Israel helps create communications, but the political capital is going elsewhere.On a shopping trip, browsing up and down the aisles of Best Buy and Circuit City looking for the latest in techno-wizardry, what did I find beamed onto those big-screen TVs?
Ironically, bouncing off satellites way up in the heavens and into view were images of the latest round of violence in Israel.
Why irony you wonder? Part of it stems from the fact that the technology enabling us to view the constant barrage of horrific images and bad news coming from Israel comes, well – from Israel. The Intel Pentium chips making all of those computers whir and hum was developed in Israel. They are working on the next generation now. Mobile telecommunications and satellites? Israel.
Yet all the imagery and information Americans ever get of Israel, when it’s not being blamed for the Sept. 11 attacks by extremist hate groups, are of violence.
Sadly it struck me, during the Christmas season when the spirit of gift giving and generosity is at its peak, most of us looked to the place it all began with a combination of revulsion and horror, rather than wonderment and joy. Bethlehem and the surrounding area today are awash in murder and terror, as is the whole country. We have to avert our eyes the bloodshed is so vivid red on the Sony.
Part of the answer is to change the programming, but not change the network. In other words, let’s open our eyes to the real story of Israel’s genius, beyond the violence. With more people with doctorates per capita than any other country, Israel is responsible for astonishing breakthroughs in biotechnology, medicine and software. The entire world owes a debt of gratitude to the Israeli developers of the diabetes vaccine, the Israeli research team on the Human Genome Project and the Israeli inventors of the Given capsule, a pill that takes pictures inside your body for medical diagnosis.
The same hope we cherish of the belief in the betterment of humanity derived from the Bible is gift-wrapped in the very sentiment we instant message our loved ones far away. By messaging them, I will make them smile and give them a feeling of warmth.
By the way, the instant message was developed in Israel. It’s also one more message we never receive or hear about.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. AOL developed the instant message and Intel in Silicon Valley developed Pentium. Well, actually, today’s instant messaging was created in 1996 by four young Tel-Aviv computer nerds whose invention caught the attention of AOL. And Intel relied on its Haifa Development Center to author the Pentium family of chips.
Because most of the world is unaware of who Israel really is, apart from violence and strife, Israel needs to share itself with the world by sending its message over the same beams of light that carry violence and bloodshed today.
Just as the United States begins a campaign to brand itself to the rest of the world through the State Department and The Ad Council under the leadership of Charlotte Beers, Israel, “the brand,” is in a similar boat needing a similar course.
I’m not talking about “Come to Israel, come stay with friends.” Sure, tourism is important. It’s essential. But, that’s a given. More than that, Israel needs to convey how vital it is to the betterment of the world, at a time when the world needs bettering.
Israel needs to get across the amazing revelation that, as the sole democracy in the region, its economic engine has been able to create a wealth of incredible discoveries, discoveries that allow us to communicate our love across oceans.
And, sadly, see tragedies unfold before our eyes.