Today may be the last day of Policy Conference 2013, but you don't have to wait until next year's great plenary speakers and breakout sessions to keep exploring Israel's value to the United States. In fact, Israeli innovation permeates our daily life in ways you probably wouldn't expect. From the food we eat, to the medicine we use to stay healthy, to cutting-edge technology, we are never far from being touched by Israel.
It is said that necessity is the mother of invention. When it comes to agriculture and food production, Israel has developed cutting edge technology to turn land that is 60 percent desert into flourishing fields and orchards. The new agricultural methods developed as a result have helped to feed a growing population in Israel. One of these innovations was drip irrigation, which was developed at a kibbutz near Haifa during the 1960s. Today, this is a common method of farming in dry-weather areas including parts of the United States such as Southern California.
In a similar vein, Israeli firm IDE Technologies has made great strides in water desalination processes that will benefit regions facing water shortages in Israel and the United States.
Israel has influenced what we eat here at home in other ways as well. For example, Israelis have developed genetically modified disease-resistant bananas, peppers, and other crops that feed millions of Americans.
The technologies described above do not only benefit Americans and Israelis: they are helping to improve food security in the developing world as well. Check out this video to see where else in the world the U.S.-Israel relationship is making strides in agriculture.
Israeli advancements in medicine have helped to improve health outcomes all over the world and here in America as well. Israel is a world leader in the manufacture of many commonly used generic drugs that are both effective and affordable. Israeli companies such as Teva Pharmaceuticals have had a hand in creating new medicines that allow people with Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson's disease to lead full, active lives.
Many Israeli companies have designed new treatments that can change the lives of cancer patients around the world. The Israeli biomedical company IceCure has developed a noninvasive procedure in which breast cancer tumors can be destroyed through a process known as cryoblation. The ultrasound-guided technique penetrates the tumor and destroys it by engulfing it in ice.
Researchers at Vaxil BioTheraputics, another Israeli company, have created an exciting product called ImMucin that has the potential to serve as a real cancer vaccine by enabling the body's natural immune system to destroy cancer cells—a development that may be able to treat up to 90 percent of cancers.
Israeli innovation not only contributes to new treatments, but also aids in diagnoses. Israel-based Given Imaging has developed a "camera in a pill," aptly named the PillCam, which is useful for diagnosing gastrointestinal ailments.
Perhaps most notably, Israel is a hub of high-tech development. Many major technology companies have research and development facilities located in the Jewish State. As a result, there is a good chance that whatever you're using your computer for, it was made possible by Israeli innovation. Many of today's most popular computer processors were developed by Intel's Israel division. On the internet, instant messaging may be ubiquitous, but the technology was originally developed by the Israeli firm ICQ.
Every day, people watch millions of streaming videos on the web. One of the world's most popular video sharing websites, Metacafe, is based in Israel. If you prefer reading a book to watching videos of cats, Israeli innovations help make this possible as well: the Amazon Kindle e-reader owes a measure of its success to Israeli-developed technology.
After you return home to New York, San Francisco, Seattle, or Atlanta, don't forget the ways that Israel influences how we all live. What we eat, how we stay healthy, and how we use technology are all touched by the United States' and Israel's vision for tomorrow.