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October 08, 2014

Where's the Coverage? Israeli Innovation Tackles Ebola

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As the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States has passed away, it is not surprising that a search of Google News for “Ebola” will turn up roughly 32 million hits. But very little of the coverage mentions Israel’s leading role in battling this deadly disease.

Only the Israeli and Jewish press mention virologist Dr. Leslie Lobel and his fellow researchers at Ben Gurion University, despite the fact that, as The Times of Israel reports, they “are partnering with the US military and the Uganda Virus Research Institute to devise a way of conferring long-term immunity against the disease.” Lobel has been traveling to Africa to research a cure for a dozen years. Media--? Crickets.

Israel Today writes:

Israel has dispatched medical teams to Sierra Leone and Cameroon to train local doctors on how to better combat the Ebola outbreak. Sierra Leone has also requested medication for treating the symptoms of Ebola, and Israel has reportedly promised to provide.

Meanwhile, over 5,000 people in the affected areas of Africa have downloaded a new smartphone app, “About Ebola,” developed on the Israeli platform “Snapp.” According to Israeli press reports, the app:

...is providing medical workers in the field with what is turning out to be one of their most effective tools available for preventing the alarming spread of Ebola in the villages of in West Africa. Using the Snapp platform, it took volunteers only about three days to build a mobile app that provides information on what Ebola is, what to do if symptoms associated with Ebola appear, and how to avoid catching it in the first place.

Most important, said Asaf Kindler of Snapp — the platform is so easy to use that it was a simple matter for volunteers to reprogram for the languages used by villagers in the back-country villages of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and other affected countries – languages like Jola, Krio, Liberian English, and Wolof.

While millions of people are concerned with Ebola and the press is rightly covering many aspects of the story, one is conspicuously underplayed — Israel’s leading role in fighting the outbreak and curing the disease. Where’s the coverage?

Posted by SC at October 8, 2014 06:03 PM

Comments

Much like when Israel sent a complete field hospital to Haiti, virtually no one knew. The most I heard about Israel's contribution, other than via Israeli press, was that the US believed Israel was only there to show up the US. Well, that isn't all that hard to do for a long, long time. But it is sad that the "liberal" press ignores Israel and what good it does.

Exactly how much aid has the various oil rich Arab states provided? If a single doctor would be sent it would be front page news.

Posted by: Stephen at October 8, 2014 08:43 PM

What else is new? Israel is only in the news when it does "bad" even if that is really just when it is defending itself. Good news stories don't fit the narrative.

Posted by: Ian at October 14, 2014 09:32 AM

Indeed, I had to come here to hear about Israel's involvement for the first time. And since I am currently collecting data and resources for a link or resource page on Ebola, that means something I should think. While I am not sure if Israel always fares so badly in the "liberal" press as these media usually have closer ties with Israel than certainly with the "oil-rich states", still it is amazing that no one seems to have covered it. Given the size of Israel and the wide area of scholarship there the amount of resources devoted to Ebola seem even more amazing. And let's hope that Lobel has a head start and thus will be forthcoming with a vaccine or an acute treatment regime sooner than those that sat on their hands for decades.

Posted by: Colm Barry at November 8, 2014 11:31 AM

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