Teams of Israeli scientists have triggered cell death in tumors; High points of the Bank of Israel Annual Report include good growth, low unemployment, low inflation, rising wages, low budget deficit and good tech exports, despite a high Shekel; Israel is Mexico’s biggest investor, after the USA, Spain and Germany, and more.
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Israeli breakthrough in cancer treatment
This could be it. Teams of Israeli scientists from Tel Aviv University and Sheba and Hadassah Medical centers working together have triggered cell death in tumors. Derivatives of the compound Phenanthridine caused cancer cells to self-destruct in the most resistant and incurable cancers such as pancreatic. Watch this space! http://www.jewishpress.com/
Prolonging the lives of cancer patients
Professor Dror Harats, CEO of VBL Therapeutics on ILTV News described the Phase 2 results of VB-111. The treatment (now in Phase 3 trials) doubles survival time for brain tumor patients and ovarian cancer patients. It works for most solid tumor cancers. (Reported here previously)
Israeli doctor leads world congress on miscarriage
Professor Asher Bashiri of Israel’s Soroka University Medical Center led the 2017 World Congress on Recurrent Pregnancy Loss, held in Cannes, France. Doctors representing over 50 countries attended. http://www.ynetnews.com/
PolyPid joins US infectious disease program
I reported previously (twice) about Israel’s PolyPid slow-release antibiotic bone implants. PolyPid has just been accepted into the US FDA Qualified Infectious Disease Program – a new FDA status for innovative products in the treatment of bacteria resistant to antibiotics.
Incubating nine medical startups
Israel’s Teva and Philips Healthcare selected 9 from 750 startups for their Sanara joint Israeli medical incubator. They include MeWay (nebulizer) Myhomedoc (smartphone checkup and diagnosis), BReathme (asthma management), Purecare (gum treatment), Lensfree (lowers CT radiation), Lifegraph (migraine prevention), Lidus (blood vessel suturing) and SpirCare (lung capacity measurement).
Israeli takeover of UK cancer biotech
Israel’s BiolineRx is buying UK’s Agalimmune,for $6 million. The private UK-based company has developed an innovative, anti-cancer immunotherapy platform. treatment that not only kills the tumor cells at the site of injection, but also brings about a durable, follow-on, anti-metastatic immune response. http://www.globes.co.il/en/
Worms to treat auto-immune diseases
I reported previously (Apr 2015) about Professor Yehuda Shoenfeld of Israel’s Sheba Hospital. He has now founded startup TPCera which found that parasitic Helminth worms excrete a substance that stops the immune system attacking it. It can be used to treat auto-immune diseases.
Jerusalem factory for Universal Flu vaccine
Israeli biotech Biondvax is to receive a Government grant for 20% of the NIS 20 million required to build a Jerusalem factory for commercial scale production of its M-001 Universal Flu vaccine. Biondvax plans to produce tens of millions of doses of M-001 annually, including for Phase 3 trials. http://www.biondvax.com/2017/
First transplant using innovative stem cell collection
I reported previously (Jun 2014) on the ApoGraft fast system for collecting stem cells, developed by Israel’s Cellect. A patient dying from leukemia has just received the first transplant using these cells. Cellect (and much of the medical world) are closely monitoring results.
Israeli ALS treatment for Titans linebacker
Ex-Tennessee Titans footballer Tim Shaw has just returned from Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center following a stem cell transplant to treat ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Cells collected from him in January were purified, replicated and injected back into his spine.
Bone marrow match for “bubble baby”
Thanks to Israeli health charity Ezer Mizion, an Israeli infant with immunodeficiency syndrome SCID no longer needs to live in a bacteria-free “bubble”. A DNA match was found on Ezer Mizion’s bone marrow database and a transplant has transformed the little boy’s life.
Psycho-trauma therapy on 4 legs
Israel’s United Hatzalah volunteer emergency response service has a trauma and crisis response unit. The Psycho-trauma Unit’s latest recruit is a dog named Lucy. Therapy dogs have proven to be very helpful in traumatic situations, especially when dealing with children and the elderly.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Everybody should be able to enjoy nature
LOTEM is an Israeli organization dedicated to enable people with special needs to experience Israel’s beautiful landscapes and scenic parks. Through workshops and guided tours, its volunteers are using the great outdoors to bring strength and smiles to children and adults alike.
More maternity leave
Israel is increasing Government-paid maternity leave. An increase from 14 to 15 weeks was unanimously agreed by 54 MKs at its first reading. A proposal to increase it to 16 weeks is expected to be approved within six months. Israeli law also gives mothers flexibility to transfer leave to fathers.
Program to curb food waste
Israel’s Agriculture Ministry has developed a program to help stem the estimated 18 billion shekels ($5 billion) of food that is wasted annually. It includes funding the harvesting of crops that farmers cannot sell and their distribution to needy families. It will also promote packaging to extend shelf life. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-
Israeli Arab Jamil R. Mazzawi founded Optima Design Automation in Nazareth, which develops software for protecting and boosting the processing of sensitive microchips. These include preventing errors from cosmic radiation that disrupt medical devices and automobile systems.
Israeli-Arab woman head of Neuroscience
Maronite Christian Arab Professor Mouna Maroun is head of the Sagol Department of Neurobiology at Haifa University. She is the first Arab woman in Israel to hold a university faculty position in neuroscience.
Palestinian-Arab cancer patients in Israel
40% of Dr. Yoram Neumann’s oncology patients at Israel’s Sheba hospital are Palestinian-Arab children from the Territories and Gaza. Palestinian Arab children occupy 50% of the unit’s beds. http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/
Where not to fly a kite
Israeli border police rushed to the aid of a Palestinian Arab boy who fell off a roof in Hebron whilst flying his kite. Other children directed the police paramedic and an escort to the youngster, who had suffered head injuries. After treatment, an IDF ambulance took the injured boy to hospital. http://www.israelnationalnews.
Israeli biogas for Syrian refugees in Jordan
Israel’s HomeBiogas has donated two of its organic waste-to-cooking-gas converters to Syrian refugees in the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan. The systems provide clean renewable energy and replace some of the unsanitary cookers that have caused deadly fires in the camp.
Israel’s top international aid program
Jerusalem Post editor Seth Frantzman describes how tiny Israel is doing much more on the ground to help African states than the masses amount of aid wasted by wealthier donating countries. Israeli assistance encompasses agriculture, water, medicine, security, education and more.
UN scores Israel high for human development
The latest United Nations Human Development Report, which analyzes life expectancy, education, gender equality, and financial wealth, ranks Israel 19th out of 195 countries. Israel comes ahead of Luxembourg, France, Finland, Belgium, Austria, Italy and Spain.
Preserving the DNA of endangered species
Israel’s Ramat Gan Safari is working with Germany’s Leibniz Institute to try and preserve animals expected to go extinct in the next few years. DNA from tissue samples will be frozen and stored at the Safari. http://www.ynetnews.com/
Austria looks for Israeli security expertise
Austria’s Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka visited Israel to deepen Austria’s relationship with Israel. One major objective was to seek guidance on emulating Israel’s open and free society and effective border control. http://www.jpost.com/Israel-
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
From garbage dump to energy resource
I’ve reported previously (four times) on Israel’s Hiriya garbage dump that is now an environmental park. Hiriya’s Refuge Derived Fuel (RDF) plant has just been launched, processing 1,500 tons of waste every day, to produce energy for the nearby Nesher cement production plant.
$66 million for smart transportation
The Israeli Cabinet has approved a 250 million-shekel ($66 million) plan to advance and strengthen the smart transportation industry in Israel. The goal is to “position the Israeli high-tech industry as a global leader in the field”, which could be worth $7 trillion in 2030.
Joint work with USA on cybersecurity
The new United States-Israel Cybersecurity Cooperation Enhancement Act of 2017 (see Jan 8) creates a cybersecurity grant program for joint research and development projects. http://www.jns.org/latest-
Israel’s tallest building approved
Tel Aviv has given the go-ahead for a 100-floor skyscraper to be built in the vicinity of Tel Aviv’s central railway station. It will be Israel’s tallest building.
Collision protection for 4,500 NYC hire cars
4,500 for-hire vehicles in New York City will feature vision sensors and technologies from Israel’s Mobileye (now part of Intel) to identify potential dangerous scenarios in real time, and alert drivers about impending collisions, giving them time to react.
Listenapp wins Startup Live
I publicized previously (Mar 5) Israel’s Startup Live festival on 29 March. Israel’s IMNA Solutions won the festival’s startup competition with Listenapp – a smartphone app that helps keep conversations secure. IMNA will now join the European incubation program Global Incubator Network (GIN). http://i-hls.com/2017/03/
Sign with your watch
Researchers at Ben Gurion and Tel Aviv Universities have developed a smartwatch application capable of verifying handwritten signatures by gathering data from a person’s wrist movement during the signing process. You need to (temporarily at least) put the watch onto your signing hand.
Mind your backs
I reported previously (here and here) on the wearable muscle-training device from Israel’s Upright that helps you develop good posture and prevent back pain. Trials at Ernst & Young improved posture and decreased back pain, resulting in employees being more productive and alert.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Mexico’s 4th biggest investor
Israel is Mexico’s biggest investor, after the USA, Spain and Germany. Direct Investment in 2016 from Israeli ventures rose from $900 million to over $2 billion – beating Canada and Japan.
Israel’s annual economic report
High points of the Bank of Israel Annual Report include good growth, low unemployment, low inflation, rising wages, low budget deficit and good tech exports, despite a high Shekel.
Retail is booming in Israel
Deborah Weinswig, Managing Director of Fung Global Retail & Technology, took her team on a four-day innovation technology tour to Israel. She was impressed with the level of investment, tie-ups with multinationals and accelerators hosted by Adidas and GE.
Encouraging Israeli startups to list in Australia
I reported previously (Nov 13) on the popularity of the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) for Israeli companies to go public. ASX is now actively marketing its advantages over NASDAQ and London, both inside Israel and to Israeli delegations visiting Australia.
Israel-UK trade reinforced by Brexit
United Kingdom’s International Trade Minister, Lord Price, arrived in Israel for the first meeting of the new UK-Israel Trade Working Group, on the same day Britain chose to notify the European Union of its intention to leave. Annual bilateral trade is currently worth around $6.2 billion.
The plane from Spain
The numbers of passengers flying with Air Europa between Madrid and Tel Aviv have soared by 47% since January. The airline already added an extra flight in June last year (reported here) and is now adding another two extra flights per week, using their new Boeing 787 Dreamliners on the route.
Yet more flights
Ten airlines will begin operations at Ben Gurion Airport shortly, including Air India, Air Transat, WOW, Eurowings, Cobalt Air, Envelop, Yarmal and Pegas Fly. Wizz announced 3 more routes and Ryanair celebrated its first flight into Ben Gurion. 11 airlines will fly to France, Italy and Spain.
Study for a degree in Israel
Israel’s Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya is launching Israel’s first BA program in Entrepreneurship in October (in English). Alternatively, the Jerusalem College of Technology offers a BSc in Computer Science (English) or BA degree course in Business Administration (partly in Hebrew).
Mighty Sesame goes from strength to strength
I reported previously (Jul 15) on Israel’s Rushdi Foods and its Mighty Sesame tahini. Rushdi has now launched the ready-to-use, long shelf-life, vegan, natural, organic, sustainable, no additives, high-protein, gluten-free tahini in the UK. http://www.prnewswire.com/
Apple buys Israeli face-recognition security startup
Apple Inc. has acquired Israeli cybersecurity startup RealFace – whose facial recognition technology can be used to authenticate users. Its Pickeez app automatically chooses the user’s best photos. This is Apple’s fourth acquisition in Israel.
The big one – Intel buys Mobileye for $15 billion
Immediately after my last newsletter, Intel bought Israeli vehicle safety and automation systems company Mobileye for just over $15 billion, which makes it the biggest ever exit in the history of Israel’s high-tech industry. The company’s HQ will remain in Israel.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
Yoga – Israeli style
Preschool yoga, prenatal yoga, workplace yoga, yoga for soldiers… yoga in its many forms has found its way into virtually every area of Israeli life. Even government ministries and the Jerusalem prosecutor’s office offer weekly yoga sessions to workers. But Israelis like it with a local flavor.
Have a beer before (or after) Pesach
Doug Greener writes about the surge in availability of Israeli craft beers on tap as well as bottled. Take a trip around Jerusalem’s Machane Yehuda and you will find delicious Israeli draft (draught) beers in 17 bars and restaurants. “Lechayim!”. A map even shows you where.
Britney’s concert date announced
Britney Spears will perform her first ever concert in Israel on July 3 at Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park. The concert is part of Britney’s summer tour throughout Asia, promoting her new album Glory.
Israel’s schedule for 2017 Spring and Summer concerts includes Rod Stewart, Aerosmith, Radiohead, Nick Cave, Justin Bieber, Robbie Williams, Tom Jones, The Pixies, Britney Spears, Pet Shop Boys and many more. http://www.
96-year-old Olympic gymnast wins Israel Prize
Israel’s highest honor, the Israel Prize, has been awarded to 96-year-old Agnes Keleti, the world’s 10th top Olympic gymnast. Saved from the Holocaust by Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, Keleti, made Aliyah from Hungary in 1957 and then founded Israeli gymnastics. She holds the most gold Olympic medals in the State of Israel. http://www.jewishpress.com/
THE JEWISH STATE
The gateway to the Mishna
The northern Israeli town of Beit She’arim is where the Mishna (Oral Law) was compiled during Roman times. The town’s name means “House of Gates”. Archaeologists from the University of Haifa were therefore amazed to discover a massive gateway during recent excavations at the site.
Temple menorah at UNESCO
Israel’s Foreign Ministry is placing a replica of the Second Temple menorah (candelabra) on permanent display at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris. The statue, similar to that on Rome’s Titus Arch, will also include a written explanation in English, French, Hebrew and Arabic.
Party benchers with a difference
Israeli startup Let’s Bench allows party organizers to print personalized Grace After Meals benchers (birkonim) (booklets and cards) for their celebrations. Family photos can be incorporated throughout. http://letsbench.com/ https://www.youtube.com/embed/
The land of (soy) milk and (date) honey
The World Zionist Organization is using Israel’s vegan culture to cultivate connections between Israel and the rest of world Jewry and non-Jewry. It recently ran vegan workshops for attendees of Berlin’s first-ever, weeklong Jewish food festival, Nosh Berlin.
Connecting diaspora Jewish girls with Israel
The Naale/Elite Academy brings Jewish teenage girls from around the world for a free high school matriculation program in top Israeli religious educational institutions all over Israel. Naale is fully subsidized and supervised by the Israeli Ministry of Education.
No Oleh alone for Seder
I reported previously (Feb 2016) on the NGO KeepOlim, dedicated to helping Olim to remain in Israel. KeepOlim’s “No Oleh Alone Program for Pesach” is designed to provide any Israeli immigrant, who wants to attend a Seder in Israel, with a willing and suitable host.
The tomb of Ibn Ezra?
A grave has been unearthed in the Israeli town of Tzfat with the Hebrew inscription “the elderly sage, the doctor Avraham Ben Ezra”. The biblical commentator was said to have immigrated from Spain to Israel at the end of his life in 1164, but his grave has never previously been located.
250 Ukrainian Jews arrive for Pesach
Right before Passover, 230 new immigrants from Ukraine landed in Ben Gurion Airport on the Freedom Flight organized by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) headed by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein. They included four Holocaust survivors, and over 40 children.