Weizmann Institute scientists discover that damaged cells promote age-related disease; SodaStream to open factory in Gaza; Israel aims to be a Quantum superpower; and much more!
By Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Removing damaged cells slows aging
Scientists at Israel’s Weizmann Institute have discovered that senescent (damaged) cells promote inflammation, common in age-related diseases. Absence of the LMNA gene (that kills senescent cells) causes premature aging. Treatment to destroy these cells (e.g. boosting immunity), slows aging.
US approves focused ultrasound for Parkinson’s
I’ve reported (several times) on the success of Israel’s Insightec in treating patients suffering from Parkinson’s Disease (PD) and essential tremor. Insightec has just received FDA approval for the life-changing Exablate Neuro treatment to be used on US PD patients.
US approval for 3D heart imaging system
I reported previously (Oct 2017)on Israel’s CathWorks and its FFRangio real-time AI 3D imaging of the coronary tree to help surgeons perform heart catheterizations. The US FDA has just given approval for the unique visualization system, which already has European CE certification.
Keeping your sugar intake in check
I’ve reported previously (see here) on Israel’s Sweetch and its app to help pre-diabetics maintain a healthy lifestyle. This article describes how Sweetch is so personal, it can even detect the weather and suggest indoor activities on cold wintry days. See the Get.Up app on iOS or Android.
Lung function testing from home
Asthma and COPD sufferers will pleased to hear that Israel’s NE Field diagnostics has a simple pulmonary (lung function) test for use at home. Breathe normally into the A-Spire device and a smartphone app checks the results, saving vast numbers of unnecessary hospital visits.
An app to help communicate
When Ayelet Avraham saw a deaf person having problems buying a cell phone, she and another student at the Holon Institute of Technology developed DAS (Deaf Access Solution). DAS uses Google’s Speech Recognizer to translate speech into text and send it to the phone of the relevant nearby person.
Minimally invasive stitching combats obesity
A gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy are two radical procedures to reduce stomach volume and curb obesity. But now Israel’s Nitinotes is developing Endozip – a 30-minute gastrointestinal automated suturing system, inserted through the mouth with minimal anesthesia.
Raising CPR survival rates
In a UK survey of 8,000 heart-attack resuscitations, only 2.8% of patients were still alive 30 days later due to low blood flow to the arteries and brain. The HemaShock device from Israel’s Oneg Hakarmel (developer of HemaClear – see here) takes blood from the limbs to maintain essential organs.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Sodastream to open factory in Gaza
At Jerusalem’s Globes Business Conference, Daniel Birnbaum, CEO of Israel’s Sodastream announced plans to open a manufacturing facility in Gaza. “We want the people in Gaza to have jobs, real jobs, because where there is prosperity there can be peace,” Birnbaum said.
Free dental care up to age 18
The Israeli Cabinet approved a proposal by Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman to extend the dental care reform until the age of 18. To date, dental treatments have been given from age of 8 to age of 16. The decision comes into force immediately.
Supporting Bedouin women in the Negev
The Israeli Arab-Jewish non-profit organization AJEEC-NISPED works with the Arab-Bedouins of Hura in the Negev. One of its projects is the Al Sanabel catering business. 20 Bedouin women prepare 8,000 school lunches, transforming these women into proud family breadwinners.
A year of medical support for Palestinian Arabs
I reported previously (May 2017) on Project Rozana which raises funds to help Israeli hospitals treat sick Palestinian Arab children. Here is Rozana’s latest report on its work using Israeli excellence in healthcare, to benefit the Palestinian Arab community.
Arab Muslim candidate on Likud party list
Israel’s right-wing Likud party introduced Dima Tayeh as its first Muslim Arab-Israeli candidate in the 9th April Knesset elections. It provides a strong reminder that Israel is a diverse, inclusive, and democratic society. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sisNHs9m9sQ
Food security for developing countries
Israeli NGO Fair Planet brings the best quality seeds to Africa’s poorest farmers. It has helped 50,000 farmers in Ethiopia increase yields five-fold, doubling their income and given food security to 250,000 Africans. It is now expanding its project to Tanzania.
Training first responders in India and Sri Lanka
The American Jewish Committee (AJC) and United Hatzalah have teamed up to train first responders in mass casualty incidents and disaster management at numerous locations in India and Sri Lanka.
Partners for the future
This video was produced to accompany December’s Israel-Greece-Cyprus summit in Beersheba. It highlights a seminar for innovators, the undersea gas pipeline, a Tel Aviv forum for 200 business people, joint firefighting exercises and the signing of an agreement on cybersecurity.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Israel aims to be a Quantum superpower
I reported previously (see here) on Israeli research into Quantum computing. The Israeli government is now investing NIS 100 million in a research fund focused on quantum computing, which potentially can solve problems that current technology cannot.
Discovering co-existence in physics
Israeli and Danish scientists have managed to engineer magnetic forces between two non-magnetic materials. It has great technological potential for developing electronic devices that require magnetic and conductivity to co-exist. An entire new scientific area called Spintronics has been opened.
Europe funds Israeli micro-satellites
The European Research Council has granted 14 million Euros to Israel to build 10 shoebox-sized satellites for analyzing small clouds and their role in the climate. The mission is named CloudCT, inspired by medical CT (computed tomography) used to map the interior of a patient.
Smarter images from space
I reported previously (Feb 2017) that Ben Gurion University scientists were developing high resolution cameras for space-based imaging. They have now advanced to Synthetic Marginal Aperture with Revolving Telescopes (SMART) combining partial images from multiple nanosatellites.
Images from the Sun
I reported previously (25th Nov) about the image sensor of Israel’s TowerJazz onboard the NASA Parker Solar Probe spacecraft. NASA has now received the first images of the corona taken by the probe – the closest any spacecraft has orbited the Sun.
27 of the best Israeli products at CES
22 Israeli companies are in the Israeli pavilion at CES Las Vegas. But there are many more Israeli products on display. The Israel21c article describes 27 of them.
Use Eve to set up your new hardware
I reported previously (Jul 2017) on Israel’s TechSee which uses an Artificially Intelligent smartphone service called “Eve” and your smartphone camera to help you resolve technology problems. TechSee has just raised $16 million to expand business and move into sales. Great video.
Saving lives on the road
I reported previously (18th Nov) on Israel’s NoTraffic that allows cars with smart sensors to optimize flow through traffic lights. This video shows that the system has a much more important benefit – preventing accidents with other automobiles and pedestrians.
Car and driver work as a team
Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) can now handle 99% of the driving but when it comes to complex situations a human must make the decision. The AV platform from Israel’s Ottopia, uses a remote human teleoperator to guide the vehicle in these cases, but the car’s safety features are still in control.
Another Israeli anti-drone system
Israel’s Convexum (Latin for drone) has developed a product that takes over drones flying in urban areas lands them safely in a pre-determined area.
http://www.israelhayom.com/2018/12/23/israeli-anti-drone-technology-comes-to-forefront-as-gatwick-chaos-ends/ https://convexum.com/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxabjzXuehg
More on the flying car
I reported previously (25th Nov) on Israel’s New Future Transportation (NFT) and its prototype electric car with wings that aims to solve congestion, while being affordable at $50,000. It will take-off and land vertically, is fully electric with a driving range of 100 miles and flying range of 300 miles.
South Africa’s AECI subsidiary Nulandis has signed an agreement with Israel’s SupPlant to market SupPlant’s technology in South Africa and 14 other countries in Africa. SupPlant’s sensor-based system autonomously waters crops, optimizes water consumption and alerts farmers of the state of crops, soil, air etc.
Healthy shrimps to feed the world
Israel’s ViAqua develops a particle-based method for orally administering antiviral medication to combat deadly viruses in shrimp – a global market worth some $18 billion. ViAqua has just received investment from Singapore’s VisVires New Protein Master Fund.
Plants can hear
Tel Aviv University scientists have found that the evening primrose flower (oenothera drummondii) can hear the approach of pollinating bees and hawk-moths and produces extra and sweeter nectar in response. They also replicated the sounds synthetically and produced the same response.
The next generation of AR
I reported previously (Oct 2014) on Israel’s Fieldbit and its leading-edge augmented reality (AR) smart glasses app. Fieldbit 5.0 has just been launched, with its advanced AR allowing support engineers to guide end users through problem resolution without expensive field visits.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Fewer early exits and fewer failures
Israeli high-tech “exits” declined by 33% in 2018 amid a maturing of the local tech ecosystem, according to PwC’s Israel 2018 Exits report. Also, less Israeli start-ups close each year; the IVC Research Center reported a steady decline from 710 failures in 2014 to 352 failures in 2017.
Tel Aviv recycles London skyscraper
Due to recession, construction on London’s 288-meter Pinnacle Tower was halted in 2008. Now the same design is to be used for the 350-meter high Spiral Tower at the Azrieli Center in Tel Aviv. Scheduled to be completed by 2025, it will be Israel’s second-tallest building.
Funds for 15 joint US-Israel projects
The Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) foundation announced it is investing $6 million into seven joint clean-energy projects between Israeli and American companies and another $7.3 million into eight joint innovation projects.
Uni launches student-run VC fund
Ben-Gurion University has launched Cactus Capital, a student-run VC (venture capital) fund. It will serve as an academic-educational tool to encourage innovative ideas in the high-tech, biotech and social fields. The $1 million fund will invest in dozens of groups of students each year.
Smart transportation for Michigan
Israel’s Innovation Authority and Michigan’s PlanetM are to co-finance testing future autonomous technologies in Michigan. Israeli companies will receive support for conducting field tests and piloting of the technologies developed by pilot sites in Michigan.
Israeli-inspired Via returns to its roots
Via’s Israeli founders came up with their start-up idea in an Israeli mini bus taxi van. They now operate their carpooling service in 11 countries and are confident they can succeed on Israel’s roads. Passengers request a ride and Via’s algorithms calculate the best route for each van.
Amazon buys Israeli disaster recovery start-up
Amazon Web Services (AWS) has acquired Israeli cloud computing start-up CloudEndure (see here)for around $200-$250 million. Amazon stated, “this acquisition expands our ability to deliver innovative and flexible migration, backup, and disaster recovery solutions.”
Verint buys Israeli emergency response start-up
I reported previously (see here) on Israel’s NowForce and its life-saving mobile apps for emergency response. NowForce has just been acquired by US business intelligence and cybersecurity company Verint Systems.
EU grant for Israeli cloud security
The European Commission has awarded a 2.2 million Euro grant to Israel’s Minereye “to provide EU companies with innovative and effective solutions to ensure secure and compliant cloud adoption which is currently lacking in the market today”.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
One of the most memorable travel destinations
Conde Nast Traveler included Israel as one of their nine most memorable travel destinations. Beth Lusko – head of revenue for Condé Nast Traveler – reminisced about watching her “children marvel at all the wonders Israel has to offer, old and new, magical and humbling.”
The best places to visit
It is very rare to see anything nice about Israel in the New York Times or on CNN. But the NYT has just named Eilat as its sixth top place to visit in 2019. And CNN selected Jaffa as one of 19 “must-visit” places in 2019. https://www.i24news.tv/en/news/israel/israel/192894-190110-eilat-named-nyt-s-sixth-top-place-to-visit-in-2019 http://nocamels.com/2019/01/cnn-travel-jaffa-19-places-2019/
Hidden gems of Haifa
The best-kept secrets in this beautiful northern Mediterranean beach town are intriguing, full of cultural and are great fun. They include the Israel Railway Museum, the Vortman Winery, Pnina BaCarmel Spa and Tel Shikmona.
Famous Soprano Marries in Israeli-designed Dress
Soprano Laura Wright married Harry Rowland wearing a breath-taking ivory lace dress by Israeli designer Alon Livne. Livne’s designs are favored by Lady Gaga, Naomi Campbell, Kim Kardashian and Beyonce. Hello! magazine exclusively covered the event.
A stillness above me
Koolulam and Eshkol Regional Council invited 3,500 people to sing the tune of love in the Gaza borders and the south of Israel. Performing ״Me’alay Dmama” (“Stillness above me”) by Ahuva Ozeri and Shai Tsabari in three-part vocal harmony, their music and flashlights lit up the night sky.
Supplying tickets for Manchester City
Israeli-based ticket supplier SportsEvents365 has signed an agreement with (Arab-owned) English Premier League soccer champions Manchester City to supply match tickets for the next 2.5 seasons. SportsEvents365 operates in 50 countries.
THE JEWISH STATE
A great year for the JNF
In 2018 the Jewish National Fund acquired homes for 5,000 Israelis; provided services for 50,000 Israelis with disabilities; gave agricultural training to 1,200 3rd world students; provided medical treatment to 27,000+ Israelis; gave Israel education to 14,000 elementary students in US schools.
Israel’s December rainfall was double the average for the month and the wettest in the past 30 years. During the past week, the level of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) rose 15cm in just 48 hours. The rain was also responsible for exposing two 1700-year-old Roman statues in the ground at Beit She’an.
Tu B’Shvat this year falls on the 20/21st January, but Israel is celebrating all month. Ideas include picking fruit, winter walks in National Parks, planting trees, the Anemone Festival Darom Adom, and visits to wineries.
Chabad care for IDF in Hebron
The Chabad organization is well known for caring for Jews globally, but it also works in Israel. Rabbi Cohen and the students of Hebron Chabad visit every local IDF outpost, checkpoint and base before Shabbat and Jewish holidays to support the soldiers emotionally, spiritually and materially.
Unique mineral found on Mount Carmel
The International Mineralogical Association (IMA) has recognized and approved a new mineral found in one of stones of Israeli gem miner Shefa Yamim. Named Carmeltazite, the mineral was found on Mount Carmel in a Carmel Sapphire.
From Sudan to Israel to Judaism
Michael Derek Tanju was saved by IDF soldiers when (age 14) he was shot by Egyptian soldiers while crossing into Israel in 2008. A refugee from Sudan, he fell in love with his host families and those who supported his conversion to Judaism and becoming a citizen of the Startup Nation.
Cancer victim gets soul time at the Kotel
When a 10-year-old terminal cancer sufferer requested to be taken to the Kotel (Western Wall), it was thought impossible. The car had to take him right up to the wall; his immune system meant no crowds; organizing police and medics. But NGO Ezer Mizion made it happen.
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