New exhibit brings positive images of Israel to US college campuses.If you’re an American college student, almost all of what you know about Israel is what you’ve seen on your TV screens over the last four years. Terror, suicide bombers, reprisals, raids, and a steady diet of violence.

Even American Jewish students – who have not lived through cataclysmic events like the Six-Day War or the Yom Kippur War – can find it difficult to identify with the Middle East’s only democracy.

This is the impetus behind ‘Technology for the Next Generation’ – a unique traveling exhibit that is now being showcased on American college campuses. The result of collaboration between the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston (CJP), the Israel Foreign Ministry, ISRAEL21c and Upstart Activist, the exhibit is bringing positive images of Israel to the college campus community by showing students how Israeli-developed technology influences and impacts on their daily lives.

Last week, the business world was abuzz over Israeli internet search company GuruNet and its Answers.com Web site which Forbes called “the most useful, smartest, coolest, easiest-to-use Web innovation to come around in years.”

Evidently Google thinks the same way, as the giant search engine began directing traffic to Answers.com, and Amazon.com’s A9 search engine uses it for the “reference” section of its site.

It is Israeli achievements like these that are used on a daily basis by young Americans that our traveling expo is intent on exposing to college audiences.

During the winter/spring semester, the exhibit will be displayed on such prestigious Boston area campuses as Harvard, MIT, Brandeis, Boston University, Wellesley, Boston College, U Mass-Amherst, and Northeastern. From there, the exhibit will continue on to other American campuses throughout 2005.

Featuring some of the most successful innovations, products and discoveries to have emerged from Israel, the five-panel exhibit shows American students a highly relevant, attractive and non-political side of Israeli society: the contributions Israelis have made to make the world a better place.

In addition to GuruNet, some of the shining examples of Israeli technological innovation are represented – including displays on Given Imaging and their revolutionary ‘camera-in-a-capsule’ technology for intestinal endoscopy, M-Systems Disk-On-Key flash memory technology, Teva’s groundbreaking drugs to treat multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease, PowerPaper’s paper-thin ‘batteries’, and Intel’s world-leading computer chip hardware. And those are just a few of the companies and technologies represented by the graphically powerful and textually informative exhibit.

“College students today have only seen Israel as a place of conflict and war. This exhibit shows them that there’s another Israel that exists – one of medical advances, technological breakthroughs and scientific discoveries that are helping each one of us,” said Amir Gissin, director of the Foreign Ministry’s Public Affairs Division, and one of the partners in the project.

If you’re in the Boston area this winter and spring, please check the CJP website to see a schedule of where and when the exhibit is going to be displayed. You can also inquire there about bringing the exhibit to your community.

And if you can’t get there in person, you can ‘visit’ the exhibition online at the Foreign Ministry’s site .

You might just learn something new. Most Americans know Israel as a military powerhouse, and a bastion of democracy – one of the most loyal and reliable allies that the US can boast of.

But, to quote from the exhibit’s introduction, “You’re sure to be amazed at the extent to which Israel touches your life on a daily basis.”

As someone whose job is to regularly discover new stories to report on for ISRAEL21c, it continues to amaze me.