June 17, 2024
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June 17, 2024
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People All Over The World Will Never Know They Were Victims of Terror

Iran, Hamas and the Houthis are causing people all over the world to suffer unnecessarily, and in some cases, even to die, but few of the terrorists’ victims will ever be able to “connect the dots” and understand the evildoers’ role in causing mass suffering.

When it comes to Iran-sponsored terrorism, the primary media focus in recent weeks has been the Houthi attacks on ships in international waters near Yemen; the murder of American troops by Iran-backed militants; and Hamas’s October 7 attack in southern Israel, during which the terrorist group committed mass murder, rape, torture and mutilation, and kidnapped hundreds of innocent people ranging from babies to elderly Holocaust survivors.

While such horrific crimes certainly warrant our collective attention and a powerful response from those enabled to deliver it, one exceptionally frightening global side effect of recent terrorist activity in the Middle East appears to remain entirely overlooked.

Hamas’ terrorist attacks and prolonged war with Israel, and the string of terrorist activities by the Houthis, are likely going to inflict terrible suffering and death all over the world—to people who will never even know that they were victims of terror; in fact, there is a decent chance that you or someone you know might suffer, or even die, as a result of Iran-sponsored evil.

On October 8, in order to prevent another mass terrorist attack, which Hamas leaders explicitly promised to deliver, as well as to relocate thousands of civilians who lived near the Gaza border and whose homes and communities were severely damaged (or totally destroyed) on October 7, Israel mobilized 360,000 reservists—nearly all of whom left jobs in the civilian sector in order to rejoin the military; while such a development may seem far away from the West, its impact is likely to be serious, long-term and global.

Often without knowing that such is the case, many millions of people worldwide benefit every day from Israel’s role as an “Innovation Nation.” For years, Israel has placed second only to Silicon Valley as a technology innovator. In recent decades, Israel has been disproportionately successful at developing pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and security technologies that better the lives of people all over.

To understand the global significance of Israel’s accomplishments in the pharmaceutical industry, consider that, in 2021, there were nearly $32 billion in global sales of pharmaceutical products based on research performed at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel—and Weizmann is only one of many organizations in Israel that has made significant innovations that deliver a positive impact worldwide. Among the drugs brought to the world by Weizmann research are the multiple-sclerosis drug Copaxone; Vectibix to treat metastatic colorectal cancer; Humira to treat moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis; and at least a dozen other popular drugs.

Of course, many other drugs and biotech products are also Israeli exports. Israel is, for example, at the forefront of defeating cancer, with offerings such as Nano-ghost, developed at Technion in Haifa, which serves as “an innovative technology that enables the focused internal delivery and release of anti-cancer drugs … aimed at preventing side effects of chemotherapy and dramatically enhancing the treatment’s efficacy.”

It is not hard to imagine that large numbers of people around the world would have suffered had Israeli-innovated drugs either never been created, or had come to market later than they did.

Today, however, it is clear that Hamas’ actions have all but guaranteed that such will be the case, with multiple medications that were in development at the time of the October 7 attacks. And the longer than Hamas prolongs its suicidal war with Israel by refusing to release hostages and by promising to commit future “October 7’s,” the more the group harms both new and ongoing research and development efforts that are vital to humanity.

Consider, for example, that as a direct result of the Hamas attacks, at least 10% of the workforce of the Israeli pharmaceutical giant, Teva, has been called up to reserve duty, causing the firm to reallocate resources with a “shift toward areas such as production and distribution.” Teva, it should also be noted, is the No. 1 producer of generic drugs for the United States market, which means that Teva delivers not only new drugs that reduce suffering, but it also lowers the cost of many medications for Americans who otherwise face exorbitant costs for their drugs. In fact, Teva’s role in the North American market is of immense importance: One of every nine prescriptions in the U.S., and one of every six generic prescriptions in Canada is filled with a Teva product.

Indeed, a preliminary survey by the Israel Innovation Authority found that 70% of Israeli technology companies reported that their operational continuity has been affected due to a significant portion of their employees being called up for reserve duty. While measuring such does not directly correlate to the extent to which news drugs are delayed, the fact that a full 47% of Israeli technology companies reported some cancellation or delay of an investment deal due to the war is clearly going to yield significant impacts on R&D schedules.

And, of course, Palestinian researchers have also been impacted. Ironically, perhaps, the impact on them has been primarily from the same source—as the place in which Palestinian researchers have been most successful is Israel, not Gaza or the West Bank. Israeli Arabs—that is, ethnic Palestinians who have chosen to throw their lot in with the Jewish state—are disproportionately represented in Israel’s health-sciences industry. According to some estimates, as many as a third of Israeli doctors are Arabs, as are half of Israeli pharmacists—and both percentages continue to grow year by year. Likewise, Arabs are disproportionately represented in health-sector R&D; one could even reasonably argue that when it comes to biopharmaceutical research and the life sciences, Israel is home to one of the most successful Arab societies—if not the most successful Arab society. While people at rallies around the world may shout slogans about apartheid, the objective reality on the ground—as seen clearly in Israel’s R&D facilities, institutions of higher learning, and business sector—is quite the opposite. Furthermore, while Palestinian Arabs make up only approximately 20% of the Israeli population, Israel has issued nearly half of all of its new medical licenses in recent years to Palestinian Arabs. In fact, the success of Palestinian Arabs within Israel’s life sciences sector is proof of “what could be” in Gaza if the region’s governing body directed its resources towards furnishing its population with opportunities rather than on destroying its neighbor.

Sadly, Hamas’ attacks are not the only Iranian-backed terror disrupting life-saving research and delaying the delivery of innovative products and drugs to market: Iranian-backed Houthi militants who now control most of Yemen have shut down much of the global shipping that would normally traverse various portions of the Red Sea by attacking civilian and military ships from the USA, U.K., and other nations. The Houthis have even knowingly prevented the transportation of medical equipment and supplies to Israel and Gaza—64 containers full of medical supplies were delayed as such in January 2024 alone. While Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan have established new truck routes to Israel in order to allow shippers to circumvent Houthi forces, the Houthi-inflicted delays remain. And, of course, delays as such translate into items needed for R&D not being delivered when anticipated, as well as resources being reallocated to hospitals whenever temporary shortages occur.

The bottom line is that Iran’s terrorist activities are unquestionably already delaying the arrival to market of drugs that would have saved lives and prevented human suffering—drugs whose development was proceeding far faster before Hamas disrupted the joint, noble effort of Jews and Arabs working together for the benefit of humanity. And, with Israel’s disproportionate contribution to such innovations, the delays that the Iranian-backed Hamas and Houthi terrorist groups have inflicted are likely to adversely impact large numbers of people worldwide, causing people who “will never know what hit them” to suffer and die unnecessarily.

Joseph Steinberg serves as a cybersecurity-focused expert witness, board member, and advisor to businesses and governments around the world. He has led organizations within the cybersecurity industry for over 25 years, and has written books ranging from the best-selling Cybersecurity for Dummies to the official study guide from which many CISOs study for certification exams in advanced information-security management. He also amassed millions of readers as a regular columnist for Inc., Forbes, and Newsweek; today, his independent column, Joseph Steinberg: Totally Candid, receives many millions of monthly views. He can be reached at JosephSteinberg.com.

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