This is the text of a “Radio Shalom” commentary by Stephen Scheinberg, an emeritus professor of history at Concordia University in Montreal:
I get tired of all the news of conflict from the Middle East. I hoped to be able to wake up this morning to the news that Israel’s great writer Amos Oz had won a Nobel prize, but we will have to wait for that. Yet there is interesting news on the technological front.
You may recall that Israel is now in the process of building the infrastructure, throughout the country, for its own electric car. That will involve first, installing recharging outlets in 500,000 of Israel’s 3 to 4 million parking spots. For those who need to drive more than 100 miles at a time there are battery swap stations being established to do quick changes of the batteries, in less time than a current fill-up with gasoline. These swap stations are the really innovative part of the plan and China, among other nations, is interested in them.
Of course, as a small country, Israel is ideally situated to go electric and with a new and complementary-electricity producing highway, on the way. You heard me right, an Israeli company in cooperation with the Technion University has just successfully tested a highway that can produce electricity. It is done by embedding generators in the asphalt, two inches below the surface. The weight of the passing cars produces the electricity through applied mechanical stress. The manager of the project, Dr. Lucy Edri-Azoulay, estimates that a kilometer of a four lane highway will be able to produce enough electricity to power 2,500 households. This system sounds like an Israeli winner to me and, in time, it should find large export markets.
Imagine a nation replacing its polluting automobiles with clean electric cars and producing much, if not all of the power, for recharging their batteries, from the highway itself. This is not the stuff of science fiction. Israel is now pioneering technologies on the cutting edge of the world’s green future. She can be a technological “light unto the world.” May she also demonstrate such innovative capacity in peace making.
A note to our readers: We’ll be away for a few days next week in Washington, DC, at the J Street conference.