Dr. Fischer: Czechoslovakia's Gift to Israel
Dr. Eli Fischer looks like everyone's Jewish uncle; twinkling smart eyes, an instant easy smile, and a kind, caring face. But Dr. Fischer is far from ordinary - he is an Israeli medical pharmaceutical industrialist who did it the old-fashioned way and built his company, Fischer Pharmaceuticals Ltd, which employs around one thousand people in Israel, from the ground up.
Dr. Fischer could be the very exemplar of Israel. Born in the idyllic Sudetenland Mountains of Western Czechoslovakia in 1935, he was 3 years old when Hitler and Chamberlain signed the September 30, 1938 "Peace" pact which gave Western Czechoslovakia to Hitler. Presciently, Dr. Fischer's parents picked themselves up that minute and moved their family eastward to Prague, and then to pre-Israel British Mandate right before Hitler swept into the rest of Czechoslovakia in March 1939.
Growing up in Israel, studying biochemistry at Hebrew University, studying and teaching in Harvard University, and later studying pharmacology in UC Medical School in San Francisco where he got his doctorate, Dr. Fischer had one simple goal: to create and invent medicines that would cure and help people.
And despite his ability to start a company anywhere in America, Dr. Fischer had only one place he would ever think of starting his company and his family: Israel. When asked why he returned to Israel despite the great opportunities for success in the United States, he responded, "For me as a Jew, there was and is only one place in the world: Israel."
In Israel, Dr. Fischer started a company that has radically changed eye-care, developing over thirty eye medicines with his innovative eyelid-wipes and skin-care products.
"One brushes one's teeth every morning," Dr. Fischer explained, "Yes, teeth are important - but the eyes are even more important! One should wipe their eyes to clean them of the oils and dirt that collect on the eyelids and can cause all manner of problems. Ocular hygiene is every bit as important as oral hygiene."
That was the motivation behind one of Dr. Fischer's more unusual of inventions: special disposable eyelid cleansing-wipes that are used by the millions in Israel. In fact his company, "Dr. Fischer", is itself a household name in Israel.
While sold in America under mega drugstore house labels, Dr. Fischer's EYE WIPES are available over the internet (on Amazon and E-Bay). From first-hand experience, having used them every morning I can vouch for their effectiveness.
But Dr. Fischer's eye-wipes only scratch the surface of this kind and humble man.
With the recent EU boycott restrictions, EU companies have demanded that Israelis who do business with the EU sign an agreement that "the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights are not Israel," before they will do business with the Israeli company. Dr. Fischer's response, despite that fact that "exports are the life of Israel and his company": Forget it!
Dr. Fischer explained that in his view the boycott is just, "Step one. Next they will boycott all of Israel."
"And who are the boycotts hurting?" he adds, "The Palestinians in the West Bank who are working for great wages from Israeli companies!"
Following his retirement, Dr. Fischer has left the running of his company in his two daughter's able hands ("They do a better job than me!" he says with a smile). Staying true to his altruistic values, his other daughter works as a therapist helping children.
Dr. Fischer has three daughters and 11 grandchildren, many of whom are now proudly serving in the Israeli army. But his passion and creativity don't stop there.
He has accumulated an art collection based on mostly Israeli and some Arab artists' interpretations of the Egyptian and Jordanian peace agreements., and opened an art gallery in Tel Aviv named after his late wife, Dvora (may she rest in peace), which sells art work where all the proceeds of the sales go to various under-privileged groups or towards providing assistance to soldiers in the IDF.
As if that wasn't enough, this one-man powerhouse has also started a program to try to correct misperceptions about Israel among American and other college students that their picture of Israel is all wrong.
"We must do something to stem the terrible tide of anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism that is sweeping the world and US college campuses today," he states.
Leaving Dr. Fischer I saw in him the inescapable inherent kindness and goodness of the Jewish people that no one will be able to destroy - a man who only ever "thought of creating medicines to help people."
Dr. Fischer is just a small, but great, part of the majesty, treasure, and gift that the Jewish people and Israel are to the world.