Good News Israel Archive from the week of January 8, 2017: Israeli treatments are saving lives – and the BBC reluctantly admits it; Israeli Christian leader praises religious freedom in the Jewish State; Another Chilean earthquake and Israeli alert system saves more lives, and much more.
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
BBC finally admits prostate cancer treatment is Israeli
BBC Radio 4’s Today Program omitted the fact (as newsletter readers know) that the TOOKAD prostate cancer treatment being praised globally, was developed at Israel’s Weizmann Institute. After protests, BBC News interviewed co-developer Professor Avigdor Scherz.
Treatment for tremors is also Israeli
Yet another example. The BBC radio broadcast itself didn’t mention that the Exablate Neuro ultrasound machine for treating tremor is produced by Israel’s Insightec. They then buried that fact deep in their report on their website. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/
Food supplement can treat FD disorder
Tel Aviv University researchers have discovered that a popular food supplement called phosphatidylserine can reverse the effects of the debilitating neurodegenerative disorder Familial Dysautonomia (FD). It improves the supply route to neurons by reducing levels of enzyme HDAC6.
Life-saving treatments from Kamada
Amir London, CEO of Israeli biotech Kamada, was interviewed on ILTV Daily about Kamada’s protein purification treatments for lung disease and rabies. Kamada’s Glassia is also being tested for treating Type 1 diabetes, GVHD and the rejection of bone marrow and lung transplants.
First Kidney Dialysis for Sierra Leone
In 2012, MASHAV – Israel Foreign Ministry’s agency for international development cooperation donated the first-ever dialysis unit to Sierra Leone. Due to the Ebola outbreak, the African country’s first dialysis treatment took place on Dec 15 this year, and a life was saved.
Dual action treatment for aggressive breast cancer
Scientists at Israel’s Weizmann Institute have made a breakthrough in treating triple negative breast cancer. This cancer lacks three receptors that serve as targets for anti-cancer drugs. However, inhibiting molecules EGFR and PYK2 significantly reduces the size of tumors.
Blood warmer prevents hypothermia
Two thirds of sufferers of blood loss trauma experience hypothermia. Blood and fluids used in transfusions must be warmed from storage temperatures (4 degrees C) to body heat (37 degrees C). Israeli startup QinFlow’s Warrior portable system does just that – faster than any alternative system. It recently received US FDA approval. https://www.youtube.com/watch?
Needle-free scar remover
Israel’s PerfAction Technologies has developed EnerJet (Airgent in the US) – a non-thermal, no-needle, high-pressure jet stream to introduce any kind of healing agent or skin-enhancement material. It removes acne scars, surgical scars etc. Available in 22 countries including Indonesia and Malaysia.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Saving lives together
The normally anti-Israel UK Independent has run a feature on Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek hospital, highlighting that it appoints whoever is best qualified for the job, regardless of ethnicity, gender or religion. Also, critically injured perpetrators of attacks are treated before less-injured victims.
Eco-impact tour of Israel
Vibe Israel brought 5 mega-bloggers with 10.8 million followers to Israel to learn about Israel’s eco innovations first hand. They saw water conservation, desalination, green transportation, urban farming and solutions for smart cities. They even saw how Israel supports victims of human trafficking.
The world’s most inclusive army
Omer Lahat’s cerebral palsy did not hold him back from graduating high school with honors. His dream was to serve in the IDF through the “Special in Uniform” program. Lahat then became the program’s first-ever wheelchair-bound participant.
Greek patriarch praises Israel’s freedom of worship
At the annual Christmas reception hosted by Israeli President Rivlin for spiritual and lay leaders of Christian communities in Israel, Greek Patriarch Theophilos III said: “We take the opportunity of this holiday gathering to express our gratitude to you for the firmness with which you defend the freedoms that lie at the heart of this democracy – especially the freedom of worship…” http://www.jpost.com/
Most Arabs say life is good in Israel
The 2016 Israeli Democracy Index, produced by the Guttman Center for Public Opinion and Policy Research, reveals some interesting facts. 55% of Israeli Arabs identify themselves as “proud citizens”. Also, 60.5% of Israeli Arabs categorize their personal situation as “Good” or “Very good” and another 31% as “Not bad”. https://en.idi.org.il/press-
Huge rise in number of Arab students at Technion
Just 12 years ago, only 7% of students at Israel’s Technion were Arab. Today, it is 20% – not due to any lowering of entrance standards, but thanks to its NAM program – a 10-month “boot camp” in math, physics, English and Hebrew. And it is all paid for by Jewish philanthropy.
Israeli charity helps disabled Arab-Israeli kids
I’ve reported many times previously on Israeli charity Beit Issie Shapiro (BIS) and its work with disabled children. Here is a recent article about Beit Issie’s Sindian Center in Kalansua, a 22,000-population Arab city in central Israel.
Israelis raise funds for Syrian children
The Israeli “Just Beyond the Border” initiative on the online website Mimoona is raising funds for blankets and medical equipment for delivery directly to Syrians across the border, particularly children. In only 18 days, nearly 7000 Israelis have donated over 1,275,000 Shekels.
Israel to treat Aleppo wounded
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has instructed his government to extend medical assistance to Syrians injured in the latest round of fighting, especially those from the embattled city of Aleppo. Israeli hospitals will treat wounded women and children, and non-combatant men.
Israeli aid workers in Iraq
Israeli aid workers are part of an official IsraAID mission to assist Yazidi refugees living in displaced person’s camps in Dohuk province, in northern Iraq. One of the priorities is women who have suffered at the hands of the brutal Islamic State group. The video is from 2015.
Israeli system saves lives after Chile earthquake
I reported previously (Apr 2014) that the SMART Broadcast alert system from Israel’s eVigilo saved hundreds of lives after the 2014 Chilean earthquake. Well it has just done it again, following Chile’s recent 7.7 magnitude quake. 4,000 were warned to evacuate Chiloe Island. http://www.israel21c.org/
Israelis arrange free surgery for Ethiopian boy
Lori and Doron Bacher from Ra’anana met Nobel Habib in his village in Ethiopia. Nobel could hardly walk due to birth defects. Through Israeli non-profit Ezra LeMarpeh, the Bachers brought Nobel to Israel and then to Boston for surgery to correct his bone deformities.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Behavior biometrics to protect credit cards
Israel’s Leumi Card will integrate the first-of-its-kind mobile app that uses behavioral biometrics. Based on cutting-edge technology of Israeli startup SecuredTouch, the solution uses finger size, touch pressure, touch surface and more to validate the card owner and eliminate the need to use complex passwords. https://www.youtube.com/watch?
A handy bag for wheelchair users
Israeli startup Handy Bag designs and manufactures bags are easy for wheelchair users to access their belongings unaided. Founder Yair Zur was inspired by his wheelchair-bound parents – one a war veteran and one with polio. Yair raised his goal of $20,000 on Kickstarter
Whatever happened to the Ash Poopie?
Newsletter readers back in Oct 2011 may remember that Hebrew University of Jerusalem Professor Oded Shoseyov invented a device for turning dog waste into ash. Israel’s Paulee CleanTec is building the device and its innovative technology into eco-friendly commercial products.
A novel travel guide
Israeli startup “Books on Map” provides readers with virtual tours through a city’s streets by way of novels that reference that city. Combining library, treasure hunt and social network, it services Paris, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Books on Map won the recent City of Paris tourism app competition. http://nocamels.com/2016/12/
Reducing pesticide usage by 40%
I reported previously (Feb 2014) on AgriTask – an app from Israel’s Scantask that improves farming efficiency. AgriTask is now protecting about 1,000 farmers in Israel, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, Kenya and Thailand from crop damage and saving them up to 40% in pesticide use. http://www.israel21c.org/
Rehabilitating the Dead Sea region
Israel’s International Cooperation Ministry has established and dedicated a new NIS 4 million Dead Sea Research Institute. Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian Authority scientists will work together at the Institute, to study the Dead Sea and find ways to rehabilitate it and the region around it. https://unitedwithisrael.org/
Robotics in China
As predicted previously (Oct 2015) the Sino-Israeli Robotics Institute was inaugurated during the second Sino-Israeli Robotics Summit in Guangzhou, China. The 4,800sqm robotics incubator includes exhibition and demo area, innovation lab, training center and corporate offices.
US signs joint US-Israel cybersecurity act into law
The US-Israel Advanced Research Partnership Act of 2016 has been signed into US law. The act will expand existing joint research and create a grant for new development. http://www.timesofisrael.com/
Find my stuff
Israeli startup GearEye uses a radio frequency ID (RFID) scanner, tags, and an app to locate your important belongings. GearEye sought to raise $60,000 on Kickstarter. It ended up with over $500,000.
Intel launches full range of Israeli micro-processors
I reported previously (11th Sep) that Intel announced its Israeli-designed and developed 7th generation micro-processor – the Kaby Lake. Now Intel has officially launched the full line of those advanced processors. http://www.jpost.com/Business-
Airmule is now the Cormorant
I’ve reported previously (see here) about the Air Mule flying car from Israel’s Urban Aeronautics (also known as Tactical Robotics). Here is the latest on the Unmanned Air Vehicle – now renamed the Cormorant. Its target for launching on the aviation market is now 2020.
The sun is shining on the world’s tallest tower
Here is the latest report on the progress of the Ashalim project – building the world’s tallest solar tower, deep in the Negev desert (see here). When complete in 2018 it will generate 310 megawatts of power – enough for 130,000 households, or roughly 5% of Israel’s population.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
GDP up 3.8% and a trade surplus
Israel’s Gross Domestic Product grew by 3.8% in 2016 – 1.8% more than the growth in its population. Israel also had a balance of payments current account surplus of $13.4 billion in 2016. h/ttp://www.globes.co.il/en/
Exports boost economy
Exports of Israeli goods rose 7.7% in November, raising Israel’s Composite State of the Economy index up 0.34% from its Oct value. Job vacancy numbers also increased. Israel’s debt to GDP ratio is now 60.4% – close to the Government’s 60% target for 2020.
Record year for passengers using Ben Gurion
The number of international travelers passing through Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport in 2016 was a record 17.3 million – 11% more than in 2015.
Another delegation from Massachusetts
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has been leading a delegation of some 50 business and academic leaders from Massachusetts to Israel. A similar visit in 2014 (see here) resulted in several new partnerships and business deals.
$50 million fund for sustainable agriculture
Copia Agro & Food is raising $50 million to expand its investments in Israel. The fund aims to create technologies and products aimed at improving the efficiency and sustainability of the food chain and decrease the adverse effects of agriculture on the environment.
The biggest UK-Israel deal in history
Israeli airline EL Al is purchasing the Rolls Royce Trent 1000 engine for its Boing 787 Dreamliners. The $1 billion deal gives the UK its largest ever trade deal with Israel.
Skies open for Elbit system
The US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has issued a new regulation allowing planes to land in difficult vision conditions if the pilot has special accessory systems. The announcement has raised interest in the ClearVision system from Israel’s Elbit.- the first system to comply with the new rules.
Chinese $50 million fund to invest in Israel
CreditEase China, one of the world’s largest microcredit and wealth management firms, is raising a new $50 million fund to invest in Israeli smart manufacturing, Artificial Intelligence, and Augmented Reality technology. The group’s 2015 Israeli investment fund raised $32 million.
Competition to promote insurance technology
Jerusalem Venture Partners and AXA Strategic Ventures have launched the InsurTech Israel Competition, to find groundbreaking companies in the field of InsurTech” for the changing insurance world. The winner will receive a $1 million investment and other business support.
Tel Aviv rooftop farm is a growing business
I reported previously (Aug 2015) about Green in the City – a 100 sqm farm on the roof of Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff Center. The farm is now 750 sqm, produces 10,000 heads of lettuce per month, grows 17 different varieties of greens and herbs and even a banana tree.
Chinese firm puts its shirt on Healthwatch
I reported previously (Jan 2015) on Israeli startup Healthwatch and its shirt technology comprising electrodes that measure the wearer’s vital signs. China’s Shijiazhuang Yiling has just invested $20 million in the Israeli startup. http://www.jewishpress.com/
Protecting the Dutch army
Israel Military Industries will supply the Dutch army with its Iron Fist light active defense system for armored personnel carriers (APCs). The Dutch army is the first NATO country to adopt active defense technologies for its armored units.
More partners for Mobileye
Israel’s Mobileye is working with luxury car maker Lucid Motors to enable autonomous driving capability on Lucid vehicles. Mobileye will provide the primary compute platform, including cameras, radar and lidar sensors, software and algorithms. Mobileye is also partnering with Dutch autonomous vehicle technology company HERE, to enhance road positioning awareness.
Israeli desert (but not dessert) wine
In Israel’s Negev Desert, the hot daytime sun and cool nights are ideal for vineyards to produce superb quality wines. And in the extreme dry conditions, there are no pests, so no pesticides are required. https://www.youtube.com/watch?
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
$50 million arts campus for Jerusalem
A 2.5 acre $50 million Jerusalem Arts Campus is planned to open in 2020. 650 students will attend one of four new schools – Nisan Nativ Acting Studio, Sam Spiegel Film and Television School, the School of Visual Theater and the Center for Middle Eastern Music.
Vibe Israel’s Wellness Tour
Vibe Israel brings mega-bloggers to Israel to see how different the country is from that portrayed in the global media. The latest tour brought four “healthy food” bloggers with over 4 million followers. They were most impressed with Israelis, Israeli cooking ingredients and the Dead Sea.
Natalie Imbruglia concert
Australian popstar Natalie Imbruglia is heading to the Mann Auditorium Tel Aviv for a concert on 1st March. Natalie became world-wide famous at the end of the ’90s with her hit “Torn”, followed by the album “Left of the middle” which sold over 7 million copies.
New water park for Eilat
The City of Eilat had approved the building of a new 20-dunam water park on the site of the old Texas Ranch. Luna Water Eilat is expected to have over 30 water attractions including a wave pool, 25-meter water slide and a shopping area. It will cater for around 3,500 people.
THE JEWISH STATE
Chanukah coin revealed in Jerusalem
Israeli archaeologists have found a bronze coin from the Hasmonean era, during conservation work on the Tower of David in Jerusalem after recent storms. The coin bears the head of Antiochus 1V Epiphanes – the Syrian-Greek ruler of Judah who was defeated by the Maccabees in 168 BCE.
Ancient Menorah engraving discovered
Hikers exploring a water cistern in the Judean hills discovered a rare engraving of a seven-branch menorah in the chalk bedrock walls. It has a base with three feet, portraying the menorah that stood in the Jerusalem Temple during the Second Temple period.
Hasmonean bowl discovered
A 2,100-year-old stone bowl engraved with a rare Hebrew inscription – “Hyrcanus” – dating to the Hasmonean period was discovered during excavations by the Israel Antiquities Authority in the Givʽati Parking Lot at Jerusalem’s City of David. Hyrcanus was a common name of the time.
Evidence for the Kingdom of David
Yehuda Kaplan, the curator of the Bible Lands Museum, explained to Arutz Sheva the significance of an ancient city which was unearthed in the Elah Valley near Beit Shemesh. The city is over 3,000 years old, and is one of the oldest known urban centers to use sophisticated Judean architecture.https://www.
Archaeologists find 3800-year-old clay thinker
Israeli archaeologists have discovered a unique clay figure, mounted atop a ceramic vessel, in the central Israel town of Yehud. The head of the figure rests on its hand as if in a state of reflection, similar to the pose of the famous 19th century sculpture “The Thinker” by Rodin.
The Jerusalem education center of StandWithUs
International pro-Israel advocacy organization StandWithUs has an Israel Education Center in the heart of Jerusalem. The center features up-to-date information and resources for visitors, sessions and tours to counter misinformation about Israel.
Hotel owner leaves $2 million to employees
Gilbert Luzon, owner of the King Solomon Hotels in Jerusalem and Tiberias, passed away in 2016. In his will, he left his ex-employees $1,000 for each year of service. Even staff washing dishes received $20,000. In a TV interview, one man replied. “What can I say? It is a blessing.”
An educational legacy
David Fischman lost his entire family in the Holocaust but overcame his nightmares to help establish future Israeli economists, lawyers and political scientists. His estate has funded 71 scholarships with several beneficiaries presenting at Jerusalem’s E. David Fischman Scholarship Conference.