Good News Israel Archive from the week of October 2, 2016: Israel’s Collplant has reported positive results of trials of its Vergenix STR treatment for tennis elbow; Jerusalem-based Freightos set up the world’s first web market place for international freight, and much more.
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
The gene that protects against ALS
Researchers from Ben-Gurion University have discovered the gene MIF that stops the protein superoxide dismutase (SOD1) from misfolding and then killing motor neurons, leading to ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) or Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Lupus treatment works in lower doses
I reported previously about hCDR1 from Israeli biotech XTL for treating Lupus (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus – SLE). Trials have found many cases where low dosages of hCDR1 are more effective than high ones. XTL have filed new US and European patents.
Successful trials of Tennis Elbow treatment
Israel’s Collplant has reported positive results of trials of its Vergenix STR treatment for inflammation of the elbow tendon – commonly referred to as tennis elbow. Most of the 40 patients reported less pain and disability – far better than those just on steroids.
Keeping a watch on Huntington’s disease
Israel’s Teva is to work with Intel Corp. to develop a wearable device combined with a machine learning platform to try and improve treatment for Huntington’s disease. A smartwatch and smartphone will continuously measure the severity of the motoric symptoms.
Predicting heart attacks and strokes
Israel’s Zebra Medical Vision can identify patients at early risk of osteoporosis, cardiac disease, liver disease etc. Zebra has just announced its development of two new software algorithms that predict cardiovascular events.
A liquid biopsy for cancer
An interview on ILTV Daily with Dr Alan Schwebel, President and CEO of Israel’s BioView. Dr Schwebel describes Bioview’s scanning system for early detection of cancer cells and identification of the most appropriate treatment.
App connects cancer sufferers
Mobile app “Belong” was developed by Israeli entrepreneurs who had lost family members to cancer. The app (iOS or Android) allows patients to share vital information whilst reducing feelings of loneliness and anxiety. It also provides tips, questions for doctors, and info on medical procedures.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
IDF academic scholarships
From October, the IDF will award full academic scholarships to combat soldiers, immigrants, minorities and the underprivileged upon their discharge. They will be funded from donations to the IDF. It is hoped to eventually extend the scholarships to all service personnel.
Jews and Arabs play soccer for peace
A soccer camp for Israeli children (50 Jews and 50 Arabs) featured a tournament in which the kids were split up into six different teams, each representing a “world cup” country. The tournament was all the more unique for being held in the Israeli-Arab town of Baqa al-Gharbiyye.
First Arab legal advisor to Government ministry
34-year-old Christian Arab Maron Halifah from Haifa is to become the legal advisor to the Ministry of Development in the Periphery, the Negev and the Galilee, making him the first Arab ever to occupy the position of a legal advisor in a government office.
Syrian girl goes home after cancer treatment
After a secret operation to get a blood marrow donor for a Syrian girl being treated for cancer in Israel, the six-year-old girl has now recovered and has been released from hospital.
Helping Christians and Yazidis in Iraq
Israel humanitarian organization IsraAID is operating in the Kurdish Region of Iraq (KRI), supporting displaced Christians and Yazidis living in camps and temporary shelters. They are distributing blankets, mattresses and other emergency supplies.
Honduras to fight crime with Israeli tech. President Juan Orlando Hernandez of Honduras said his country has signed an agreement with Israel for “cutting-edge technology” to help his army fight organized crime. Hernandez said the agreement will be used to battle “the highest levels of crime in the last 15 years.”
UN exhibition of Israeli tech for Africa
10 Israeli companies are presenting their innovations to help Africa at a special exhibition at the UN. They include a portable greenhouse, polluted water detection technology, a device to produce water from air, solar tech to pump water and cancer diagnosis technology.
The first visit from the “Forbidden Kingdom”
Lyonpo Yeshey Dorji of Bhutan is the first minister from South Asia’s “Forbidden Kingdom” to visit the Jewish State. He attended the graduation of Bhutanese students from the apprenticeship program of Israel’s AgroStudies and also visited several Israeli farms. Bhutan has no formal diplomatic relations with Israel.
Hunting African wildlife traffickers
Israel’s Dr Bill Clark combats poaching in Kenya. Now another Israeli, Ofir Drori, has launched the EAGLE network and put 1300 poachers behind bars in Cameroon, Republic of Congo, Gabon, Benin, Togo, Guinea, Senegal, Uganda and Madagascar.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
US-Israeli energy center
The United States Department of Energy is to establish a US-Israel joint energy research center in 2017. Jonathan Elkind, a DOE official, stated that the center will build on the “extensive engagement that already exists between our two countries through the US–Israel Energy Dialogue”.
Iron Dome to protect US forces
Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Raytheon, its US partner for Iron Dome production, are working to transform the combat-proven Israeli interceptor into a fully US system defending forward-deployed US forces from cruise missiles, UAVs, rockets, artillery and mortars.
Technology for US special forces
The Florida-Israel Business Accelerator (FIBA) is to collaborate with the United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM) on the production of innovative technologies. These include components, material combinations, simulations, and systems. Also FIBA received $1 million from the State of Florida to attract and develop Israeli startups in the Tampa Bay area.
Robotics program in 300 schools
Some 300 elementary schools in Israel will be adding robotics to their curricula for the 2016-2017 school year under a new initiative by the Education Ministry. Students will learn how to code and will receive hands-on experience in operating robots of various types.
International Robotics prize
The Binyamina High School competed in the FIRST Robotics contest in the USA. The students then went to compete in Shanghai where they finished second of 57 international teams with their robot that balanced on a beam and scored balls into goals.
A smart app for learning English
Israeli startup LinguisTech Solutions. has launched EZSpeak, which helps users learn to speak English quickly and pronounce it correctly. EZSpeak analyzes the user’s speech and creates a personalized learning program. LinguisTech is targeting the Chinese and Spanish-speaking markets.
The amazing performance of Flash Storage DSSD has been superseded by Israel’s Plexistor using breakthrough technology. Labelled as Software Defined Memory, Non Volatile Memory and Persistent Memory over Fabric (PMoF). Plexistor’s PMoF Brick achieves staggering speeds.
Using spinach to generate fuel
Technion-Israel scientists used sunlight to split water into Hydrogen and Oxygen. They have progressed further and developed this into a bio-photo-electro-chemical (BPEC) cell, using a simple membrane extract from spinach leaves.
Intel uses its Israeli brains
Intel Corp.’s display at the DLD Tel Aviv Innovation Festival featured futuristic technology from virtual reality headsets to drones. Maxine Fassberg, CEO of Intel Israel, said “Intel is the connection between (these) brains that work daily on futuristic developments and Israel’s ecosystem of innovation.” http://www.timesofisrael.com/intel-displays-technologies-as-part-of-strategy-shift/
Israelis prompt Apple to boost iPhone security
Apple has fixed a security weakness in its mobile operating system, iOS 9.3.5. that was revealed by Israel’s NSO Group. The flaw allowed malicious software to track calls and contacts, collect passwords, read texts and emails, record calls and trace the whereabouts of the user.
Infiltrating the cyber underworld
Israel’s Intsights Cyber Intelligence monitors the dark web to detect potential attacks, delivering its threat intelligence platform to a substantial number of leading global enterprise companies in the retail, telecom, manufacturing and financial sectors. Intsights has just raised $7.5 million of funds. http://www.globes.co.il/en/article-cyber-security-company-intsights-raises-75m-1001149325
Delphi and Mobileye driverless car partnership
Auto parts and electronics company Delphi Automotive is joining with Israeli software maker Mobileye to develop a platform for a fully autonomous car. They promise to demonstrate the technology at January’s Consumer Electronics Show and be ready for production in 2019.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Increases to welfare, culture and science budgets
Israel’s government approved the two-year 2017-2018 state budget setting it at 454 billion shekels ($118 billion) for 2017 and NIS 463 billion ($120 billion) for 2018. It includes a series of growth incentives to increase competition and reduce the cost of living.
Israel’s economic growth and global economic integration
Ambassador Yoram Ettinger’s latest report makes inspiring reading.
Always on the move
A record of 3,623,800 Israelis traveled abroad between January-July 2016 – 14.6% more than the same period last year. A record 3,350,400 traveled through Ben-Gurion Airport – 15% higher than in 2015.
Huge rise in UN purchases from Israel
The United Nations acquired goods and services from Israel totaling $91.8 million in 2015 – double the amount it spent in 2013. 29% of Israeli goods were medical equipment and 17% were IT and communications equipment.
Trade with Japan is booming
Bilateral trade in goods between Israel and Japan in the first seven months of 2016 rose to $1.4 billion from $1.1 billion in 2015. Japan is Israel’s fourth-largest market in Asia.
Innovating with Italy
The Innovation Center of Italian banking group Intesa Sanpaolo has signed a partnership agreement with Israel’s Bank Leumi to share commercial and technological expertise and projects. An agreement with the Italian Israeli Chamber of Commerce aims to develop contacts for Italian and Israeli companies. http://www.publicnow.com/view/6A9D50CFE4B3A765E9FC9A0555673FD61395FF35?2016-07-30-03:01:04+01:00-xxx3810
The best crowdfunding of a juvenile product
The Indiegogo campaign for the mifold grab-and-go car booster seat raised over $2.4 million (1,665% of funds sought). And I can report that the Israeli-developed portable car seat was useful for my granddaughter when I drove in the UK recently.
Freightos buys WebCargoNet
Jerusalem-based Freightos set up the world’s first web market place for international freight. Freightos has now bought Barcelona-based air-cargo rate management provider WebCargoNet creating the “world’s largest freight Big Data database of over 200 million data points. http://www.timesofisrael.com/israels-freightos-buys-barcelonas-webcargonet/
Massive exit for MassiveImpact
Taiwan’s General Mobile Corporation (GMobi) is reportedly paying billions of Taiwanese dollars to buy out Israel’s MassiveImpact, one of the largest performance advertising firms for mobile in the world. MassiveImpact reaches over 1 billion users in 190 countries.
Spacecom exits for $285 million
Beijing Xinwei Technology has bought Israel’s Spacecom Satellite Communications for $285 million. Spacecom operates the AMOS series of communications satellites.
Hanita coatings exits
Innovative coatings were developed by kibbutz-based Hanita. They insulate Whirlpool fridges and produce low cost alloy coatings for windows. Hanita has just been bought out by California-based Avery Dennison for $75 million.
Time to get emotional
Israel’s Beyond Verbal’s voice technology understands the emotions in human speech in multiple languages. It has applications for business, marketing, games, media and more. No wonder Beyond Verbal has just attracted $3 million of Chinese investment.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
70 million downloads
The Pirate Kings mobile game from Israel’s Jelly Button Games is now one of the most popular smartphone games designed in Israel, with 70 million downloads.
Morrissey serenades fans in Tel Aviv and Caesarea
Morrissey, the former front man for British rockers “The Smiths” was in fine form at the sold-out Bronfman Auditorium in Tel Aviv. He treated his audience to a 90-minute set, described as a “melancholic dream world drenched in nostalgia”.
Standup comedy in Netanya
You may have read about British-Israeli comedienne Diana Cass in the Jerusalem Post Metro and Magazine. Diana has organized an evening of stand-up comedy on Nov 3rd in Netanya. The funny thing is that you only find out the address of the venue when you phone for tickets!
Barbie goes digital
Toy manufacturing giant Mattel has teamed up with Israeli startup StartApp to help bring the iconic Barbie doll to an every-day digital “Barbie world.” StartApp will develop emojis, stickers, wallpapers, gifs, avatars, memes and other mobile app themes for the app, which is available to download.
Harlem Globetrotters return in October
After successful tours of Israel in 2012 and 2014 the Harlem Globetrotters return to Israel for 4 shows from 18 – 22 Oct. They visit Tel Aviv, Beer Sheva, Haifa and Jerusalem.
Paralympic cyclist wins medals with Israeli prosthesis
German Paralympic athlete Denise Schindler won a silver medal in the women’s cycling road time trial and bronze in the road race at the Rio Paralympics. She wore a high performance artificial leg 3D-printed by Autodesk, whose R&D center is in Tel Aviv.
Israel qualifies for World Baseball Classic
Israel qualified for the World Baseball Classic for the first time with a 9-1 win over Britain. Israel defeated Britain twice as well as Brazil to win the four-team qualifier and become the 16th and final team in the fourth W.B.C., scheduled to begin March 7 in Seoul, South Korea.
THE JEWISH STATE
VR tour of 2nd Temple
The Western Wall Heritage Foundation is launching a new virtual reality (VR) experience in the Western Wall complex. It provides a virtual tour of the Second Temple, giving visitors an insight into the workings of the center of Jewish life 2,000 years ago.
2000-year-old stone vessel factory discovered
Archaeologists from Israel and Malta have unearthed a first century CE workshop in the Galilee that produced stone vessels. It is evidence of Jewish communities that used vessels made of stone to avoid religious restrictions associated with using pottery.
The Jewish Temple in Jerusalem
Excellent new video from Stand With Us that silences those who claim that the Jewish Temple never existed in Jerusalem.
The valley of David and Goliath
The Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem is displaying artifacts from a 3000-year-old two-gated city in an exhibit called “In the Valley of David and Goliath”. Archeologists identify it as possibly Sha’arayim (‘two gates’ in Hebrew), mentioned in the story of David and Goliath.
6000 new immigrants this summer
Some 6,000 new immigrants have arrived in Israel over the summer, mostly from Russia, France, the US, Brazil, and Belarus. The Absorption Ministry has prepared extra facilities at Ben Gurion airport and in the various absorption centers and local branches.
World record for wrapping Tefillin – in Tel Aviv
Chabad set a new world record by getting 262 men to put on tefillin in 10 hours. The fact that this was achieved in the “secular” city of Tel Aviv is even more amazing.
Farewell to an innovator
Shimon Peres who died on Wednesday, urged Israel to embrace innovation, given the lack of natural resources in the land of milk and honey. Irrespective of his politics, he was unequivocally respected for his unending energy, optimism and inquisitiveness. He believed that anything could be achieved if you really tried.
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