Women climb the tech ladder; As strong as spider silk; In touch with the senses; and much more!
by: Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Severe Covid patients cured in a day
Israel’s Bonus BioGroup (see here previously) tested its MesenCure MSC treatment on 10 severely ill, high risk Covid-19 patients at Haifa’s Rambam hospital. All ten improved sufficiently to be discharged just one day after treatment. MesenCure now advances to Phase 2 trials.
Cancer treatment trial extended
The Phase 1 / 2 trial of DSP107 from Israel’s KAHR Medical (see here previously) has commenced and will now be expanded to include blood cancer patients in addition to solid tumors. KAHR has received an additional investment of $5 million to fund the enlarged trial.
Baking soda helps kill cancer cells
Israeli-Arab Technion PhD graduate Hanan Abumanhal has discovered sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) increases the potency of chemotherapy. For her doctorate, she developed nano particles to reduce the acidity of tumors, allowing reduced quantities of chemo to penetrate.
Balancing gene expression to prevent cancer
Researchers at Ben Gurion University have discovered a new biological event that can control an excessive production of genes involved in cancer cell formation. Discovery of “the methylation of BRD4” advances scientific understanding of human cancer progression and its treatment.
The immune cells that accelerate liver disease
Scientists at Israel’s Weizmann Institute have discovered that the dendritic immune cell cDC1 increases the severity of fatty liver disease and NASH, suffered by 90% of obese individuals. The discovery may lead to treatments that could benefit millions of patients.
Software to help correct genetic defects
The development of CRISPR technology to prevent genetic diseases is hampered by off-target (unintended) changes to the genes. New software called CRISPECTOR from Israel’s IDC and Bar-Ilan University can prevent the consequences from transplanting erroneously modified cells.
In touch with the senses
Israel’s CorrActions is developing technology to detect deterioration in human cognitive state from drowsiness, fatigue, exhaustion, intoxication, age, and health issues. A sensor monitors slight, unique, changes in human touch or motion. It could prevent accidents or work errors by professionals.
Migraine wearable wins Medtech award
The Nerivio therapeutic wearable for treating migraine pain from Israel’s Theranica (see here previously) won “Best New Technology Solution for Pain Management” award in the 2021 MedTech Breakthrough Awards program. It beat more than 3,850 nominations from 17 countries.
Tool for diagnosing autism
Israeli startup Cell-El Therapeutics.is developing a diagnostic tool for “triple A” (autoimmune antibody associated) autism. It has identified 30 immunological biomarkers and is developing a blood test using the best five. This could help identify severely autistic children and implement early therapies.
VeryGoodNewsIsrael can be good for your health
It’s official. Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have published the findings of their longevity study of 1200 Israelis that began in 1990. Participants aged 85-90 with a high optimism score had a 20% higher rate of survival over those who were less optimistic.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Cigarettes come to an end on Israeli beaches
Volunteers from Israeli NGO “Clean the Butts” scour Israel’s beautiful beaches to remove discarded cigarette ends. Many are turned into artwork, while the remainder are shipped off to a recycling facility in Ireland. The NGO volunteers also sell pocket ashtrays to beachgoers.
Women climb the tech ladder
Many Israeli organizations aim to help promote opportunities for women to join the Israeli hi-tech industry (see here previously). Now Jerusalem-based Fem JLM has launched a program – FemForward, offering lectures, mentors and networking to help women in tech progress into management.
Treating animals injured by Hamas rockets
Israel’s Ramat Gan Safari saved a black macaque injured when shrapnel from a Hamas rocket lodged in its spine. It is also treating animals wounded by the missiles that were brought in by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. And watch the elephants when they hear the rocket sirens.
Acre Arabs to help repair Jewish businesses
Arab mobs wrecked the Arabesque Hotel, owned by Evan Fallenberg, and the Effendi Hotel and Uri Buri restaurant, owned by Uri Jeremias, in the Israeli city of Acre. But most of the Arab community was appalled by the events and has rallied round to help repair the damage.
More Jewish-Arab solidarity
Arab and Jewish medical staff at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer and at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, joined together in solidarity events last week. Rambam used social media to showcase Jews and Arabs working together, displaying messages of peace in Hebrew and in Arabic.
Arabs pitch in Jerusalem
60 Israeli Arabs, Palestinian Arabs and UAE Arabs presented their startup ideas at a JVP “tech-pitch” event in Jerusalem. They included an eco-friendly hotel run by Jews and Arabs, music training for young Arabs and Jews, and an app to learn Hebrew and Arabic. (See here for previous hackathon).
Jews & Arabs tech seminar in the South
Israeli-Jews, Israeli-Arabs and Palestinian Arabs have been attending a two-week tech seminar organized by Tech2Peace at Moshav Hatseva, in the Arava desert. The aim is to promote peace and personal relations through tech – e.g. 3D design, app development and web building.
The Israeli Arab that founded a Unicorn
Wagde Zabit describes growing up in the Israeli Muslim Galilee town of Kafr Mand. As a five-year-old he received a present of his first computer. Much later he graduated from Israel’s Technion to co-found Israeli cybersecurity startup Orca Security, now worth over $1 billion.
Most resilient to Covid
Israel has come top of the Global Pandemic Resilience Index, published by global consumer advocacy group Consumer Choice Center. 40 countries were compared as to vaccination approval, vaccination drive, time lags that put breaks on giving vaccines, critical care bed capacity and mass testing.
UAE opens its Israel embassy
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has opened its new embassy in the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange building. Israel opened its own embassy in Abu Dhabi in January (see here previously).
Israel to Marrakesh flights in July
Israeli airline Israir will launch direct flights between Israel and Morocco’s Marrakesh on July 19. Israir expects that the route will attract hundreds of thousands of Israelis and are scheduling five services a week.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Rocket science for the greater good
Israel’s Iron Dome system developer Rafael Advanced Defense Systems set a challenge for the Jerusalem College of Technology (JCT) annual women’s hackathon – image processing to benefit humanity. The winning entry detected if an elderly person fell and notified their emergency contact.
Alerting device for hearing impaired
One team at the JCT LevTech women’s hackathon developed an electronic bracelet alarm for the hard of hearing. It vibrates when it detects a rocket siren and thus alerts the wearer to the need to get to a bomb shelter. It can even differentiate from other alarms or similar sounds.
Israel’s SAIPS (see here previously) was acquired by Ford in 2016. It is now preparing to help Ford test its autonomous cars in Tel Aviv. SAIPS develops real-time algorithms that help the vehicle understand its environment and connect to 3D maps of the self-driving vehicle’s surroundings.
FIFA to test Israeli smart shoe device
Israel’s Playermaker makes a shoe-mounted device used to track performance by some 150 soccer academies and teams including Liverpool and Arsenal. It has now been accepted by the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) for its Innovation Program.
Helping fight crime
Israeli startup Forenza has developed a new subscription-based data platform to help police forces and private investigators solve crimes. Forenza uses publicly available (no privacy issues) open sources, digital forensic evidence, and business intelligence from public social media platforms.
Magic connection for factory systems
Israel’s Magic Software (see here previously) has launched FactoryEye to help medium-sized factories increase productivity and efficiency. It connects all production machines and IT systems under one platform providing AI tools, forecasts, and analytics.
Learn online without a computer
Israel’s Classi turns any TV into a remove education platform. Download the software onto any Android TV converter (costing less than $100). Add a web camera and an optional keyboard and mouse and your TV becomes a laptop alternative that provides Zoom, YouTube, Word and Excel.
A robotic pollinator for greenhouses
Israel’s Arugga is developing an autonomous robot for treating and monitoring individual plants in greenhouses. Its first module – TRATA – is a robotic pollinator for greenhouse-grown tomatoes. It recognizes pollination-ready flowers and applies calibrated air pulses to the selected flower.
Using Google to detect Red Palm Weevil infestations
Damage caused by Red Palm Weevils is monumental. Scientists at Israel’s Ben Gurion University used Artificial Intelligence to recognize healthy palm trees and infested trees from Google Aerial and Street View images. Their work could save millions of palm trees.
Protecting employees in the office
Israel’s Canario has developed two smart wearable devices to help protect staff from viruses and contamination. The Canario Proximity will identify anyone who was within 2 meters of an infected person so that they can be quarantined. The other device detects air pollutants and radiation.
As strong as spider silk
Israel’s Seevix Material Sciences has developed SVX – synthetic spider silk fibers that are five times stronger than high tensile steel but only one-fifth the weight. SVX was genetically engineered using a unique DNA sequence plus a fermentation process using bacteria, sugar, yeast and water.
Honey without bees
In the land of Milk and Honey, Israel’s Bee-io Honey is developing cultured honey in the laboratory. It uses natural nectar and an “artificial bee stomach,” to simulate the enzymatic activity, conditions and processes that occur in the bee’s stomach. Bee-io Honey has just listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
Materials for tomorrow’s world
Israel’s Materials Zone (see here previously) has developed a smart AI platform for discovering new innovative compounds. It analyzes research data to help develop glass that makes electricity, low carbon concrete, personal X-ray filters and so many applications than cannot yet be imagined.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
$2 billion of investment funds
Israeli startups raised almost $2 billion of funds in May. The total for the first five months of 2021 has now reached $8.6 billion, compared to $10 billion for the whole of 2020. Digital health companies raised $700 million in the first quarter of 2021 – nearly equal to all 2020.
Foreign tourists return
Israeli Minister of Tourism welcomed the first tourists to Israel in over a year. A group of 12 Christian pilgrims arrived from St. Louis. Groups of up to 30 vaccinated tourists can now enter Israel. The Tourism Ministry said about 20 groups are expected during the pilot period up to 15th June.
So much choice
Israel has so many accelerator /incubator programs that support young companies and entrepreneurs that it can be difficult for innovative startups to decide which to approach for mentorship, office space and sponsorship. This article highlights six typical programs fueling Israel’s vital startup ecosystem.
Tracking Israel’s “green” index
The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange launched its TA-125 Fossil Free index in December. Israel’s Migdal Capital Markets has now followed up the event by becoming the first investment house to launch an exchange traded fund (ETF) that tracks the new index.
Insurance for mission-critical systems
Israel’s Parametrix Insurance protects companies if their Cloud service provider breaks down. It provides cover for financial loss including reputational failure and compensation for service level agreements with customers and third parties.
Seagate products to have “Israel inside”
US giant Seagate is to integrate the VCode security software from Israel’s Karamba (see here previously) into its storage systems., Karamba is benefiting from the new legal requirements for manufacturers of IOT (Internet of Things) devices to protect products from security threats.
Vegetable walls for Californian seniors
Israel’s Vertical Field (see here previously) has been chosen to provide its vertical farming systems to assisted-living homes in California managed by Calson Management. If successful, the pilot scheme in Vallejo, California will be expanded to seven more centers.
OurCrowd launched during a Hamas attack
Jon Medved writes how in 2012, Hamas rockets did not deter OurCrowd’s initial New York investors. On the contrary, they doubled their stake in the Israeli innovative crowdsourcing platform.
Investment in Israeli startups:
Gong raised $250 million; Exabeam raised $200 million; Venn raised $60 million; ALD raised $50 million; DayTwo raised $37 million; Comunix raised $30 million; Novidea raised $30 million; DealHub raised $20 million; SAM Seamless Network raised $20 million; CorrActions raised $2.7 million;
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT`
Center Stage – jam packed June
Center Stage is Israel’s premier professional English language theater in Raanana. June events include Jokers & Thieves Songtalk (9th); The Shapes of Love (12th); 100 Suspicions (20th) Yohay Sponder (26th); The Gate (30th). Plus, comedy, quizzes, jam sessions, karaoke and more.
Israeli on podium in Monaco F2 race
Israel’s Roy Nissany, driving a Williams Dams, achieved his maiden FIA Formula 2 Championship podium finish. Dissany, who is Williams Racing’s official test driver, finished third in the first Sprint Race in Monaco.
Israel to host international cycling finals
Tel Aviv is the venue for the finale of the first-ever Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Champions League cycling track competition (Nov-Dec 2021). Earlier rounds visit Spain, France, Lithuania and London, culminating at the Sylvan Adams National Velodrome in Tel Aviv on Dec 11.
More medals for Linoy
Israel’s Linoy Ashram won 3 medals at the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup in Pesaro, Italy. She won a gold medal in the balls event and silver in both the hoops and in the clubs.
Israeli woman climbs Everest
Israel’s Danielle Wolfson, a 43-year-old lawyer from Ramat Gan, has planted an Israeli flag on top of Mount Everest – the world’s tallest mountain. She is the first female Israeli to reach the top of the 8,849-meter (29,032-foot) peak and only the fourth Israeli to do so.
THE JEWISH STATE
The Tower of David reborn
Here is a recording of the webinar “The Tower of David Museum – A Window into the Past, Present and Future of Jerusalem” organized by the America-Israel Friendship League (AIFL). Its $40 million refurbishment transforms the museum into a “Must See” site during your next visit to Jerusalem.
Roman basilica in Ashkelon
Archaeologists at Tel Ashkelon National Park have found a magnificent 2,000-year-old Roman basilica – the largest of its kind in Israel. Herodian coins in the floor show it was built during the reign of Herod the Great, around the time he extended the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.
Connecting Past and Future
This week’s Real Jerusalem Streets features the rebuilding of the Schneller Compound (see here previously) which will house a new interactive museum to feature historic and current Jewish communities from around the world.