13 Ways We Were Inspired And Amazed By Israel In 2013

From lending a helping hand to those in need in the Philippines, to making us laugh (and cry) here at home

1. When Yityish Aynaw Became the First Ethiopian-Israeli Crowned Miss Israel

Yityish “Titi” Aynaw was born in Ethiopia and moved to Israel when she was 12

2. When an Endangered Tiger in Need Got a Helping Hand

Pedang, a 14 year old Sumatran Tiger at Israel’s Ramat-Gan Safari was given everything from acupuncture to steroids to help his chronic ear infection. Finally, an Israeli drug called FoamOtic was donated to save the day! Sumatran Tigers are critically endangered, with only a few hundred left in the wild

3. When an Israeli Restaurant Had Enough with People Always Being on Their Smart Phones

So began their brilliant if not passive aggressive campaign “Put Away Your Cell Phones, Get 50% Discount”

4. When 70,000 People in Tel Aviv Created World’s Biggest Harlem Shake

Because in February, we weren’t sick of Harlem Shake videos yet

5. When Tarantino Gave This Ringing Endorsement for an Indie Israeli Film

The incredible thriller premiered earlier this year at TriBeCa and other film festivals around the world. It’s being released across the US on January 17, 2014.

6. When “Titi” Met Her Personal Hero, U.S. President Barack Obama

Aynaw told the BBC, “I was influenced and inspired by Obama. Like him, I was also raised by my grandmother. Nothing was handed to me on a plate, and like him I also had to work very hard and long to achieve things in my life. To this day he inspires me just as he inspires the rest of the world.”

7. When Cornell and Israel’s Technion Partnered for Futuristic NYC Campus

Say hello to the new look for Roosevelt Island

8. When President Shimon Peres Made 90 The New 40

Who else gets video birthday greetings sent by everyone from Bono to Vladmir Putin? Guests and speakers at the shindig also included former President Bill Clinton, and former Prime Minister Tony Blair. And Babs.

9. When the World Rallied to Help a Typhoon-Ravaged Philippines

Over a time span of nearly two weeks, 2,686 patients, out of which 848 were children, were treated in the field hospital in Bogo City by Israeli Army doctors.

10. When Google Bought Israeli App Waze for $1 Billion Dollars!

If you were lucky enough to be one of Waze’s 100 employees in Israel, you got an average of 1.2 million dollars EACH as part of the mega deal that was one of Google’s biggest purchases in its history.

11. When CERN Accepted Israel as First New Member State Since 1999

Now we get to play with the Large Hadron Collider!

12. When a Guinness World Record Was Broken to Help Cancer Patients

Lots and lots of locks for love, as over 100 pounds of hair was donated in a single nationwide drive, with 200 salons around the country offering free cuts

13. When the Holy Land Became a Winter Wonderland

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