Hebrew University of Jerusalem makes breakthrough in aggressive brain cancer treatment; Israel’s Composite State of the economy index increases by another 0.3% in November; Mizrachi Canada donates 70 Torah scrolls for distribution to IDF bases; and much more!
By Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
New treatment for Glioblastoma
I reported previously ((11th Nov) the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s breakthrough in glioblastoma (aggressive brain cancer) treatment. Now Sheba Medical Center researchers have developed SIXAC, a new six-amino-acid-based compound, that restricts the progression of glioblastoma.
Blood test for lung cancer
I reported previously (see here) on two Israeli startups (Nucleix and Medial EarlySign) developing blood tests for diagnosing early stage lung cancer. Here is another – Savicell, achieving a 91% success rate. Early detection gives the patient a 50-80% recovery chance. At late stage it is only 4%.
Device to spot melanoma
Israeli startup Scade Medical has patented a prototype scanner, to diagnose early stage melanoma. BlueSky is based on DOSI (differential optical spectro-polarimetric imaging) technology invented by Ofir Aharon, whose mother contracted melanoma. It has already saved seven lives.
US approves cervical cancer diagnostic device
I reported previously (25th Sep) that Israel’s Biop had raised $2.2 million to fund its cervical cancer diagnosis device. Biop has just received US FDA approval for the device, which maps the cervix and identifies cancerous and precancerous cells in epithelial tissues.
Home diagnosis kit
Israeli startup Diagnoz.me has a smartphone system that can detect infections from home and send results to your doctor. Founder and CTO Tamir Epstein described the system on ILTV. Diagnoz.me just won the dHealth 2018 Summit and its NIS 3 million prize money.
The Origin/als aim to end ALS
A team of students at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University competed in the 2018 International Genetically Engineered Competition (iGEM) at MIT in Boston. The group presented findings on a new therapeutic approach for Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), known also as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Novatis backs Israeli anti-cancer biotech
I reported previously (see here) on Israeli biotech Ayala and its personalized cancer treatment. It is already partnering with Bristol-Myers Squibb. Now multinational Novatis has made a $|10 million investment in Ayala, focusing on the aggressive blood cancer multiple myeloma.
Lonza opens center for Israeli cooperation
Swiss biotech multinational Lonza has opened an innovation center in Haifa. Its aim is to partner “with Israeli talent in academia, medical institutions and early-stage innovative companies”. Lomza sees Israel’s technologies providing new healthcare solutions.
Amgen partners Israeli biomed
I reported previously (see here) on Israel’s Entera Bio and its treatment for hypoparathyroidism. Entera Bio has just signed a research and licensing agreement with US multinational Amgen to develop a new oral molecule-based treatment that currently is given via IV or injection.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
The first Ethiopian-Israeli pilot
Lt. “Yod” has become the first Israeli citizen of Ethiopian heritage to complete the military’s prestigious 3-year pilot’s course. Lt. “Yod” (for security reasons, all pilots are referred to by an initial letter) will serve initially as a jet navigator.
Forbes top 50 tech women includes 5 Israelis
Five Israeli women were named among Forbes’ lists of “Top 50 Women In Tech” including three to the inaugural global list and two to the European round-up. They are Adv. Limor Shmerling Magazanik, Dr. Michal Tsur, Dr. Tal Rabin, Galia Benartzi and (see here) Danit Peleg.
Hi-tech conference for Arab-Israelis
The US Embassy in Israel and Israel’s Ministry for Social Equality held in Nazareth, the first high-tech conference that introduced Arab entrepreneurs to US and Israeli investors. In his speech US Ambassador David Friedman praised Israel as a “place where we are all enriched by our diversity”
More Arab-Israelis in hi-tech
New data from Israel’s Innovation Authority show that Israeli-Arabs fill about 3% of high-tech R&D positions – up from under 1% in 2015. There are now 50% more Arab-Israelis studying hi-tech subjects at Israeli universities and colleges than five years ago.
Israel’s growing Christian population
Israel is the only Middle East country where its Christian population is growing – by 2.2% in 2017. Today they number around 175,000. In Gaza less than 1,300 remain of the 30,000 before Hamas took over. Israel issued 700 of them (over 50%) with Christmas permits to visit Israeli holy sites. Meanwhile, Israel welcomed an estimated 150,000 Christians from overseas for the festive season.
Israel’s top search and rescue expert
Yehiel Magnus is head of Israeli-based Magnus International Search and Rescue. Magnus and his 15-person team have conducted thousands of humanitarian rescue operations over the last 25 years. They also retrieved kidnapping victims.
World’s 3rd most educated nation
According to a 2017 report from the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), Israel ranks number three on the shortlist for the most educated countries worldwide. About 50.9% of 25-64-year-old Israelis hold a 2 to 4-year higher degree. Video from 3:30
The 5th Israel-Greece-Cyprus Summit began on 20th Dec in Beersheba. The leaders of each country are to sign agreements on cyber defense, civilian space-related issues and meteorological cooperation. https://mfa.gov.il/MFA/PressRoom/2018/Pages/5th-Israel-Greece-Cyprus-Summit-began-this-morning-20-Dec-2018.aspx http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israel-greece-cyprus-summit-to-be-held-in-beer-sheva/2018/12/19/
NATO conducts maritime medical exercise with Israel
NATO’s flagship for its Sea Guardian Operation has conducted a medical response exercise with Israeli Navy corvette INS Eilat. The exercise, “MEDEX Crystal Sea” is designed to develop medical support around the Mediterranean Sea for Operation Sea Guardian.
Israelis help Indonesia after deadly tsunami
Volunteers from Israeli NGO IsraAID have flown to Indonesia (a Muslim-majority country having no diplomatic relations with Israel) to provide safe water and psychological support in wake of the tsunami disaster. Some IsraAID workers were still there since the last earthquake!
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Biodegradable sustainable plastics
Tel Aviv University scientists have invented a process to make bioplastic polymers from bacteria that feed on seaweed. No need for oil, fresh water or land and there are no toxic waste products. The plastic is bio-degradable and can be recycled into organic waste. (see publication here)
Israeli imaging startup wins Chinese innovation award
Israeli startup Newsight Imaging won second place (and $72,000) at the 2018 Optics Valley of China International Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition. Newsight develops chips containing 3D imaging sensors for robotics, drones and the automotive industry.
Now everyone wants Israeli anti-drone technology
Israel’s Skylock is another Israeli tech company that disables intruder drones by “jamming” them or disrupting their frequencies. Skylock’s passive, selective and active solutions are operational in several countries. Since the |Gatwick airport incident, enquiries have soared.
Irish Republic enlists Israelis to reduce pollution
The 2 million cows in Eire (Republic of Ireland) have polluted the land and water reservoirs. So, the Irish Government-backed Ireland Ag-tech Fund has funded Israel’s CropX to use its soil measurement system to identify where to place Eire’s cows to do least damage.
CES Las Vegas
22 Israeli companies will be officially exhibiting at CES 2019 (8-11 Jan) – the big technology expo in Las Vegas. Many more will be exhibiting in a personal capacity.
The first cell-grown minute steak
Israel’s Aleph Farms Ltd. has produced the first cell-grown minute steak. It is said to have the full experience of meat with the appearance, shape, and texture of beef cuts. Aleph Farms’ slaughter-free steak requires no pasture, water, feed, antibiotics or other resources to raise cattle for meat.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Israeli economy improves again
Israel’s Composite State of the economy index increased by another 0.3% in November. There were significant increases in imports of inputs, also in industrial production, in retail trade and in October’s services revenue.
IKEA to open 5th Israeli store
Swedish retail giant IKEA currently has mega stores at Netanya, Rishon Lezion, Kiriyat Ata (near Haifa) and Beersheva (see here). It now plans to open a fifth – in the small community of Eshtaol, near Beit Shemesh, west of Jerusalem. The new branch is set to open in early 2020.
Virgin Atlantic to start UK-Israel service
UK aviation giant Virgin Atlantic plans to launch a route to Tel Aviv next September. It also won the contract to transport British Eurovision fans on a special flight to Israel in May 2019. Earlier in Dec, Israeli-born Shai Weiss was named as Virgin Atlantic’s new CEO.
KPMG choses Israeli fintech partner
KPMG Fintech has chosen Israel’s Binah.ai as a technology partner, supplying its out-of-the-box, data science-based use cases to predict trends, FX rates, profits, risks etc. KPMG Global Fintech comprises professionals in more than 45 hubs around the world. (KPMG at Israeli conference.)
Intel to spend $5 billion on Israeli expansion
Intel Corporation will receive a $185 million grant from the Israeli government in exchange for a massive expansion of its production operations. Overall, Intel will spend an estimated $5 billion on the project, including an upgrade for its Kiryat Gat plant in southern Israel.
Gong.io wins AI and Big Data competition
I reported previously (Jul 2017)on Israel’s Gong.io which uses AI to analyze sales conversations and help train sales and customer service staff. Gong.io has just won Calcalist’s and Microsoft’s second annual artificial intelligence and big data startup competition.
Putting Israelis to work
Israel’s Tigbur is a recruitment agency that specializes in both the hi-tech and the homecare sectors. It also supplies security guards and cleaners. See Tigbur’s CEO Orit Benbenisti on ILTV.
Securing digital securities with blockchain
The blockchain platform of Israel’s Securitize allows investors and issuers to manage their digital securities from one convenient dashboard. It ensures the digital securities can be traded compliantly across all marketplaces and exchanges. See Securitize’s CEO Carlos Domingo on ILTV.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
Hebrew Language Day
27th Dec was Israel’s Hebrew Language Day – a celebration of the revival of Hebrew as the only language to return as the spoken first language of an entire nation. This year’s theme was “Hebrew – an innovative language” stressing that modern Hebrew is qualified for research and scientific study.
Jerusalem’s Israel Museum has opened an exhibit showcasing original manuscripts and writings of Moshe ben Maimon (Maimonides / the Rambam) – one of Judaism’s most revered rabbis. Until 27th Apr, visitors to “Maimonides: A Legacy in Script” can see many of his original writings and signature.
Bon Jovi will return to Israel
The famed Bon Jovi band has scheduled a Tel Aviv performance on July 25 at Hayarkon Park. Israel is their final stop on their “This House is Not for Sale Tour” and will be their second appearance in Israel. Their October 2015 performance attracted some 50,000 fans.
Tel Aviv Jazz festival
The Tel Aviv Jazz Festival (TLV JazzFest) is one of the most important jazz events in Israel. For 28 years, the Festival has garnered a prestigious reputation in Israel and abroad, as a magnet for stellar jazz performers.
Israeli Wins Prestigious Jazz Award
Israel’s Tom Oren was granted with a prestigious prize for young jazz artists in Washington DC. The 24-year-old received the first prize award during the International Piano Competition from the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, which included $25,000 and a record deal.
Brazilian soccer superstars to play in Israel
Brazil’s Soccer legends Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Rivaldo, Roberto Carlos and others are scheduled to play a “peace match” on 26 March in either Haifa or Jerusalem. The friendly will be against Israeli legends including Eyal Berkovich, Haim Revivo and Walid Badir.
THE JEWISH STATE
IDF receives 70 new Torah scrolls
I reported previously (Feb 2014) about the hundreds of Torah scrolls that have been presented to IDF bases. Now, Mizrachi Canada has donated 70 Torah scrolls to the Israeli Defense Ministry for distribution to IDF bases all over Israel.
Zionist innovation initiative
Nefesh B’Nefesh (NbN), which promotes and assists immigration to Israel has launched the 2019 Initiative for Zionist Innovation. It includes funding projects of Olim (new immigrants) that make positive changes in their communities and immediate surroundings.
2000-year-old ring lost in the bath
A 2000-year-old ring with a solitaire gem stone was uncovered recently in archaeological excavations in the City of David National Park in Jerusalem. It was found in a mikvah (ritual bath) on the Pilgrimage Road that dates to the time of the second Temple period.
Where Judah the Prince may have bathed
Excavations at the Zippori National Park have unearthed a public bath which may have been used by famed Jewish leader and scholar Rabbi Judah Hanasi (Judah the Prince). Tractate Megillah states the rabbi, who redacted the Mishna early in the 3rd century CE, bathed on a fast day.
From Nazi to Jew
18 months ago, Yonatan was called Lutz, had been indoctrinated by extremists and was a member of a karate group with a neo-Nazi coach. Then he had a life-changing dream. After studying Kabbalah, he converted to Judaism. He now puts on Tefillin every day and plans to make Aliya in two months’ time.
330 Ukrainian Jews arrive at end of 2018
Thanks to the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ), 330 Olim (new immigrants) have landed in Israel from the Ukraine. The IFCJ has brought about 4,800 Olim to Israel this year alone (750,000 in 20 years). The immigrants include Jews from 29 different nations.
CLICK HERE FOR LAST WEEK’S GOOD NEWS FROM ISRAEL ARCHIVE.