US and Israel companies develop treatment for mustard gas injuries; Tel Aviv City Council, real estate agencies and artists transform dilapidated buildings into cultural centers; Hebrew U professor uncovers biblical city of Sha’arayim, and much more!

By Michael Ordman


Treatment to combat mustard gas

The US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) has invested $43 million in Israel’s MediWound to develop its NexoBrid product for the treatment of mustard gas injuries. In 2015 BARDA invested $112 million to help MediWound develop NexoBrid for burns.

Boost for prostate treatment

I reported previously (Feb 2012) on Israel’s Medi-Tate and its non-invasive treatment for benign prostate enlargement.  Now Japan’s Olympus Corporation has invested $20 million in Medi-Tate and will market Medi-Tate’s iTind implant in several countries.,7340,L-3749102,00.html

Israeli innovation saves lives

Hospitals all over the world use Israeli medical technology. But Israeli Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the next big item. This article highlights Israel’s MedAware (preventing prescription errors), MobiGuide’s Patient Guidance system, Zebra Medical, and AI systems at Israeli hospitals Sheba and Sourasky.

Toolbox for chemists

Researchers at Israel’s Technion have developed a “toolbox” technique to give organic chemists a cheap and quick method to design complex molecules and make safe medicines. They place smaller molecules in a ring, make them rigid, use a catalyst to break their bonds and re-assemble them like toy bricks.

Recognition for pain monitor

I reported previously (Feb 2017) that the PMD200 pain measurement device from Israel’s Medasense had received European CE Approval. Now, the international Society of Critical Care Medicine has included the innovative technology in its Intensive Care Unit Clinical Practice Guidelines.

Guidance system for visually-impaired goes global

I reported previously (Sep 2017) on Israel’s RightHear and its app that enables the visually impaired to navigate shopping malls, hospitals, universities etc. RightHear has since been installed in Israeli supermarket chain Shufersal, launched in the US and is heading for the UK.

Bio-ethics conference

We’ve just returned from Jerusalem. The hotel where we stayed was also hosting the UNESCO 13th World Conference on Bioethics, Medical Ethics and Health Law and many of the international delegates were pleased to hear about VeryGoodNewsIsrael.

Medical clowning is no joke

The results of a quantitative study at two Israeli medical clinics have proved that medical clowns relieve the anxiety of children towards invasive medical examinations. Lowering anxiety levels shortens procedure time and reduces pain (e.g. of a colonoscopy).

Three sets of triplets on one day

Israel’s Sheba Medical Center has just delivered three sets of triplets on the same day – a unique occasion. The three mothers had carried for 30 -32 weeks. Co-incidentally, World Premature Day is recognized on 17th Nov around the world. Last year, 77 women in Israel gave birth to triplets.


Diplomats’ fun run raises money for special needs

Israel’s foreign ministry hosted its third diplomatic race for foreign diplomats up and down the hills of Jerusalem. The event raised funds for Shalva, an Israeli organization that helps children with special needs.

Israeli band with disabilities plays at top UK school

An Israeli band of eight musicians with disabilities has played at UK’s prestigious Eton College, where Prince William studied.  The Shalva Band includes musicians with Down syndrome, autism, and various physical handicaps and raised money for children with disabilities.

President hosts special Olympians

Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin welcomed Israeli athletes of the Special Olympics to his Beit HaNasi official Jerusalem residence as part of the launch of the team that will participate in the 2019 Special Olympic games in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Israel’s first Ethiopian-born male judge

For the first time, Israel has appointed a male Ethiopian-immigrant to be a judge. Bialin Elazar will serve on the bench of the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court. Elazar, who previously served a state prosecutor, will join two female Ethiopian judges (see here) who were appointed two years ago.

Joint campus in China

The University of Haifa is launching a joint campus with the largest university in Shanghai – the East China Normal University. Courses will focus on environmental sciences, biomedicine and neuroscience. Haifa  professors will use campus research facilities and get grants from the Chinese university.

11 UK Universities visit Israel

11 British universities visited Israel in preparation for Brexit. senior personnel came from the Universities of Exeter, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Manchester, Warwick, Lancaster, Durham, Queen Mary, Queen’s Belfast, King’s London and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry.

Historic visit by President of Chad

President Idriss Deby has made the first-ever visit by a President of the Republic of Chad to the State of Israel, and brought his Foreign Minister, Economy Minister and other senior officials and visited Yad Vashem. He promised to re-establish diplomatic relations. Chad is 55% Muslim.

UN passes Israeli-led resolution for a better world

The United Nations has adopted an Israel-led resolution on sustainable development through entrepreneurship. It calls all States to support young innovators, people with disabilities in the workplace, small and medium-sized businesses and to stop gender discrimination.

Water from air in California

srael’s WaterGen has supplied its GEN-350 atmospheric water generator to help police and firefighters battling the California wildfires. The mobile system provides 156 gallons of water per day and is equipped with a generator and charging stations.

Helping first responders in California

The drone footage from Israel’s Edgybees helped firefighters with California’s wildfires in March (see here).  And they have been helping California combat the recent disaster.

Israeli NGO launches in Eswatini

Israel’s Innovation: Africa has added eSwatini (previously Swaziland) to its list of African countries that it is working in. Innovation: Africa implements projects to install solar power and water systems into remote villages, bringing energy and clean water to millions of Africans.


Technion joins EuroTech University Alliance

Israel’s Technion Institute will join the EuroTech Universities Alliance of five leading European Universities on 1st January. It will pool education, research and innovation with the universities of Denmark, Lausanne, Luxembourg, Eindhoven, Munich and across the EU.

Cybersecurity for G20 summit

Israel provided cyber defense and cybersecurity to the end of November G20 Summit meeting in Buenos Aires. The Argentine Defense Ministry has signed a $5 million contract with Israel’s Defense Ministry for two computer security response teams.

US firm buys Israeli satellites

US-based XpressSAR has bought a constellation of up to four TecSAR synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites from Israel Aerospace Industries. Launching in 2022, XpressSAR will use them to monitor harbors, airfields, active volcanoes, spreading floods, oil spills and ship traffic.

Using voice analytics to recruit staff

I reported previously (21st May) on Israel’s VoiceSense and its speech analytics program that can predict behavior from speech patterns. VoiceSense has just launched its solution for Human Resources which analyzes interview videos to produce a shortlist of suitable candidates.

Saving lives on Nevada roads

I reported previously (July 2017) when the Artificial Intelligent road crash prediction system from Israel’s Waycare started a one-year pilot project in Las Vegas. Nevada Highway Patrol says the system reduced crashes by 17 percent and it wants to extend the system across the Las Vegas Valley.

Transforming Indian agriculture

Around 6,000 farmers in 50 previously drought-stricken villages in Hungund, India, adopted drip-irrigation from Israel’s Netafim and are enjoying a second annual harvest. The 24,000-hectare Ramthal (Marol) project has doubled their annual crop yield and reduced water consumption.

Science without borders

To honor Israel’s 70th anniversary, the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the French Academy of Sciences have convened joint scientific conferences – in Paris in June of this year, and just recently, in Jerusalem. Nobel Prize laureates attended and delivered papers at both conferences.

Technology, art and archaeology

In Jerusalem we met Professor Amos Notea who is chairing the third Art&Archaeology International Conference in Jerusalem from Dec 9-12. The conference will focus on breakthrough methods and technologies for measuring and analysis of our cultural and historical heritage.


European gas pipeline deal signed

I reported previously (see here) on the progress of the planned pipeline to take up to 20 billion cubic meters per year of Israeli natural gas to mainland Europe. Israel has now signed an agreement with Cyprus, Greece and Italy to lay the 1,242-mile pipeline – the longest gas pipeline in history.

UK minister seeks more trade with Israel

Britain’s minister for international trade, Liam Fox, met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a bid to replicate or improve on the trade relations currently enjoyed between the two countries as part of the EU-Israel Association Agreement.

Guarding servers in 8 countries

I reported previously (Sep 2016) on Israeli cybersecurity startup Guardicore when it raised $50 million to help R&D and commercial expansion. Guardicore now has customers in the USA, UK, France, Germany, Spain, Brazil, Ukraine and Switzerland and has won several major international awards.


Co-working in Jerusalem

WeWork, co-founded by Israel’s Adam Neumann, has opened a new co-working center in King George Street, Jerusalem. WeWork now has nine shared office spaces in Israel, including Tel Aviv, Haifa, Beersheva and now Jerusalem.

Twitter discovers Israel

Social media company Twitter has announced that it is planning to significantly grow its presence in Israel. Its first business-to-business event took place in Tel Aviv attended by hundreds of local entrepreneurs and executives.,7340,L-3750659,00.html

Another Israeli purchase for Medtronic

I reported previously (Jan 2016) on Israel’s Nutrino that uses artificial intelligence to make a personal food plan, based on their dietary needs, their medical profiles, health goals, preferences and lifestyles. Medical giant Medtronic has just acquired Nutrino for around $100 million.

Huge contracts with Boeing

I reported previously (see here) on US Aerospace giant Boeing’s involvement in Israel. In a new agreement with State-owned Israel Aerospace Industries, Boeing plans to partner with IAI in contracts worth billions of shekels, relating to sales of its new tanker aircraft and other defense products.

Going the extra mile

Israeli-founded insure-tech startup Hippo has been doing a bit more than normal insurance companies to help Californian wildfire victims. First, using maps and artificial intelligence, Hippo warned customers in the route of fires to evacuate. They then arranged accommodation and helped with claims.


Urban art in Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv City Council, real estate agencies and artists are taking the dilapidated buildings across Tel Aviv to flip them, if only briefly, into cultural centers. In one of them, Alfredo Libre Gutierez, also Libre, painted a mural to transform a soon-to-be-torn-down old clothing factory.

NIS 49,560 awards for 21 artists

Israel’s Culture and Sport Ministry has announced the 21 winners of the Arik Einstein Prize for Veteran Artists. Each of the winners in seven categories – music, dance, singing, theater, film, literature and visual arts – will be awarded a prize just under NIS 50,000 to avoid them paying higher tax.

Jerusalem Hills wine festival

The 20th annual Jerusalem Hills Regional Wine Festival opened on 29th Nov. 33 wineries celebrate their unique vintages and the region. The Jerusalem Hills are perfect for grapes, and an extensive boutique winery industry has blossomed. There are weekend tastings and music events until 22 Dec.

Dancing for World Kindness Day

In honor of World Kindness day, hundreds gathered in Jerusalem’s First Station for a flash mob.

Israeli artistic gymnast wins another World Cup gold

Israeli gymnast Artem Dolgopyat won the gold medal in the floor exercise at the Artistic Gymnastics World Cup (FIG) competition in Cottbus, Germany. He had previously won gold in the same exercise at September’s Paris World Challenge Cup.


Excavating Biblical Judean town

During an excavation in Khirbet Qeiyafa near Beit Shemesh, Hebrew University Professor Yosef Garfinkel uncovered the Biblical city Sha’arayim. Using carbon dating, he proved that the fortified city (in books of Joshua and Samuel) was part of King David’s Kingdom of Judah.

Czech President opens first stage of Embassy move

During his recent official visit to Israel, Czech President Milos Zeman inaugurated Czech House – a cultural center – as the first step in his 3-stage plan to move the Czech Republic embassy to Jerusalem.

Roman Abramovich’s beautiful new home

Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich is building a 1,500-square-meter mansion in Tel Aviv. The $27 million purchase picturesque Neve Tzedek neighborhood, will be developed from its original boutique hotel into a courtyard complex in the historical elegant Tel Aviv style.,7340,L-3750284,00.html

Fancy a donut – or 360,000?

To celebrate the Jewish festival of Hannukah, Israel’s Defense Ministry has purchased 360,000 donuts to give to IDF troops, including those at Air Force and Navy bases. It has also bought 16,000 packages of Chanukah candles, 30,700 tin menorahs and 200 large menorahs.

Haredi enlistment at all-time high

Over 3,000 haredi, or ultra-Orthodox, Israelis enlisted in the IDF in 2017 – the highest ever in the history of the State. It represents roughly a third of 18-year-old haredi Israelis eligible for military service.

Israel Rail workers find volunteer’s lost $2000

Sarah had been teaching English to Israeli children as part of a US volunteer program. During her train journey to catch her flight back to the US, Sarah lost her wallet containing $2000.  Israel Rail workers found the wallet and a friend of Sarah’s collected it later.

Almost all Israeli Jews light Chanukah lights

This really surprised me. According to data from the #IsraeliJudaism project of the Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI), 73% of Israeli Jews claim they light the Hanukiah (menorah) for the full eight days of Hanukkah. Another 25% say they light on some nights.

Haifa’s Reali School celebrates 105 years

This leading prestigious educational institution boasts graduates of the highest caliber who have shaped the State of Israel. Students from the Hadar branch chose the project of translating VeryGoodNewsIsrael in fulfillment of the school’s vision which is about encouraging caring and involvement in Israeli society.