Save the Children fund buys Israel’s EarlySense to monitor newborns in Kenya; Karawan Halabi makes history as the first Druze-Israeli to win a track-and-field national championship; Israel’s first-ever Bridal Fashion Week has just taken place at Ronit Farm; and much more!
By Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Monitoring newborns in Kenya
The Save the Children Fund (like Oxfam and UNICEF) is no friend to Israel. However, it didn’t stop the NGO from buying monitoring systems from Israel’s EarlySense to continuously track key vital signs of newborns in hospitals in Nairobi, Kenya. Another BDS fail.
Pluristem’s cells prevented amputation
A patient, with Buerger’s disease was at pre-amputation stage due to non-healing foot ulcers. Regulatory approval was given for compassionate treatment using Pluristem’s PLX-PAD cells. A year after treatment, the wound is fully closed, and the patient has resumed normal activities.
Slowing the progression of chronic kidney disease
I reported briefly previously (9th Dec) that Israel’s KidneyCure was developing cell therapy for treating chronic kidney disease (CKD). Here are some more details of this innovative technology that turns damaged cells into healthy cells. https://www.kidneycure.com/
Laser treatment of vascular disease
I reported previously (see here) on Israel’s Eximo and its lasers for treating peripheral artery disease (PAD). The Center for Cardiovascular Excellence in Orlando, Florida is the first to use Eximo’s B-Laser Atherectomy System commercially to successfully treat a patient.
Israelis to get better scan diagnoses
Tel Aviv’s Ichilov (Sourasky) Hospital and Israel’s largest health companies Clalit and Maccabi will use the algorithms of Israel’s Zebra Medical Vision to analyze scanned images from X-rays, CT scans and MRIs.
Safer epidurals in China
I reported previously (Aug 2013) on Israel’s Omeq Medical and its smart sensor-based epidural injection system. Omeq has partnered with Shanghai-based Pharos Medical, which will establish a production line and commercialize Omeq’s system in China.
Your personal antibiotic cocktail
Researchers from Israel’s Technion Institute have devised a system for measuring the effectiveness of a combination of antibiotics in fighting infection.
Philadelphia’s Thomas Jefferson University has partnered with the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) to form the Jefferson-Israel Center. The US university will provide a $1 million fund for Israeli companies to advance healthcare technology solutions. They can also access Jefferson’s medical facilities.
Microsoft’s Israeli virtual healthcare system
Microsoft’s Israeli R&D team, supported by several US medical partners, have launched the Microsoft Healthcare Bot. This innovative AI-powered virtual health assistant service aims to empower healthcare organizations to build and deploy virtual health assistants.
Eliminating transmission of genetic diseases
The Pre-Implantation Genetic Unit of Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center uses the latest technology to ensure IVF patients have healthy babies. All procedures are in accordance with Jewish law and religious authorities are consulted when necessary.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Druze woman is Israeli running champion
Karawan Halabi, has made history as the first person from Israel’s Arabic-speaking Druze minority community to win a track-and-field national championship. The Technion biomedical student won the women’s 10.45km annual Israel Open Field Racing Championship.
Grants for female-founded startups
Israel’s Innovation Authority (IIA) has launched a grant program for any startup where at least 33% of its owners and tech managers are women. It will cover up to 75% of a startup’s R&D costs for its first year and up to 70% for the second year.
More exit money for charities
600 Israeli startups (55 last year) have donated equity stock or stock options to Israeli non-profit Tmura (see here). When any are taken-over or go public, Tmura receives the proceeds of the stock sales and donates it to charity. In 2018, Tmura gave NIS 1.6 million to good causes.
Door to door
The IDF Door to Door Project helps Palestinian Arab businesspeople transfer their merchandise from Judea and Samaria to other areas in Israel directly and quickly and at a low cost. The project has recently improved its efficiency by using Israeli trucks to collect goods directly from Palestinian Arab factories.
A virtual embassy in Gulf states
Israel’s Foreign Ministry has re-launched its virtual embassy for Arab social media users in the Gulf states. The aim of the ‘Israel in the Gulf’ twitter account is to promote dialogue between the people of Israel and the peoples of the Gulf states.
Bringing energy to Africa
I reported previously (16th Dec) on the Eilat-Eilot energy conference and its focus on Africa. Here are 3 videos from the event by I24 News, highlighting the Israeli companies that are bringing light to rural Africa.
Drinking water for Brazil
Israel’s WaterGen is donating ten GEN-350 atmospheric water generators to Brazil. They will be installed in schools and hospitals that lack safe drinking water. Brazil’s Minister of Science Marcos Cesar Pontes visited WaterGen’s HQ during Tel Aviv’s recent Cybertech conference.
Israel can save the world’s coral reefs
Bar-Ilan University researcher Maoz Fine has published that Eilat’s coral reef is genetically resistant to rising sea temperatures. Hardy corals settled in Eilat 18,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age. Those hardy genes are being cross-bred to save bleached reefs in Hawaii and Australia.
No boycotting of Israel
Several anti-Zionists been spotted using Israeli products recently. They include Dutch activists riding Israeli mobility bikes and eating in an Israeli falafel shop. Also, US Congress member Rashida Tlaib and other BDS supporters have developed websites using the Israeli-based Wix website builder platform.
Sierra Leone’s UN friend
Sierra Leone’s former Ambassador to the United Nations, Adikalie Foday Sumah, visited Israel in 2018 with 40 other UN Ambassadors (see here). He has since founded the Sierra Leone-Israel Friendship Society and asked Sierra Leone President Julius Maada Bio to promote joint projects with Israel.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
I reported 3 years ago (see here) on Israel’s RideOn and its Augmented Reality goggles. The latest version – the Mohawk – is a full-face helmet. It includes GPS, 4K video, SOS button and ten-megapixel camera and much more. It measures pulse, velocity, distance travelled, altitude, temperature and wind speed,
Dial 119 for hacker alert
Israel has now got its own hotline for computer users to call when they think that they have been the victim of a cyber-attack. The 24/7 free service is the initiative of the national Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) based in Beersheba. Dial 119 (911 backwards) and get immediate help.
Protecting medical systems
I reported previously about two Israeli cybersecurity startups (Votiro and Medigate) specializing in the healthcare arena. Israel’s CyberMDX is another – it has begun an 18-month project to implement its protection on all the systems of Michigan Medicine, part of the University of Michigan.
An innovation lab to protect the environment
Israel is to establish an innovation laboratory specializing in environmental protection and sustainability. The government will provide millions of shekels to participating startups. Priority will be given to those with solutions for highly-polluting industries near to population centers.
Making Jaffa port eco-friendly
I reported previously (see here) on the marine biodiversity benefits of Israel’s ECOncrete. Atarim, Tel Aviv’s coastline developer, has placed ECOncrete’s units at Jaffa port to encourage fauna and flora growth. ECOncrete products are also at Brooklyn Bridge, Rotterdam, Herzliya and Haifa.
Fast wireless connections for critical systems
Until recently, mission critical systems avoided wireless and Internet connections because they were too slow. Then Israel’s Coretigo came along. Its IO-Link based technology just attracted $10 million of funds, including from tech giant Qualcomm and Sierra Ventures.
Israeli stem cells could save astronauts’ lives
In the joint project “Therapeutic Stromal Cells for Health in Space”, Israel’s Pluristem Therapeutics and NASA’s Ames Research Center will evaluate the potential of Pluristem’s PLX cell therapies to prevent and treat medical conditions caused during space missions.
Israeli spacecraft is in orbit!
On Thu 21st Feb at 20:45 EST, I watched the live launch of the rocket carrying Beresheet – Israel SpaceIL’s (and the world’s first) privately-funded moon lander. See video launch at 16:30; Stage 1 separation at T+3mins; booster return at T+9 and Beresheet deployment at T+33 and keep watching.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Growth, inflation, jobs, exports – all good news
The Bank of Israel has just released its latest “Overview of economic developments and monetary policy in Israel”. It predicts continued growth at around 3%, inflation around 1%, stable, full employment and expanding exports of services.
Amdocs is big
Israel’s Amdocs has just announced its quarterly results to the 5th Feb 2019. During the previous 3 months it earned $1.01 billion in revenue – up 3.5% on the same period in 2018.
Agenda for OurCrowd summit
Israeli-founded global investment platform OurCrowd has released the agenda of its 7th Mar 2019 Jerusalem Global Investor Summit, entitled “Startups: Making a Global Impact”.
New German factory for Israeli smart glass
I reported previously (see here)on Israel’s Gauzy and its Liquid Crystal Glass (LCG). Light-control film technology allows users to control whether glass or plastic products are clear or opaque. Gauzy has one factory in Tel Aviv and will soon open a second in Stuttgart, Germany.
Fuel cells go into mass-production
Due to strong global demand, Israel’s GenCell Energy is to mass-produce its fuel cell generators. GenCell’s target is to increase production to 5,000 units per year from the current 100. US electronics manufacturer Flex will partner GenCell, integrating cells into generators at their Israeli factories.
Streaming movies around the world
I reported previously (Feb 2016) on Israel’s Vonetize and its movie streaming service. Vonetize has now over 11 million users in 59 countries. Its latest deal is with Brazilian TV network Rádio e Televisão Record S.A. https://www.prnewswire.com/il/news-releases/vonetize-inks-deal-with-recordtv-to-distribute-its-smartvod-service-in-brazil-300785469.html http://site.vonetize.com/
Phenomenal growth at two Israeli startups
The feature connecting two quite different Israeli startups is their growth rate – a huge 350%. I reported on Verbit’s subtitling in May (see here) and (briefly) Cato Networks more recently (see here). https://www.catonetworks.com/news/cato-networks-secures-55-million-investment-as-bookings-accelerate-year-over-year/ https://verbit.ai/about-us/
Security for Mexico’s largest bank
I reported previously (2nd Dec) on Israel’s Guardicore. The cybersecurity startup has just won a contract to protect the data center of Banco del Bajio (BanBajio), one of Mexico’s largest commercial banks. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/banco-del-bajio-sa-selects-guardicore-centra-security-platform-to-protect-data-center-300784984.html
Whole food algae product launched
I’ve reported previously (see here) on Israeli-based startup Algatech and the trials of its AstaPure product. Algatech has just launched AstaPure Arava, suitable to be integrated into multiple food products. AstaPure’s active ingredient astaxanthin can benefit gastro, visual and muscle systems.
Israel exports half a billion flowers
If you received flowers on Valentine’s day, there’s a good chance that they originated in Israel. Over 500 million stems are exported every year. 65% go to the Netherlands, famous for its tulips. https://www.israel21c.org/a-valentines-day-look-at-israels-flower-industry/
Merck’s latest Israeli venture
I’ve reported previously (see here) on Germany’s Merck and its many Israeli links. Merck’s VC arm M Ventures has just launched another startup incubator PMatX. It will support Israeli companies specializing in advanced electronic products including semiconductors and sensor technologies.
Israeli wine from Samaria to China
The Psagot Winery in Samaria has begun exporting and marketing Israeli wine to the city of Guangzhou in southern China, with a population of over 13 million people. Psagot Winery produces more than 350,000 bottles annually of which 70% is exported.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
Bridal Fashion Week
Israel’s first-ever Bridal Fashion Week has just taken place at Ronit Farm. Designers included Dany Mizrachi and Inbal Dror plus up-and-coming youngsters who gave inspiration to many of those celebrating one of the 40,000 weddings that take place in Israel every year.
For Facebook users who are interested in Israeli culture (music, art, films etc.), here is the link to CultureBuzzIsrael. https://m.facebook.com/CultureBuzzIsrael/
Walking in the Galilee
Chana and Shmuel from Villa Rimona are pleased to report that this year’s winter rains have turned the Galilee a glorious green. And the rainfall means that waterfalls in the Galilee are currently some of Israel’s most attractive natural sites to visit.
A Parliament of owls
The Jerusalem Bird Observatory (JBO) comprises 1.5-acres of green land between the Knesset (Israeli’s Parliament) and the Supreme Court building. Entrance is free, with March to May being peak months. Late night visitors may even spot porcupines and owls – rare sights in the middle of the city.
The Orchestra in Israel
For the third time in a decade, The Orchestra returned to Israel to perform hits from the zenith days of ‘Electric Light Orchestra’ (ELO). They performed two concerts at Tel Aviv’s Heichal HaTarbut. (Note, when “Telephone Line” was a hit, telephones had cords, not just chords!)
Gipsy Kings to perform in Israel
Gipsy Kings, the celebrated musicians from the south of France famous for “Bamboleo” are coming to Israel in March. They are performing in Haifa (17th) and Beer Sheva (20th) plus two concerts in Tel Aviv (18th and 19th).
Twelve Israelis walk into 2025
Israel’s new reality show 2025 premiered on Keshet Channel 12 TV. Twelve contestants live with six robot residents in a futuristic mini city, built on the outskirts of Yavne. The most successful contestant will win an apartment worth NIS 1.4 million.
Five Jerusalem sports centers to become all-weather
Jerusalem municipality is building balloon roofs for five sports fields to provide all-year-round facilities. These include the Teddy Stadium, the Hall Pais Arena, and the Malcha, Liberty Park and Neve Yaakov basketball courts. More are expected.
THE JEWISH STATE
Bar Kochba “freedom” coin discovered
Winter rains in Israel’s Lachish region literally “unearthed” a rare 133 or 134 CE Jewish coin from the time of the Bar Kochba revolt. On one side is Shimon – Bar Kochba’s first name – in ancient Hebrew. On the flip side the inscription means “the second year to the freedom of Israel”.
The earliest images of Jerusalem
In 1844, French architectural historian Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey toured the Middle East and took 1000 daguerreotypes (a type of photograph) including 12 of the earliest surviving images of Jerusalem. The photographs are being exhibited in New York and Philadelphia.
The first El Al flight to Entebbe
An El Al Israel Airline flight has brought Israeli tourists to Uganda’s Entebbe airport for the first time since the IDF’s historic rescue of Israeli hostages on 4th July 1976. Some 250 Israeli nationals flew to the African country for a three-day visit.
What’s in a name?
Many of the Arab names of places over the Green Line are derived from biblical Hebrew names. E.g. Bethlehem (Beit Lechem), Hebron, Jenin (Ein Ganim), Jaba (Geva), Mukhmas (Michmash) and El Jib (Giv’on). Also, Gaza (Azza) Lebanon (Levanon) and Jordan (Yarden).
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