What Lies Behind The Start-Up Nation

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“And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar.” (Genesis 26:1)
“And Isaac sowed in that land, and found in the same year a hundredfold; and the LORD blessed him.” (Genesis 26:12)
Astonishingly, even during a period of famine and drought, what Isaac planted not only grew, but grew a hundredfold. The connection between the land of Israel and the nation of Israel began thousands of years ago, with the forefathers and mothers. At that period of time, land was the most important, and nearly only, resource one could acquire. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were truly connected to the land, as were their descendants, not just because it was a natural resource, but because the land was promised to them by God. It was, and is, special.
For thousands of years the Nation of Israel was cut off from its land. As they wandered in the exiles, the Jewish people learned to use ingenuity and creativity to get by. They couldn’t just “live in the box”. At times there was no box… Yet the dream of the land remained.
Consequently, as Jews began to return to the Promised Land in the 18th and 19th centuries, they began to rediscover the soil and the fields. Although a slow learning process, the new olim connected to land and built agricultural towns, settlements and the famous” kibbutzim”. An agricultural “start-up” had begun.
It’s hard, though, to ignore a later start-up which utilized Israeli ingenuity and know-how and that is the technological/industrial start-up going on in Israel. Israel is a world leader in technological “start-up” companies which have lead to great breakthroughs. Processing chips for computers, the first cellphone, Microsoft Windows NT operating system, Skype, Vanage, email, antivirus software, large scale solar electricity, medical breakthroughs such as the pill-cam, treatment to slow Alzheimer’s, a blood pumping device for those with congestive heart failure, smartphones for the seeing impaired, expandable luggage, and the list goes on.
Yet the true surprise comes from the way in which Israeli entrepreneurs combined the two. Today, Israel’s high-tech start-up industry is huge, but its tech-agriculture industry is so unique that it’s almost exclusive to Israel. God’s Promised Land has produced a wave of new technological products which have enhanced and enlarged food production in Israel and throughout the world. For example, the Bio-Bee company from Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu has found biological solutions for pest control instead of the poisonous pesticides that have been used and ingested by consumers worldwide. A large percentage of Californian strawberries have been treated with Israeli grown orange spiders which efficiently get rid of “spider mites” in the strawberry crops. Sweet pepper farmers who have switched to Bio-Bee solutions have reduced use of chemical pesticides by 75 percent. Agricultural Knowledge On Line is a kibbutz based company which creates one-of-a-kind software to assist agriculturalists in growing fruit and vegetables, raise livestock and poultry, and produce olive oil. The newest applications provide farmers worldwide with vital information on dealing with drought, choosing the appropriate crops for their region, storage and temperature control and much more. Israel has held an annual Agritech conference, hosting delegations from around the world for three days of exhibits, lectures, presentations and opportunities for investments in the newest biotechnology and agricultural advancements.
Beyond doubt, Israel has made a real impact on the world with its enormous amount of start-ups in every possible field. Perhaps the most monumental start-up is the State of Israel itself. It testifies to the ability to make something from what appears to be nothing. That is a trait which is God given. A blessing of knowing how to make do – successfully.
Forefather Isaac must be quite proud.

Published: June 11, 2015
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