|The book of Isaiah in the Bible unveils the dimensions of God’s judgment and salvation. / Photo by Freedom Studio via Shutterstock|
The book of Isaiah in the Bible unveils the dimensions of God’s judgment and salvation. The prophet mentions in 2:4 how swords will be turned into plowshares, a concept in which military weapons will be used for peaceful civilian applications. The prophecy talks about how a “nation shall not lift sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”
From missiles to ventilators
It may not be the fulfillment of that prophecy yet, but Israel is giving us a glimpse of it as the country has converted its missile production line to mass-produce ventilators to help in its fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. According to a report published by the newspaper the Times of Israel, the project of using the missile production line to manufacture ventilators is a collaboration between the Israel Defense Ministry, medical company Inovytec, and state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries. IAI is a firm that creates and markets defense systems for homeland security, cyber, land, sea, space, and air but is now focusing its attention to battle the pandemic.
The Defense Ministry announced that the IAI factory has already delivered its first 30 ventilators to the Health Ministry. The ventilators they manufactured are the Ventway Sparrow line, which Inovytec said are durable, compact, and portable versions for emergency treatment of adults and children in and out of hospitals. Such a type of machine is also currently in use in the country and abroad.
The Defense Ministry said that the development will pave the way for the production of “crucial ventilators” for the treatment of Covid-19 patients in the country. It added that their country must create independent capabilities in dealing with the pandemic and not solely rely on buying from other countries. “We must develop independent, advanced capabilities,” it added. The Ministry’s statement, though, did not specify how many ventilators will be produced in the future. What is known is that the Directorate of Defense Research and Development and the Directorate of Production and Procurement bodies participated in the project.
Israel was able to set up the production line only “within days.” IAI is recognized for making communication satellites, radars, and unmanned aerial systems while the Inovytec specializes in the development and design of medical systems.
|Israel is giving us a glimpse of it as the country has converted its missile production line to mass-produce ventilators to help in its fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. / Photo by Sergey Ryzhov via Shutterstock|
IAI prototype machine that uses UV light to kill viruses
This month, the IAI has instructed its engineers, who are trained to work on the defense system, to find ways to fight the virus. This led to the development of a prototype machine that uses ultraviolet light to kill bacteria and viruses on surfaces. This will help medical centers speed up their sterilization process so that the hospital room can be ready to treat new patients. The process of sterilization is done using chemicals, such as alcohol or chlorine.
Coronavirus tracking platform Worldometer published that Israel has 10,525 Covid-19 cases, 96 deaths, and 1,258 patients as of writing. There are 8,991 (98%) patients in mild condition while 180 (2%) are in serious or critical condition.
The country recorded its first Covid-19 patient on February 21 and this increased to 2 cases on February 24. The sharp increase was evident on March 11 (97 cases). As of March 23, the country had 1,442 Covid-19 patients, which increased to 6,857 on April 2 and 9, 404 on April 8.
Ventilators in Israel
A report sent to the Knesset’s Special Committee on Dealing with the Coronavirus shows that the country still has 1,437 ventilators to cater to Covid-19 patients but this was disputed by the Health Ministry, saying that there were 2,864 ventilators available. Knesset is the unicameral legislature of Israel.
The country’s Defense Minister Naftali Bennett has also taken a role in the pandemic fight although he traded verbal blows with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Aside from speedily setting up treatment rooms and disinfection tools, Israel has also created a system that can gather and analyze the vital signs of Covid-19 patients. Knowing their respiratory rate, temperature, and pulse minimizes the virus exposure to the medical staff.
IAI’s Deputy CEO Eyal Younian previously said in an interview that they have “brilliant employees” who can create anything in high-tech. They value the security of the citizens and the state of Israel. He added that the Prime Minister’s office will start to decide how the country will exit from their current situation. They did not experience SARS-CoV like other Asian countries, which is the reason why they are less familiar with these countries in managing the virus. For instance, it took Israel time to impose social distancing measures. However, they were able to react fast and imposed the appropriate regulations. They have also used technology to help fight the disease.
Younian believes that brainstorming on the nature and timing of the exit process will be important. The solution is to create a balance as they now have millions of people unemployed in the country caused by the pandemic. There is a need to strike a balance between the economic crisis and the medical one. The country expects to start the exit process by the end of April. The Deputy CEO also said that although it will be possible for the country to manage the coronavirus, there is also a need to change the culture because a more serious virus may emerge a few years from now.
For businesses, for instance, it may mean more video conferences and less face-to-face interaction. It may likewise mean less business travel. On their part at IAI, since they are a defense company, negotiations are done in person. Yet, there is also a need for a creative solution for this. He expects social life in the country to also change. Israelis are warm people so it will be challenging because it could mean less kissing and hugging.
Israel’s health spending
The country’s health spending, which measures the final consumption of health care goods and services, was at US$2,780 per capita. For health spending financed through a mix of financing arrangements including government spending and compulsory health insurance, it amounted to $1,773 per capita, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Israel has a good health system compared to the US and Europe, but it aims to be excellent. This is why the government-owned IAI is dedicating its resources to health, which will also affect defense.