Tradition in Helping Others - How Israel Became a Leader in Pioneering Medical Advancements

Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world. 

—Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5; Jerusalem Talmud 4:9


In just 72 years, Israel has become home to successful medical schools, biotech companies and world leading research labs. Innovative medications, devices and procedures developed in the State of Israel and are being used around the world. Today, Israel ranks as #2 in the world for producing scientific research, which includes publishing scientific research papers, registering science and medical patents, having one of the largest percentage of researchers per 1,000 people. Over half of all scientific publications produced by Israeli researchers are in the biotechnology, biomedical, and clinical research sector. 

The tradition and imperative to heal was canonized in the holy texts and hearts of the Jewish people. Throughout the ages, the Jewish people have dedicated their skills and applied their intellect toward healing Jews, Christians, Muslims, and anyone else in need. God taught his own attributes to his people, and guided them: "Do not stand idly by while your brother's blood is at stake” (Leviticus 19:16). Maimonides interprets this phrase to mean that whenever a person can save another person's life, but fails to do so, he transgresses this important commandment.

After Israel’s independence, Israelis were no longer limited by medical school quotas or discrimination practices. The Jews were finally able to freely pursue and support medical studies and research. As the country grew, so did it’s hospitals and universities. Medical schools, research centers and hospital partnerships were established in all major universities, including Hebrew University, Tel Aviv University (1964), Technion - Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa (1969), and Ben Gurion University Faculty of Health Sciences (1973) to meet the diverse health care needs of the populations in Israel’s south. Already in 1970, UNESCO noted that “the proportion of Israeli scientists and engineers engaged in R&D in natural sciences, agriculture, medicine and engineering during those years was one of the highest in the world. Students, professors, and doctors were now able and encouraged to conduct scientific research, the seeds of what would later flourish into the medical technological giant that Israel is today.

Israeli universities routinely partner with Israeli hospitals to create a valuable bridge in connecting research and clinical trials. Most of the research coming from Israel’s leading universities are quickly taken from the research lab to the private sector, in order to further develop and quickly bring these innovations to the market. As a result, Israel’s medical and life sciences industry is world-renowned for quickly bringing new medical treatments and advancements to patients. Prescription drugs derived from Israeli biotechnology are commonly prescribed for treating many diseases, including: Crohn's, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, Multiple Sclerosis,  multiple types of cancer treatment, amongst others.

This small country in the Middle East is home to over 1,400 life science companies looking to develop the medical technology of tomorrow. International companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Perrigo, GE Healthcare, Philips Medical, and others, have established R&D centers and offices in Israel.