source of clean fresh drinking water by extracting moisture from the air. Water-Gen builds partnerships in areas where sufficient power supplies do not exist. Maxim Pasik, Executive Chairman of Water-Gen, after his presentation, gave Guterres two glasses of water from the office-size cooler. The Secretary-General and Prime Minister raised their glasses for a l'Chaim before drinking.
Sight Diagnostics specializes in the use of computer vision and machine-learning technologies in the field of blood testing to make it accessible. The company has developed the world's first automatic microscope instrument for the diagnosis of malaria. The reality of having blood test results available immediately in the doctor's office, as Sarah Levy Schreier mentioned in her presentation, could revolutionize health care.
Innovation: Africa is an Israeli association working to bring solar, water and agricultural technologies from Israel to rural communities in Africa. Since its establishment in 2008, it has completed the construction of 150 solar facilities providing lighting, access to clean water, improved education, refrigerated storage of vaccines and medicines, and food security for more than a million people in the most remote villages in Africa. Founder and innovator, Sivan Bosowitch-Yaari, was the last speaker on the program, but had the audience's full attention to the end. Former Knesset Member Dov Lipman, was in the audience and told BJL, he was so impressed with Innovation Africa, he is trying to help spread the word of their work.
In his remarks Guterres said, "It is important to remember the enormous contribution of the Jewish people to world culture, to world science, to world philosophy, to world civilization. I think that this contribution enables you to be the world's most successful knowledge-based economy."
From Jerusalem goes forth light. Guterres was shown an impressive display of technology, will be interesting to see what he shares at the United Nations in New York, after his visit to Jerusalem, Ramallah and Gaza City.
Photo essay includes the speakers, dignitaries, including new National Security Chief Meir Ben-Shabbat, and the synagogue which was shown to Secretary-General who is Portuguese.