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Kol Hakavod! 70 Amazing Facts, 70 Amazing Years

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Plucky Israel has excelled at so many things and in so many disciplines since the State was born in 1948. So we thought it would be a good idea on this remarkable anniversary to record some of our achievements over 7 decades.
Plucky Israel has excelled at so many things and in so many disciplines since the State was born in 1948. So we thought it would be a good idea on this remarkable anniversary to record some of our achievements over 7 decades.

  1. Israel has won 9 Olympic sports medals (1 gold, 1 silver, 7 bronze) in three sports (5 in judo; 3 in sailing; 1 in canoe and kayak); and 1 gold in wheelchair tennis at the 2012 Summer Paralympics in Quad Singles and 1 bronze in Quad Doubles and Moran Samuel won the Bronze medal for female single rowing in ​the ​2016 Rio Paralympics
  2. Israel has 12 Nobel Laureates: 3 in Peace (Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres); 1 in Literature; 2 in Economics; 6 in Chemistry.
  3. Ilan Ramon became the first Israeli astronaut when he joined the NASA space mission on board the Columbia Space Shuttle. He perished, together with the entire crew on the shuttle which crashed upon reentering the atmosphere, on February 1, 2003.
  4. DiskOnKey, the ubiquitous little UBS flash drive made by SanDisk, was invented by Dov Moran as an upgraded version of disk and diskette technology through the use of flash memory and USB interface for connection to personal computers.
  5. The world's first drip irrigation was invented in Israel in 1965 at Netafim company in Kibbutz Hatserim. Netafim is the global leader in drip and micro-irrigation solutions for a sustainable future which helps feed a billion people a year.
  6. Israel made major inventions in the world of printing: The Prepress industry underwent a dramatic change in 1979 when Scitex, founded by Efi Arazi, unveiled the Response 300 system at the GEC in Milan. This was a significant breakthrough that integrated a digital computer into the printing process for the first time. And, Benny Landa, founder of Indigo (Rehovot), changed the course of the printing industry at IPEX in 1993, when he unveiled the E-Print 1000, the world's first digital color printing press. He came to be known as the father of digital printing.
  7. MobileEye was founded in 1999 by Ziv Aviram and Amnon Shashua. It is a driver-assistance system, with warnings for collision prevention, so if you fail to hit a car, you can credit Shashua and Aviram. MIT Technology Review ranked Mobileye #6 Smartest Company in 2016. In 2017, Intel acquired Mobileye. Together, Intel and Mobileye aspire to make autonomous driving a reality.
  8. Israel leads the world in its number of researchers, is second in the world in research and development and has the largest number of start-ups per capita, according to Bloomberg. Also, according to the World Economic Forum, Israel ranks as the second most innovative nation in the world.
  9. WAZE app, an EPS navigation software, was first developed by Waze Mobile, an Israeli company founded in 2006 by Ehud Shabtai, Amir Shinar and Uri Levine. Waze won the Best Overall App award at the 2013 Mobile World Congress and was purchased in 2013 by Google.
  10. El Al set the world record for the greatest number of passengers ever carried by a commercial airliner when it evacuated 1,088 Jews from Ethiopia on its Boeing 747 during Operation Solomon in 1991.
  11. Eighteen Israeli chefs are whipping up award winning food globally – including 2 Michelin stars in 2017 to Moshik Roth's restaurant in Amsterdam.
  12. Israel has the most vegans per capita in the world – over 5% of the population – and the second-most vegetarians per capita – over 8% of the population – following India.
  13. Israel has the second highest per capita rates of weight reduction (Bariatric) surgery (Sweden is first) with some 9,000 to 9,500 procedures annually, which amounts to approximately a 1.8 times higher rate per capita than in the U.S. Obesity rates are lower in Israel (15.7%) than the OECD average, and much lower than in the U.S., where over a third of the population is obese.
  14. Life expectancy in Israel averaged 82.5 years in 2016, two years higher than the average among OECD countries.
  15. Hebrew, a biblical language not spoken for 2,000 years, was revived for everyday use. Israel is the only country to revive an unspoken language and establish it as its national tongue.
  16. Solar energy has been used in Israel since the 1950s, when Levi Yissar developed a solar water heater to address the energy shortages that plagued the new country. More than nine out of ten Israeli homes use solar power to heat the water.
  17. Israel has the third highest rate of entrepreneurship in the world. It has the highest rate of entrepreneurship among women and people aged over 55 in the world.
  18. Israel won the Eurovision Song Contest four times. In 1979 Izhar Cohen won with "Ah Bah ni Be", 1980 Gali Atari with "Halleluya", in 1998 Dana International with "Diva" – the first time that a transgender singer won Eurovision, and in 2018 Netta Barzilai with "Toy".
  19. When Golda Meir became prime minister of Israel in 1969, she was only the third woman elected to lead a country in the modern world.
  20. The largest known dog cemetery in the ancient world was discovered in the coastal city of Ashkelon.
  21. The Boston Globe dubbed Tel Aviv "the World's Gayest City," and Out Magazine called it "the Gay Capital of the Middle East".
  22. Tel Aviv is the city with the most Bauhaus buildings in the world, over 4,000.
  23. Per capita, Israel has the highest ratio of college degrees; the highest ratio of museums, and of startup companies (in 2015 there were 3,000 start-up companies in Israel and the largest number in absolute terms after the US.) Israeli students are the oldest in the world, with a median age of 27 for attaining an undergraduate degree.
  24. Voicemail technology was developed in Israel.
  25. All Israeli residents are entitled to basic health care as a fundamental right. Israel's Health Care system is both universal and compulsory, and is administered by a four organizations with funding from the government. All Israeli citizens are entitled to the same Uniform Benefits Package, regardless of which organization they are a member of, and treatment under this package is funded for all citizens regardless of their financial means.
  26. Israel published more books translated from other languages than any other nation in the world.
  27. Beer Sheva has the highest number of chess grandmasters per capita in the world, with one in 20,000.
  28. Israel is one of only three democracies in the world without a codified constitution. The other two are New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
  29. The Sea of Galilee is the lowest freshwater lake in the world (and the largest in Israel). The Dead Sea is the lowest place on Earth.
  30. Jerusalem's Mount of Olives is the world's oldest continuously used cemetery.
  31. Heart tissue regeneration is possible in the U.S. thanks to Israeli stem-cell technology.
  32. An Israeli company has developed the world's first jellyfish repellent.
  33. Israel is one of only twelve countries in the world that can launch its own satellites into space.
  34. AOL Instant Messaging was designed by an Israeli software company, Mirabilis, in 1996.
  35. Yityish Aynaw became the first "Miss Israel" of Ethiopian origin in 2013.
  36. Did you know that Israel has the world's second highest per capita of new books.
  37. As of 2017, Israel is the country with the largest Jewish population, 6,556,000 individuals, slightly higher than the highest estimate for Jews in the U.S. Wikipedia
  38. The Israel national football team qualified for their only FIFA World Cup appearance in 1970.
  39. Israel has the highest concentration of hi-tech companies in the world, apart from Silicon Valley. Israel also stands out in its ranking in the table of international patent applications in medical instrumentation (first in the world), computerization technology (second), solar energy (fifth), and fuel cell technology (sixth) [Israel National Technological Innovation Report 2016 – 2017, Luzzato Group]
  40. By law, the Jewish National and University Library receives two copies of every book/publication printed in Israel.
  41. The world center of the Bahai faith is located in Haifa and Acre.
  42. With peanuts introduced to their diets earlier – usually with Bamba peanut snack – Israeli babies are 10 times less likely to suffer a peanut allergy than UK Jewish children.
  43. Lick that . . . the glue on Israeli stamps is kosher.
  44. Israel won the Miss World contest once, in 1998. The winner was Linor Abargil. Today, top model Bar Refaeli and Wonder Woman Gal Gadot are two of world's most beautiful women and both are Israelis.
  45. Israel celebrates its version of Mother's Day on Shevat 30 – the day Hadassah founder Henrietta Szold marked her birthday.
  46. More than 500 million migrating birds cross Israeli airspace – making it, per square kilometer, one of the highest levels of bird traffic in the world. And Eilat and the Hula Valley Reserve are some of the best bird-watching sites in the world.
  47. Motorists who keep Shabbat can buy car insurance which excludes Saturdays and Jewish holidays.
  48. Israel's Diamond Exchange is the world's largest diamond trading complex. The Exchange employs over 15,000 people from 1,500 companies working and trading there every day. Also, Israel was the first country to sign up to the Kimberly process, the international standard certifying diamonds as being 'conflict free'.
  49. Israel is one of the few countries in the world that has a mandatory military service requirement for women and the longest (2 years). The others are Chad, Eritrea, North Korea, and China.
  50. The Israel Postal service receives dozens of letters a year addressed to God or Jesus, which before the Jewish festivals and Christmas are opened, folded and, in a ceremony overseen by a senior rabbi, squeezed into the cracks of the Western Wall. Some are from Jews, some from Christians, some from believers of other faiths, and they come from all over the world.
  51. Scientist Albert Einstein was offered the position of President of Israel in 1952, but turned it down.
  52. Israel is only 1/6th of one per cent of the landmass of the Middle East. It has no natural resources except gas, vs. 21 Arab states that are 649 times larger and hold a partial monopoly on the world's oil supply.
  53. Israel has the fourth largest air force in the world, after the U.S., Russia and China with an estimated 300 fixed-wing operational aircrafts.
  54. Life's a beach: Israel has a total of 137 official beaches – but just 273km of coastline.
  55. In addition to making the desert bloom, Israel has developed a thriving aquaculture industry in the Arava, where several farms produce and export ornamental fishes – mainly guppies, angel fish and clown fishes - to Europe.
  56. More than 44 per cent of all lawyers registered in Israel are women.
  57. Israel's first orchestra was founded by Polish-born violinist Bronislaw Huberman in 1936 (the Palestine Orchestra) and its first concert was conducted by Arturo Toscanini. In 1948 it was renamed The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and today has 26,000 subscribers. Habima was the first professional Hebrew-language theater, founded in Bialystok in 1917 by Nahum Zemach and it moved to Tel Aviv in 1928.
  58. Desalinated water is the source of almost half of Israel's water.
  59. Good moos …. Israeli dairy cows are the most productive in the world. An average Israeli cow produces 12,000 liters of milk annually. By comparison, a US cow produces 9,000 liters – International Committee for Animal Recording (ICAR).
  60. Israel has the largest number of companies listed on NASDAQ, besides the U.S. and Canada. Out of the 94 listed (2017), 30 are in the biotech sector.
  61. Israel sends humanitarian and relief aid, rescue and search teams, life-saving aid to countries affected by natural and man-made disasters, through IsraelAID, The Fast Israeli and Search Team, Israel Flying Aid, and the Israel Defense Forces. And Save-a-Child's Heart provides pediatric heart surgery to children from developing countries, including areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority.
  62. Israel exports 245 million red roses each year and produces 5% of the world's flowers.
  63. Israel spends more money per capita on military security than most other countries, except Saudi Arabia and Singapore.
  64. Israel is the highest immigrant-absorbing nation in the world in relation to its population.
  65. Israel produces 93% of its own food requirements.
  66. The first swallowable camera for diagnosing disorders of the digestive tract (digital endoscopy), PillCam, was developed by Israeli company Given Imaging around 2010. Irish firm Covidien plc acquired it in 2015.
  67. Motorola Israel developed the first computerized irrigation system in 1980 which could work on batteries for an entire season using the water pressure and minimal energy from the batteries to open and close water irrigation and fertilizer valves.
  68. The "Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers", an American TV series, was created by Israelis Haim Saban and Shuki Levy. It began transmissions on 28th August 1993 on the Fox Kids Network.
  69. Pre-state Israel pioneered the concept of a kibbutz, a utopian community combining socialism and Zionism. Degania, the first kibbutz, was founded in 1909, and Kfar Hittim, the first moshav shitufi, in 1936.
  70. Israel ranks as the world's 11th happiest country for the fourth year in a row, according to the United Nations' 2017 World Happiness Report. Norway is 1st, Denmark 2nd and Iceland 3rd. 

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