These past two weeks, with several Israeli breakthroughs on the medical front, I couldn’t help but speculate on the ramifications if Israeli researchers were to discover the cure for cancer.
Every once in a while, I like to indulge in `Hebrew Hallucinations`, imagining what the world would be like for Jews if history had followed a different path.
In a normal world, whoever finds the means to save the 10-12 million people who die of cancer each year would be enriched beyond measure and have statues erected in village squares in every country, but if it`s an Israeli (or any Jew for that matter) who solves the cancer puzzle, I foresee a much different denouement.
First of all, Islamic and neo-Nazi voices throughout the world would shriek that Jews invented cancer and spread it amongst non-Jews to punish them for their lack of fealty to the worldwide Zionist government. They would then deny that it was a Jew who discovered the cure, asserting that the Jews stole the `formula` from some unsuspecting, non-Jewish medical researcher.
Then, they would demand that the Jews share the science and the resulting medications at no cost; after all, why should Jews profit from misery that they themselves caused?
Last, many would insist that the cure is probably another thinly disguised way for the Jews to implant some slow-acting toxin in non-Jews and demand that no observant Muslim or obedient Nazi foul their bodies with this new Jewish poison.
Then we would have the western supporters of the BDS movement in full denial. They would insist that they never said that all Israeli products should be boycotted, only those manufactured in the “occupied” territories (heaven help them if the science facility or the person who finds the cure resides in Judea or Samaria). The fact that BDS acolytes really believe that all of Israel is illegally occupied territory would be quickly deleted from their web history and written material and they would demand (not ask) that Israel share their discovery with the world community, regardless of how that world has treated Israel and Jews.
We would expect no less from people who urge boycotts so long as they don’t have to do without their cell phones, ever-faster computers, Waze, flexible stents, drip irrigation or any of the other hundreds of Israeli inventions that have improved life for billions around the world.
Tikun Olam – a Jews’ Responsibility?
And how will all those Progressive Jews in America react? You know, the ones who can’t stop ridiculing President Trump for his unflinching support of Israel and who have no trouble finding something objectionable in any Israeli action or defensive measure? I can hear it now: if only Israel spent all its time concentrating on medical research instead of oppressing the poor Palestinians, they would probably have cured every major disease by now. And not to forget: the concept of Tikun Olam essentially dictates that it is the Jews’ responsibility to find ways to better the welfare of the world’s citizens, so no gratitude or financial reward is necessary.
Finally, how will Israelis and pro-Israel Diaspora Jews react? Those with a background in economics will remember the ‘cluster theory’ that says when you put a number of similar businesses or academic facilities in the same area, you will see synergies and constructive peer pressure that yield greater results than when those enterprises operate in seclusion. Israel is living proof of this axiom. It is, after all, just one big productive cluster, an assembly of some of the world’s brightest and most innovative minds in a single, compact location.
Those of us who are not economists will simply thank all those Jewish mothers who coerced their children into becoming the scientists and researchers and doctors who seem to find another Nobel-worthy discovery or invention every other day.