Israeli professor works on treatment for deadly parasitic disease; UN honors Israeli special-needs youth movement; Italian Jewish history preserved in Jerusalem, and much more!
By Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
New treatment for Leishmaniasis
I reported previously (see here) on Israel’s work to combat Leishmaniasis – a deadly parasitic disease common in the Middle East. Now Professor Shulamit Michaeli, at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University, is working to commercialize a compound that in 20 minutes kills two types of Leishmania parasites.
Reading memories in the brain
Israeli scientists have discovered that both positive and negative memories are stored in genes within areas of the brain that can be retrieved even post-mortem. The findings could one day help treat patients with psychiatric disorders such as OCD, schizophrenia and trauma.
Enzyme can prevent spinal-cord damage
Tel Aviv University scientists have discovered an enzyme that controls blood glutamate levels and could help patients recover from spinal injuries if administered soon after an accident. Reducing the release of glutamate after a trauma enabled lesions at the injury site to regenerate.
First Israeli coral-based knee replacement
I reported previously (see here) about Israeli startup CartiHeal which invented the Agili-C knee implant that uses coral-derived material to repair damaged knee cartilage. Doctors at Jerusalem’s Hadassah hospital have just performed the first Israeli Agili-C surgery.
His ankle is now his knee
Jacob A’s lower leg was amputated after a work accident. But his foot was fine, so in Israel’s first “rotationplasty” operation, doctors at Haifa’s Rambam hospital turned it upside down and made the ankle joint into a knee joint. Once Jacob has a prosthetic fitted, he should be able to walk normally.
Bio-protection for life
I reported previously (see here) on Israeli startup Nobio (previously named Nanolock) and its revolutionary nano-polymer that causes bacteria to die immediately on contact. Nobio has just raised $3.6 million of funds to help it obtain FDA approval. See also new video.
$4 million to advance cancer resistance testing
I reported previously (Jun 2017) on Israeli biotech NewStem which is developing a stem cell platform to test cancer treatments in the lab before potentially wasting them on patients. NewStem has just received $4 million of funds from an unlikely source – Hollywood Media Corp.
The future of medicine is being formulated in Israel
British philanthropist David Dangoor writes that Israel is at the forefront of development of personalized medical innovations that can solve prohibitive and largely ineffective medical treatments being used in the UK and elsewhere.
Sweet protein gives hope to diabetics
Israeli startup Amai Proteins has synthesized the protein thaumatin, found naturally in the Nigerian katemfe plant, which acts as a sweetener but does not raise blood sugar or insulin levels. Amai have conducted initial test tastings and have raised NIS 3 million of funding.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
UN honors Israeli special needs youth movement
The United Nations’ Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) has given “Special Advisor” status to Israeli NGO Krembo Wings (see here). It recognizes the youth movement as a world leader, integrating disabled children with other children.
First female legal advisor to Israeli rabbinical court
Shira Ben-Eli has been appointed to serve as a judicial assistant to the Jerusalem District Labor Court – one of the most senior positions in the Orthodox-run court system. The position involves close contact with the court’s decision-making processes.
Israeli soccer to be color-blind friendly
Israel’s Premier League is to adopt new kit guidelines to help color-blind supporters. Green and red have been defined as identical colors and if the colors of opposing team kits clash, the away team will be required to use an alternate outfit of black or white or stripes.
Jerusalem scores a goal for peace
I reported previously (see here) on the soccer event organized by Kulna Yerushalayim that united so many of Jerusalem’s Arab and Jewish kids. Here is an Israel21c video of the event.
“Jerusalem” for Guatemala volcano survivors
Israeli medical NGO Zaka is working with the Guatemala Jewish community to build 100 homes for evacuees from the recent Guatemala volcano eruption. The homes have been named, “The Jerusalem Neighborhood” and those completed are already housing affected families.
Gala event to support humanitarian work of Israeli doctors
The “Life & Hope” Project Gala, in support of the remarkable humanitarian work of Israeli doctors around the world, will take place on 9th Dec 2018, in Miami Beach, Florida. Performers include Gloria Estefan and the Miami Symphony Orchestra. https://friendsofziv.org/event/
Israelis won the European Universities Debating Championship in Serbia. Noam Dahan and Tom Manor won the main competition, beating teams from Oxford and Cambridge Universities. Amichay Even-Chen and Ido Kotler won the “English as a Second Language” category.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Boosting Indian agriculture
Israel continues being a frontrunner on the world stage in agricultural technology. This video from I24 news shows how in a region of India with a rainy climate, this technology has enabled urban farmers to grow tomatoes successfully.
Eilat’s coral reef is growing
I’ve reported previously (see here) on the excellent state of Eilat’s coral reef, in sharp contrast to the damage being caused to the coral reefs of other countries. The latest report from Eilat’s Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences shows that Eilat’s reef is growing at a rate of 0.5% per year.
Helping Thailand with cybersecurity
The Embassy of Israel in Thailand hosted the “Israel Cyber Security Roadshow 2018”. Twelve Israeli cyber security companies showcased their products and services to Thai companies interested in mitigating cyber-attacks.
Swipe right for home
I reported previously (Mar 2015) about Israeli startup Impris and its ability to launch apps with one finger without even looking at your smartphone. Now Impris has adapted this technology to cars so that you can control music, phone calls, messaging, and navigation without taking your eyes off the road.
Anyone can build VR websites
Israeli startup DoublX VR has developed a platform that allows anyone or any organization to upload video from a 360-degree Virtual Reality camera. It generates a Virtual Reality website in 3D to watch with VR glasses. All for free, without having to write a single line of computer code.
Unravelling complex contracts
Israeli startup Uhura Solutions has developed an Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform that can analyze even the most complex of customer contracts, isolate the key terms and help make vital business decisions. Aimed at financial institutions, it can save hours of work and eliminate human errors.
Tell your story
I reported previously (Nov 2015) on Israeli startup Apester which offers tools for on-line publishers such as quizzes and polls to promote user feedback. Now Apester has launched a story tool for embedding onto a website or integrating into social platforms such as Instagram or Snapchat.
Monitoring industrial machinery
Israel-based startup EcoPlant Technological Innovation develops a cloud-based system for monitoring industrial machinery. Its purpose is to improve energy efficiency and equipment uptime. EcoPlant has just raised $1.7 million in funds.
Israel is the driving force of tomorrow’s cars
Although Israel is not a car manufacturer, many people are unaware of Israel’s partnership with manufacturers from around the world. This article by Viva Sarah Press gives an insight behind the scenes of very possibly the vehicle that you are driving.
Robot pepper picker
Ben Gurion University scientists are part of the team that built the Sweeper robot pepper picker together with other international companies as part of a European Horizon 2020 funded project. The BGU team developed the fruit detection and maturity classification technology.
Protect against electromagnetic radiation
Israeli startup Green Elmf manufactures cables that cancel out the electric magnetic discharge from wired infrastructure. The technology was developed by two Technion Professors. The result is less electrical interference and possibly better health, especially for young children.
Fighting fire with lasers
The main cause of a fast-spreading forest fire is when the leaves at the top of the trees catch fire. Israel’s Fighting Treetop Fire (FTF) is developing algorithm-controlled laser beams for helicopters or trucks to remove leaves, thin branches and pine needles off treetops in the path of a forest fire.
Super-lubricity for super performance
Researchers at Tel Aviv University and Tsinghua University in China have discovered a method to dramatically reduce friction. It promises to generate much faster computer processing. This ultra-low friction is known as super-lubricity.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Israel gets another “A”
True to its promise, (see 5th Aug) ratings agency Standard & Poor (S&P) raised its rating for Israel from A+ to AA-. S&P citing Israel’s steady economic growth and improved debt outlook. AA- is Israel’s highest ever rating from any international rating agency and will save billions in interest repayments.
Deep Tech links Israel to Korea. Israeli equity crowdfunding company OurCrowd’s Labs/02 incubator has joined with Korean VC firms Development Trusts NI and Yozma Kore to help setup startups in both countries. Labs/02 focuses on technology startups in AI, deep learning, autonomous transportation and smart cities.
UK’s Centrica funds Israeli electric vehicle charging
British energy company Centrica has co-led a $12 million funding round for Israeli startup Driivz. Driivz develops and sells cloud-based electric vehicle charging network management software. Already over 200,000 drivers make use of the service.
United Airlines starts Tel Aviv to Washington route
United Airlines is marking its 20th year of service to Israel with the first ever nonstop flight between Washington Dulles International airport and Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport. The three-times-a-week service commences on 22nd May 2019.
Direct flights from Guangzhou
China’s Hainan airlines has just commenced its new direct service between Tel Aviv and the South China city of Guangzhou. Hainan already operates direct flights from Israel to both Beijing and Shanghai and is to add Shenzhen. Chinese tourism increased by 41% in 2017 compared to 2016.
Gateway to the sun
Due to open early in 2019, Eilat’s new Ilan and Assaf Ramon International airport is expected to service 2 million passengers annually.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
Massive Lego sculptures in Tel Aviv
An exhibit at Tel Aviv’s port features 25 works by the award-winning Lego artist Sean Kenney of New York, who uses Lego bricks – thousands of them – to construct sculptures featuring famous sites, portraits, animals and objects from everyday life. Open daily until 31st Aug.
August in Jerusalem
This month’s Jerusalem events include the International Arts and Crafts Fair (till 18th), Puppet festival (till 16th), Water festival (27-29th) and 15 activities at 15 shekels each (last 15 days in Aug).
Putting life into old clothes
No, not a new washing powder. Jerusalem’s Israel Museum is using Israeli on-line shopping app Zeekit (see here) to generate a virtual reality personal fashion show featuring pre and post-state clothes. Museum visitors take a “selfie” and in five minutes can see themselves wearing the exhibits.
World’s lowest resort gets upgrade
The Dead Sea resort is soon to get luxuriously upgraded. A new leisure complex is to be built, with two hotels, a visitor’s center, entertainment and culinary venues, a spa and shops. The complex’s designer is Moshe Safdie, responsible for some of Israel’s most iconic buildings.
Alanis Morrisett wows Tel Aviv
Canadian rocker Alanis Morissette marked her third performance in the country, in front of a sold-out crowd of 15,000 at Rishon Lezion’s Live Park. She performed her best hits, including “All I Really Want,” “Hand in My Pocket,” “You Learn,” “Head Over Feet,” and “Ironic.”
Cool off at Israeli nature reserves
Nice video of five Israeli resorts to enjoy this summer while keeping cool.
Golan to Eilat bike trail
Cyclists will soon be able to bike all the way from Mount Hermon in the north of Israel, to Eilat in the south – completing the 1,200 km Israel Trail for bikes. The Israel Lands Authority is to invest NIS 45 million over 3 years to build 600km of cycling paths and complete the national trail.
Gold for Israeli acrobats at World Championships
The Israeli men’s team won the gold medal at the 2018 Acrobatic Gymnastics World Championships in April. I didn’t report this at the time, but the videos have just been widely circulated. Israel also came second overall in the medals table.
Blind Shlomi is world champion again
I reported previously (see here) on Israel’s Shlomi Lazmy, who won the 2018 Tenpin Bowling World Championships for the blind. Well Shlomi has just won the 2018 gold medal as well. https://www.israel21c.org/israeli-blind-bowler-wins-world-championship-for-2nd-time/
First Israeli woman to win Euro athletics gold
Lonah Chemtai Salpeter became the first Israeli woman to win gold at a European Athletics Championships when she won the 10,000 meters in Berlin. The former nanny to Kenya’s ambassador to Israel married Israeli running coach Dan Salpeter and took Israeli citizenship in 2016.
THE JEWISH STATE
Italian Jewish history is preserved in Jerusalem. (TY UCI & I24 News) The art of the Jews of Italy has been preserved in the Umberto Nahon museum of Italian Jewish art in Jerusalem – one of the most beautiful buildings in the Holy City.
2000-year-old earring found in Jerusalem
A spectacular gold earring, shaped like a horned animal and dating back to the 2nd or 3rd century BCE, during the Hellenistic period, was discovered during excavations of the Givati Parking Lot in the City of David National Park encircling the Old City walls.
15 couples remarry in Jerusalem
Fifteen Bnei Menashe couples, who immigrated to Israel from Manipur, India in Jun 2018, were remarried in a festive and emotional group ceremony at nonprofit Shavei Israel’s absorption center in Kfar Hasidim, after completing their formal conversion.
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