The top 45 stories of the decade – ISRAEL21c

Its only been 10 years, but in that time the world has been transformed. Social media has gone from angel of democracy to demon. Climate change has become something we can see with our own eyes. All over the world, established orders have been overturned.

In Israel, new technologies like auto-tech, fintech, AI and food-tech have emerged to dominate Israels high-tech scene, while Israels food scene has come of age as you can tell by the high number of accolades to Israeli restaurants rolling in. Israeli TV has also won its fair share of praise, spurring an unexpected new area of export.

In this decade, Israel lost one of its most internationally popular leaders, Shimon Peres; but women the world over got two strong new role models Israeli actor Gal Gadot, who stormed the world with her portrayal of Wonder Woman, and Netta, who swept Eurovision with her bubbly empowerment song, Toy.

Weve looked back through our archives to discover your favorite stories. Its an extraordinary journey that charts the emergence of Israels aid industry, the move toward veganism and alternative meats, and the growth of tourism to Israel from just 1.9 million tourists to Israel in 2010, to 4m. in 2019.

Some of the technologies we wrote about went on to huge success, some pivoted, and some notably Shai Agassis Better Place went out with an almighty bang.

Take a look through the decades and remember some of the highlights of every year.


An IDF doctor tends to a patient at the field hospital in Haiti, January 23, 2010. Photo courtesy Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

One of the decades most iconic gadgets, Amazons Kindle e-reader, was largely developed in the heart of Israels high-tech center in Herzliya.

In June 2010, a professor from Bar Ilan University announced that he was developing a male contraceptive pill. His hope was that it would be out on the market within five years. While the idea created huge interest, the product ultimately never came to fruition.

Israel gained worldwide praise for the speed and efficiency with which it offered aid to Haiti in the wake of a catastrophic 7.0 magnitude earthquake that killed around 160,000 people. The field hospital set up by the Israel Defense Forces was one of the most advanced hospitals in Haiti. Five years later, Israel was still in Haiti helping rebuild the community. Haiti was the first time that the world really sat up and noticed Israeli humanitarian aid.

A breakthrough from Hadassahs Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research Center was poised to enable cultivating embryonic stem cells for treatments for disorders such as Parkinsons disease, diabetes and age-related macular degeneration. This later formed the basis for CellCure Neurosciences, currently developing OpRegen for treating dry AMD.


The beaches of Tel Aviv. Photo by Shutterstock

Our top story of 2011 was on Vaxil Bio Therapeutics, which was developing a vaccine that could activate the bodys natural immune system to seek and destroy cancer cells. Since then, the company has completed a Phase I/II clinical trial in multiple myeloma patients, and is advancing toward clinical studies in additional solid tumor indications.

Yokneam-based Neuronix developed an electromagnetic stimulation system for treating moderate Alzheimers disease, allowing patients to regain faded cognitive skills. Though approved for use in Europe, Australia and Israel, in 2019 an FDA advisory panel decided that the benefits of the system did not outweigh the risks to patient health.

In June, we published a list of the 10 best beaches in Israel. Nine years later, the story continues to be one of our most popular, which for a country with as much beautiful coastline as Israels, isnt that surprising.

In May, we launched the first of a series of articles on hiking in Israel. The top 10 hikes in Israel was first, followed by water hikes, desert hikes, hikes in Jerusalem, and hikes in the Dead Sea.


Tal-Yas trays catch every drop of dew. Photo: courtesy

To celebrate Israels 64th birthday, ISRAEL21c described 64 blue-and-white innovations with the potential to transform and enrich lives across the planet.

The US developer of skyTran chose Israel as the perfect place to pilot the software-guided personal transport pods that glide on a cushion of air. While the Tel Aviv project has yet to get off the ground, additional Israeli cities including Netanya and Eilat have since signed development deals with skyTran to upgrade public transportation.

This story about groundbreaking agricultural innovations from drip irrigation to drought-proof seeds proved so popular, and so important, that we updated it in 2019.

An amazing invention that turns pet droppings into harmless, odorless powder within seconds has developed into game-changing applications for human waste-management in the United Statesand Brazil.


Pomegranate juice on sale at the Carmel Market. Photo by Anna Wachspress

The outright winner for story of the yearin 2013 though we could never completely understand why was our piece on 10 great reasons to love the pomegranate. Pomegranate, anyone?

In 2013, we began a new series on things to do for free in various cities around Israel. Our first story was an immediate hit and continues to be popular. We updated it earlier this year.

To celebrate Israels 65th birthday, we took a look at some of the incredible ways Israel is helping to look after our planet. Its still an impressive list.

When we reported on CartiHeal in 2013, the novel Israeli implant which provides a scaffold for the body to regenerate joint-protecting cartilage was already regarded as a major potential advance. It also featured in the top stories of 2016. Find out more below.


The Iron Dome proved the unexpected hero of the 2014 war with Gaza. Photo by Shutterstock

From the Babysense baby breathing monitor to the Skysaver emergency evacuation device, this list compiled 18 potentially lifesaving technologies developed in Israel.

In 2014, the Iron Dome defense system emerged as the undisputed savior in Israel during the summer conflict with Gaza. Born out of necessity and Israeli chutzpah, the Iron Dome intercepts rockets, artillery and mortars headed for population centers. Sneak preview: Some of the prototype components were taken from a toy car.

Most of these unusual places to lay your head that we featured in this story including a yurt and a converted bus are still in business and popular with visitors looking for a different hospitality experience.

Medical devices and pharmaceuticals are a risky business and not all make it to market. But many of the exciting products anticipated in 2014 went on to successful clinical trials, such as Premia Spines TOPS alternative solution to spinal fusion surgery and CartiHeals implant for treating cartilage lesions in arthritic and non-arthritic joints.


Is clean meat on the way? Photo by Shutterstock

This story exploded on the Internet, going viral within a day. It featured the work of nonprofit Modern Agriculture Foundation, which launched the worlds first feasibility study to determine how to create commercial tissue-engineered chicken breast. We featured the organization again in 2017, and it is still hard at work collaborating with academics and commercial companies to create a clean meat alternative.

We asked photographers across Israel to help us out with this gorgeous compilation of photographs to celebrate Israels 67th birthday.

3. 12 impossible ideas that Israelis turned into reality

Tell an Israeli that their idea is preposterous, and youve just given that inventor a reason to see it through. We loved this article, which highlights not only Israeli innovation, but the Israeli can-do attitude that takes an impossible idea irrigating crops in the desert, or a missile defense shield for an entire country and turns them into reality.

4. Israeli school builds cool classroom for ADHD teens

Our readers loved this story on a new classroom built at the Darca High School inKiryat Malachi, developed specially for children with attention and learning disorders. The room featured bouncy chairs made from yoga balls, walled off cubicles, desks on wheels, and a touch of the outdoor.

5. How well do you know Israel? The quiz

We knew it was going to be a tough one, but we were still surprised when virtually no-one managed to get a full 25 out of 25 questions right. You can still try this quiz. Will you get it right? Dont say you havent been warned!


CartiHeal is advancing its implant for cartilage regeneration. Image by Natalia Budianska

1. Syrian refugee creates website to thank Israelis

A Sunni Muslim originally from the city of Homs created Thank You Am Israel, a website dedicated to the Israeli and Jewish organizations and people helping Syrian refugees.

2. 9 of the best Israeli snacks

The rising global popularity of Israeli cuisine isnt limited to gourmet fare. Here we tempted your taste buds with Israels most iconic snack foods, such as Bamba and Krembo, getting attention from bloggers and noshers around the world.

3. 9 of the most beautiful sukkot in Israel

Our readers loved seeing photos of the gorgeous booths created for dining during the Sukkot holiday in the fall, from Jerusalems Waldorf Astoria, to kibbutzim in the north and south, to the Samaritan communities of Mount Gerizim and Holon.

4. My Name is Israel

Our downloadable, printable 15-slide exhibition shares the stories of Israeli aid in the wake of international disasters and Israelis helping refugees even citizens of enemy nations and sharing their expertise and knowledge worldwide. This DIY exhibition, still available on our home page, was displayed in creative ways in several countries.

5. Cartilage regeneration on the way for knees, osteoarthritis

CartiHeal, mentioned already in 2013,caused quite a stir among readers for its groundbreaking Agili-C implant to treat cartilage and osteochondral defects in traumatic and osteoarthritic joints. Agili-C has now been implanted in over 500 clinical study patients with knee, ankle, and great toe cartilage lesions in Europe and Israel; clinical studies have begun in 15 US sites.


Israeli actor Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. Photo: courtesy

When Hurricane Harvey barreled into Texas in August, Israeli NGO, IsraAID rushed to help. The story touched a chord and was shared on Facebook alone more than 260,000 times.

2. 14 things you didnt know about Gal Gadot

2017 was most definitely Gal Gadots year. In fact, so were 2018 and 2019, and 2020 could turn out to be just as successful for this Israeli actor. But it was in 2017 that Gadot first stormed the world with her role as Wonder Woman. Find out how Beyonc helped her get the part.

3. 25 brilliant tech companies to watch in 2017

In January, we asked high-tech experts which companies to watch for in the coming year. They identified many hot growth areas including augmented reality, auto-tech, fintech, clean-tech, drones and digital health. And many of the companies they mentioned have indeed gone on to significant things.

4. 69 fabulous reasons we love Israel

For Independence Day, we put together a slideshow of photographs showing some of the many reasons we love Israel.

5. Test your glucose levels without drawing blood

Integrity Applications developed a glucose monitoring device that allows diabetics and pre-diabetics to track blood sugar levels without the need to prick a finger. The device is now on sale in several locations around the world.


Koolulam mass singalong at the Tower of David Museum, June 2018. Photo by Ricky Rachman

1. 800 Jews, Christians, Muslims sing One Love in Jerusalem

You just cant watch this video without getting goosebumps. Israel social singing sensation Koolulam gathered Jews, Christians and Muslims at the Tower of David Museum in a vocal show of unity coinciding with the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr.

2. Israeli scientists develop implanted organs that wont be rejected

Its the stuff of sci-fi, only its real: Israeli researchers invented the first fully personalized tissue implant, engineered from a small fatty tissue biopsy from the patient. This will make it possible to engineer any kind of tissue implant for any part of the body, without danger of rejection.

3. One drug could treat Alzheimers, MS, Crohns and more

Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School Prof. David Naor is developing a single drug that could effectively treat incurable inflammatory diseases such as Crohns disease, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis as well as neurodegenerative maladies such as Alzheimers disease.

4. 8 of the most anticipated hotels opening in 2018

Youre always on the lookout for exciting new places to stay in Israel, and this list really whet your appetite. Now you can book rooms at (most of) these fabulous hotels in Tel Aviv-Jaffa, the Galilee and the Negev, aside from two that still havent opened.

5. Rescuers turn to Israeli tech to save trapped boys

Maxtech Networks communications technology helped divers free 12 boys and their coach trapped for 11 days in a flooded Thai cave.


REEs prototype vehicle chassis. Photo by Yuval Chen

It is testament to just how successful and admired Israeli TV shows have become worldwide, that our most popular story of the year was about the best Israeli TV. While many Israeli shows have been remade, streaming services have opened up the original Israeli versions to viewers all over the world to great acclaim. Last week, the New York Times named Hatufim (Prisoners of War) the finest international TV show of the decade, and Fauda came in at number eight.

2. Buy fresh unsold food from restaurants

The new SpareEat app that lets restaurants and markets offer surplus food at the end of the day at a huge discount appealed to readers two-fold firstly they get to eat great Israeli restaurant food at a discount, and secondly it reduces food waste. Its a win-win!

3. An Israeli startup is totally reinventing how cars are built

The inventors thought investors would laugh at them when they came up with the revolutionary idea of a flat modular platform, a bit like a skateboard, that houses all the cars major components, but instead they loved it. We wrote about Ree in September. The following month, the company unveiled its flat-chassis technology inside Hino Motors new FlatFormer design.

4. Could immunotherapy treatment from Israel cure cancer?

In January we ran a story on Jerusalem startup Immunovative Therapies, which is developing an immunotherapy that could potentially cure cancer. No surprises why this was popular. The company has conducted dozens of clinical trials, but its still a very long road ahead. Worth watching in future years.

5. 13 reasons you should eat like an Israeli

Large breakfasts, salad with every meal, copious amounts of vegetables and olive oil, a reliance on the Mediterranean diet its no surprise that Israel was #1 on a new ranking of countries with the lowest rate of diet-related deaths worldwide, and #10 on the 2019 Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index. In our article we took a look at the reasons why.

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The top 45 stories of the decade - ISRAEL21c

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