January

The Canada-based International Elevator Festival came to Tel Aviv's Azrieli Towers skyscrapers for a high-stakes competition of actual "elevator pitches" – short business proposals, designed to be given in the time it takes for an elevator ride. 100 Israeli high-tech entrepreneurs presented their research in an elevator; Ariel Beery, co-founder of the MobileOCT app that helps doctors in the developing world diagnose cervical cancer, won the first-place prize of $100,000 seed money.

Two Hamas rockets targeted mourners at the funeral of Ariel Sharon, Israel's former Prime Minster who engineered the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza – from where the missiles aimed at his mourners were launched. (JPost 1-23)

The oldest person in the world to have a Facebook page celebrated her 104th birthday in Israel. When she turned 100, Eleonore Maria Theresia Kastner decided to celebrate each subsequent birthday in a different locale: the Berlin resident celebrated in a Dead Sea hotel with 40 of her family members. (JP 1-23)

Police discovered a large cache of weapons in the home of the Palestinian ambassador to the Czech Republic.

The Palestinian ambassador to the Czech Republic, Jamel al-Jamal, was killed by explosives he was holding inside his office in Prague. Czech police later discovered a large cache of weapons – enough to arm a force of ten men – inside the Palestinian Official's personal residence.

Israel's Ministry of Tourism released figures for 2013: over 3.5 million foreign tourists visited the Jewish state, making this a record-breaking tourism year.

February

An Israeli owned company, Wafer Level Chip Scale Package debuted on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, making it the first company ever with a foreign co-founder to go public in China.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced CyberSpark, a new high-tech cyber-security technology park being built in the southern Israeli city of Beersheva. IBM, Cisco, EMC, Lockheed Martin RSA, and Deutsche Telekom immediately announced plans to set up cyber-security research teams in the new center.

Israel's Education Ministry, with support from Jewish donors in America, debuted a new literacy program, "Lantern Library" in Arabic, to provide over 45,000 Arab kindergarteners with a gift of four Arabic books annually, to help foster a love of reading. (JPost 2-21)

Israel released details of aid and medical care being offered to refugees in neighboring war-torn Syria. The IDF distributes food, water and baby food; hundreds of Syrian refugees have been treated in Israeli hospitals; and a special IDF field hospital was erected at the border to tend to Syrian's wounded.

March

Israeli airline El Al began fitting its planes with SkyShield, an Israeli-developed laser system that allows commercial planes to detect and thwart potential terror attacks.

Egyptian media reported that a 24-year-old Egyptian man was arrested for the crime of "loving Israel." According to Egyptian authorities, the man "made contact with Israelis through his Facebook page" and clicked "like" on an Israeli government page. The man also reportedly sports a Star of David tattooed on his arm. (JPost 3-21)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and California Governor Edmund G. Brown signed a major technology-sharing agreement to jointly address issues such as climate change, water scarcity, conservation, cyber-security, alternative energy, biotechnology, agriculture and education.

Naztech solicited the brightest minds in the Arab community for technology entrepreneurs.

Israel's government announced funding for the cleverly-named Naztech, a high-tech start-up fund aimed to promote high-tech innovation amongst Israel's Arab community. The Israeli social entrepreneurship organization PresenTense solicited "the brightest minds in the community of Arab technology entrepreneurs" to join Arabic-language programs that assist potential inventors.

On March 12, over 100 rockets rained down on Israel from Gaza, sending Israelis racing to bomb shelters across the country.

Over 26,000 runners competed in the Jerusalem Marathon, which is emerging as one of the world's most competitive. One veteran racer said: "In marathon tourism, there's the bucket list of the classic five and a few wild cards, and Jerusalem has become one of the wild cards."

Chief Rabbi David Lau affixed a mezuzah to the door of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel – just outside Jerusalem's Old City Walls. The prestigious hotel, incorporating the facade of the historic Palace Hotel, now challenges the King David Hotel for preeminence in the capital city. (JPost 4-4)

A group of Israeli students, invited to visit Paris VIII University to teach French students about the Jewish state, were blocked from speaking by anti-Israel protesters shouting "Zionists get out." When the university asked the Israelis to leave the campus – and then back in a back doorway, the Israelis refused, saying: "in Israel we don't discriminate against students. Jewish, Arabs – all students come through the same gate." The meetings were then cancelled.

April

The Palestinian Authority signed a unity deal with Hamas, the organization that denies Israel's right to exist, and insists on terror to achieve its goals of dismantling the Jewish state. The deal was signed in the Gaza home of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, who has proclaimed "that we have obtained our goals only through fighting and armed resistance and no compromise should be made with the enemy" – referring specifically to missiles, terror tunnel, and suicide bombings.

Immigration to Israel increased by 2% in 2013, Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics announced. 43% of immigrants came from the former Soviet Union, 17% came from France, 13% from the United States, and 8% from Ethiopia. (JPost 5-2)

May

Israel's Tamar reservoir partners and the Spanish firm Union Fenosa Gas signed a letter of intent to export natural gas from Israel to gas liquefaction facilities in Egypt. The deal would see 71 billion cu.m. of natural gas exported to Egypt for processing over a 15-year period. The deal comes two years after Egypt cut off its supply of natural gas to Israel. (JPost 4-9)

Pope Francis departed from his carefully-prepared remarks when he spoke in Israel, condemning the brutal murder of three people, including an Israeli couple, at a Jewish museum in Brussels, as "a criminal act of anti-Semitic hatred."

June

Three Israeli teenagers, Gilad Shaar (16), Naftali Fraenkel (16), and Eyal Yifrach (19), were kidnapped as they hitchhiked home for Shabbat from their high school; their bodies were discovered 18 days later buried in a shallow grave near Hebron. The search for the boys united the Jewish world, and was punctuated by the poise and deep faith exhibited by the three mothers.

Israel's emergency services launched "SOS," a free app that sends a caller's precise location and an immediate distress call to local police. SOS was downloaded over 100,000 times in the weeks immediately following its debut.

White City Shabbat organized the largest Shabbat dinner ever in Tel Aviv, as 2,226 guests feasted on challah, wine and chicken near Tel Aviv's waterfront. The Guinness Book of World Records confirmed the record.

July

Responding to heavy fire from Gaza, Israel launched Operation Protective Edge, designed to neutralize the daily barrages of rockets and mortars targeting the Jewish State. The 50-day conflict would see 5,464 rockets and missiles launched from Gaza into Israel. Despite the conflict, Israel supervised the delivery of 959 tons of medical aid to Gaza from Israel during the fighting.

Israeli anti-collision company Mobileye became the largest Israeli IPO in American history, raising over a billion dollars. Developed by a former Hebrew University professor, Mobileye helps cars detect potential collisions, and is currently installed in 3.3 million vehicles worldwide.

UNRWA, the UN agency that operates in Gaza, was forced to admit that Hamas weapons had been found in three of its schools.

August

Despite uncovering terror tunnels extending from Gaza into Israel (and amidst rumors that Hamas was planning a massive coordinated massacre of Israeli border communities), Israel declared ten unsuccessful ceasefires, withdrawing most of its troops from Gaza. Hamas responded to the unilateral ceasefires by launching volleys of rockets and mortars into the Jewish state, placing most of Israel under attack. A senior Hamas official said the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers was planned by Hamas, and he "praised the brave action" of Hamas' armed wing.

September

The Pew Research Center released its 2014 list of the world's happiest countries: Israel ranked eighth, making the Jewish state one of the world's most positive nations.

Chaim Weizmann, Israel's first prime minister and a professional chemist, is the inspiration behind the name of a new synthetic molecule in the unlikely shape of a Star of David. Developed by Prof. David Leigh at the University of Manchester in Britain, will fittingly be able to make the strongest and lightest armor available.

A new petition garnered hundreds of signatures from academics around the world – accusing those who would boycott Israel of undermining academic freedom, and of using misleading or outright false statements to bolster their claims against the Jewish State.

Intel, a world leader in PC technology, will invest an additional $6 billion in its facility in Kiryat Gat, Israel. This adds 1,000 workers to the 2,500 who currently work for Intel in Israel, making it one of the most advanced chip-making facilities in the world.

October

Terror attacks rocked Jerusalem: an Arab terrorist rammed his car into a crowd waiting at a crowded train station in Jerusalem, killing 3-month-old Chaya Zissel Braun (a U.S. citizen) and 22-year-old Karen Yemima Mosquera, who had recently fulfilled a lifelong dream to convert to Judaism. A week later, Yehuda Glick, a U.S.-born rabbi who campaigns for greater Jewish access to the Temple Mount, was shot in an assassination attempt in central Jerusalem; Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility,

Close relatives of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh have recently been treated at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv.

The daughter of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh was treated in Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv. Last year, Haniyeh's granddaughter was treated at an Israeli hospital, and this year his mother-in-law received medical treatment "from the enemy" when she was admitted to a Jerusalem hospital for cancer care. Thousands of Gazans receive humanitarian medical care in Israel.

November

A container marked "Christmas lights" – addressed to Arab residents of East Jerusalem – was found to contain tens of thousands of swords, knives, firecrackers, and electric-shock devices.

Forbes Magazine named Hamas as the world's second-richest terror group (second only to ISIS), with annual revenue of $1 billion. Hamas maintains its cash flow with a mix of stealing international aid, extorting "taxes" and bribes from businesses in Gaza, and from donations from the international community. An opinion poll this month showed that while 11% of Arabs overall say they support ISIS, fully 24% of Palestinians back the group.

Four rabbis were murdered with guns and meat cleavers, while praying at a synagogue in Har Nof (Jerusalem). Palestinians distributed candy in the streets in Gaza to celebrate the massacre. A Druze police officer who rushed to their aid was also killed. The attack came days after a spate of terror attacks, including the murder of two people waiting at a Jerusalem train station, and the stabbing deaths of an Israeli soldier in Tel Aviv and a 25-year old Israeli woman who was hitchhiking.

Dr. Thaier Kizel became the first Israeli Druze to win Israel's top Outstanding Teacher Award. A pioneer of Hebrew-language teaching, Dr. Kizel uses only Hebrew in his class, focusing on acquiring speaking skills before students attempt reading and writing. Dr. Kizel explains this allows students to "experience success" in class immediately. Dr. Kizel now also advises Israel's Ministry of Education, and tours communities outside Israel advising on Hebrew-teaching methods.

December

Tel Aviv was named one of the world's "creative cities" by UNESCO – distinguished by "the existence of creative industries and cultural activity driven by the use of digital technology and the successful impletation of media arts for the benefit of improving urban life." Tel Aviv is home to the most high-tech start-ups per capita in the world, and the second highest number of high-tech start-ups in absolute numbers. Tel Aviv had previously been designated as a UNESCO world heritage site because of the over 4,000 white Bauhaus buildings in the city.

When an Arab terrorist stabbed Jewish shoppers in the Israeli town of Maale Adumim, Mahmoud Abu Khdeir – the cousin of the Palestinian teenager brutally murdered in an apparent retaliatory killing this summer – rushed to help staunch one victim's bleeding. He explained: "I'm not at war. At work, when I see something like this, I have to help… I hope that one day the situation will change and we will no longer have incidents such as this… Force brings more force, and peace brings peace." (Chicago Jewish News 12.12.14)