Helping coronavirus patients breathe; Using hi-tech to re-stock the shelves; Superheroes bring Purim parcels to sick children; and much more!

by: Michael Ordman


Lung cancer transplant patient receives his own lung

In a medical breakthrough, surgeons at Israel’s Beilinson hospital temporarily removed the left lung from a lung cancer patient. They then cut out a tumor from the lung that had been blocking the main airway and finally replaced the lung back into the patient.

Coronavirus vaccine news

Latest progress on the vaccine being developed by Israeli scientists at the Migal Research Institute in Kiryat Shmona on the border with Lebanon. Also, an article on how the vaccine works.

Helping coronavirus patients breathe

Doctors at Jerusalem’s Alyn hospital developed Coughsync some 10 years ago to help relieve lung congestion in physically challenged and disabled children. Now it is being mass-produced to help clear secretions from the lungs of Chinese coronavirus patients on ventilators.

Breakthrough in generating heart cells

Researchers led by Professor Lior Gepstein of Israel’s Technion Institute and Rambam Medical Center have generated heart cells from stem cells that can be either atrial (upper) or ventricular (lower) chamber cells. It has significant benefits for testing cardiac treatments.

Sheba is now world’s 9th best hospital

Newsweek magazine listed Israel’s Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer as the world’s ninth-best hospital, up one place from last year (see here). Newsweek highlighted Sheba’s groundbreaking research in cancer, cardiology, brain diseases, genetics plus its global collaborations.

Contact lenses to correct color blindness

Tel Aviv University researchers have developed customizable contact lenses that can correct deuteranomaly, a form of red-green colorblindness. Ultra-thin optical devices were incorporated into off-the-shelf contact lenses.


Why five Israeli women became diplomats

To commemorate International Women’s Day, five Israeli female diplomats answered five questions connected with their work, to encourage more women to follow their lead. Plus 16 Israeli women from all walks of life who challenge stereotypes in the most inspiring ways.

Microsoft Israel’s new CEO is a woman

Software giant Microsoft has appointed Michal Braverman-Blumenstyk as CEO of Microsoft Israel R&D. She is the first woman in that role. The second article describes how Israeli women lead the way in Israel’s thriving biotech industry.

International Women’s Day in Jerusalem

This article features some of March’s events and activities in Jerusalem, especially designed for International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8th.

Israeli fashion is for everyone

Four Israeli designers are developing cutting-edge clothing that’s attractive, affordable and accessible for both people with disabilities and those without. They are Shay Senior (Palta Clothes), Einav Besser (Mikita), Miri Albik (Miricle) and Gil Joshua Dreyfus (Abba’le Arba).

Lior Suchard helps raise NIS 180,000

As reported previously, Israeli umbrella charity MyIsrael (see here) invited Israeli mentalist Lior Suchard to wow the audience at its Feb 10 launch. The event raised a huge NIS 180,000. MyIsrael’s 18 charities all ensure that 100% of any donation goes directly to the donor’s chosen cause.

DRC’s first ambassador to Israel in 20 years

President Félix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) announced that he will appoint an ambassador to Israel for the first time in 20 years. Although the new Ambassador will be stationed in Tel Aviv, a commercial section of the embassy will be in Jerusalem.

Israeli-built school for refugees

Israelis have been helping Syrian refugees on the island of Lesbos for over four years. Israeli-Arab news anchor Lucy Aharish was interviewed on BBC World Service and described what the school had achieved, before a recent tragedy.  Listen from 7 minutes. Also see Israeli aid on island of Chios.

Saving lives in Laos

Israeli doctor Gilat Raisch recently volunteered at a hospital in the Asian country of Laos. She was frustrated that there were no blood supplies for patients. So, she contacted the local Chabad Rabbi who arranged in two weeks for nearly 100 Israeli backpackers to donate blood. The project continues to save lives.

Israel protects wildlife

This video was published to mark World Wildlife Day on 3rd March. It features Israel’s Hula Nature Reserve, “Safe Haven for Donkeys”, “4D Wildlife” rehabilitation center, “Freedom Farm” sanctuary for animals with disabilities, and the “Yodfat Monkey Forest” for rescued monkeys.

Wave energy startup boss wins UN award

Israel’s Eco Wave Power has been reported here several times. CEO Inna Braverman has just won a United Nations Climate Action Award. Eco Wave Power was described as “A world-leading project generating clean energy from the ocean, co-founded and led by a female CEO.”


Top food and ag-tech companies

Ten Israeli companies featured in Forbes top 50 global food tech and top 50 ag-tech companies in 2020. They are DouxmatokInnovoProHinomanFuture MeatTastewiseTIPA, Infarm, CropXTaranis, and Prosera. All except Infarm have been reported previously in this newsletter.

Soapy solution for coronavirus

As reported here previously (Feb 2018), Israeli startup Soapy set-up its simple hygiene stations in rural areas and slums where there is no running water. Now Soapy’s handwashing micro-station with its Israeli plant-based reagent, is said to kill viruses even more resistant than corona.

Israeli robot assistant for coronavirus patients

The Israeli-developed Temi robot (reported here previously) is now being used in hundreds of hospitals, medical centers, nursing homes, and corporate buildings in Asia to help minimize human-to-human contact during the coronavirus outbreak.

Israeli video tech supports businesses and patients

The video-conferencing technology from Israeli startup Kaltura (see here) enables remote workers to stay linked during the spread of coronavirus. Meanwhile, Israel’s Uniper Care transforms a TV set into an interactive station for patients at Israel’s Sheba Medical Center.

Don’t block valid sites

Israeli cybersecurity company CHEQ (reported here previously) is an AI alternative to keyword blacklists that are commonly used to block access to offensive websites. CHEQ estimates that US publishers lost $2.8 billion of potential revenue opportunities in 2019 by subsequent false positives.

Using hi-tech to re-stock the shelves

Israeli retail chain Super-Pharm has implemented shelf organization technologies developed by Israel’s WiseShelf in 14 of its stores. WiseShelf integrates light sensors and cameras to continually monitor shelves and send real-time alerts when re-organization or re-stocking is needed.,7340,L-3782951,00.html

Eilat and Nice partner for smart city solutions

Israel’s Red Sea resort of Eilat and the French Riviera city of Nice have teamed up. 10 members from each city will seek out technology-based solutions to challenges in the field of smart cities, including issues of infrastructure, transportation, energy, community services and tourism.

Photo ticks all the boxes

Red pandas at Jerusalem’s Biblical Zoo exercising on a wall made of recycled materials, won an international photo competition. The wall was built by a team that included at-risk youth.

A solar-powered water generator

Israel’s Watergen plans to launch a solar-powered version of its water-from-air system later this year. Solar Genny is suitable for remote locations, such as rural villages where electricity access can be unstable and unreliable. It can generate up to 13 liters (3.5 gallons) of water a day.

Catch the rain

Another example of Israeli “out of the box” thinking.  Eyal Yassky, CEO of Hilico, was frustrated when Mumbai slum dwellers had to drink dirty water during the monsoon. So, he and his friend Moshe Belilty developed a cheap, light, portable device that can collect a liter of water from 1mm of rain.


Most innovative

US business magazine Fast Company named at least 14 Israeli companies in its list of 434 “Most innovative firms in 2020”. The magazine wrote that the companies “lead their fields and are transforming the world.”. Israel’s appeared in the overall top 50 “for diagnosing with smartphones.”

North Rhine-Westphalia opens Israeli culture & trade office

Armin Laschet, minister-president of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state, has opened an Economy, Science, Education, Youth and Culture office in Tel Aviv. Laschet is known as a staunch supporter of the Jewish state.

Swiss railways partners five Israeli prospects

Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) has selected five Israeli startups for a pilot program. They are FSight, HereO, (search for “HereO Israel”) Oriient New Media, SoftRide and TIBA Parking Systems. SBB will invest up to $200,000 in testing their technologies.,7340,L-3782391,00.html


VISA expands partnership with Israeli startup

As reported (Sep 2019) previously, payments giant VISA partnered with Israel’s ChargeAfter – provider of software for flexible point-of-sale credit options. VISA has just expanded the partnership, giving ChargeAfter access to 16,000 issuing banks, acquirers and merchants.

Smart move for mobile cashless startups

Israeli startup Nayax develops cashless payment systems for unattended machines. It has just taken over Israeli startup Modularity and its credit card payment clearing technologies for Android devices. Modularity also allows businesses to offer clients cash withdrawal services.,7340,L-3799495,00.html


Intel backs Israeli backup startup

Israeli startup Model9 Ltd. has raised $9 million in a funding round led by Intel Capital, the venture arm of chipmaker Intel. Model9 develops a cloud-based service to backup, restore, archive, and encrypt mainframe data sets and files to private or public cloud storage.,7340,L-3792370,00.html

How Israeli wine took the world by storm

Over the past two decades, Israeli winemakers have earned a reputation for producing some of the world’s best wines. At the International Kosher Wine Festival in Tel Aviv, Israeli vintners and their fans enjoyed a truly awe-inspiring display of wines from Samaria to the Golan.


Where to see Israel’s spring flowers

Thanks to abundant winter rains, many Israelis are outdoors admiring the fields of pink, purple, red and yellow made up of – kalanit (anemone), rakefet (cyclamen), narkis (narcissus), tourmus (lupine) and pereg (poppy). Some rare desert flowers haven’t bloomed for some 25 years.

Lionel Richie is a hit with Israelis

15,000 fans sang along with Lionel Richie at Tel Aviv’s Menora Mivtachim Arena on 2nd March. He sang all of his greatest hits, including “Hello,” “Endless Love,” “All Night Long,” plus the Commodores’ “Sail On,” “Easy Like Sunday Morning” and “Brick House.”.

Israel’s Eurovision song contest entry

Israel’s entry to the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest is “Feker Libi”, or “My Beloved” in Amharic – the Ethiopian language spoken by the ancestors of 19-year-old Ethiopian-Israeli singer Eden Alene. Most of the song’s lyrics are in English, with some Hebrew, Arabic and Amharic.

Israeli woman wins Tokyo marathon in record time

Israeli athlete Lonah Chemtai Salpeter (see here) won the Tokyo Marathon women’s race in a record-breaking 2 hours, 17 minutes and 45 seconds. She beat her previous best by over two minutes and rose to sixth in the world all-time list.

Lifesaving runners run again

When running in the 2019 Dead Sea Marathon, Shachar David’s heart stopped, and he collapsed. MDA paramedic Meir Furmanski was running nearby and performed CPR to save Shachar’s life.  In this year’s Dead Sea Marathon, both Meir and Shachar ran side by side.


More Ethiopian immigrants arrive in Israel

Israel has just welcomed about 40 new members from Ethiopia. They include nine families from a sect of Jewish descendants called Falash Mura, a community who long ago were forced to convert to Christianity and currently seek to return to Judaism.

Operation Moses – pure chutzpah

BBC’s website editor Raffi Berg (a rare decent BBC employee) has published a new book “Red Sea Spies: The True Story of Mossad’s Fake Diving Resort”. It retells the thrilling story of how, in the mid-1980s, Mossad agents smuggled Ethiopian Jews from Sudan to Israel.

The African Hebrew Israelite Nation of Jerusalem

Inspiring story of the history of the community of African Hebrew Israelites, which has just marked 50 years in Israel. The National Library of Israel has released photographs taken in January 1970, a few weeks after the community was established in Dimona.

Ancient prayer book restored

The National Library of Israel has completed the restoration of the 15th Century Moskowitz Mahzor and has been put online for the first time. The manuscript was written on parchment by Joel ben Simeon, considered by many to be the most important Jewish artist of the Middle Ages.$FL91794051

Rare Icelandic visitor

One recent visitor to these shores didn’t require to be self-quarantined. A killer whale (orca) was filmed swimming 1.4km off the Israeli coast between Haifa and Akhziv. From its markings it is believed to be “Riptide” which began its journey in Icelandic waters, 8,000 miles away, in June 2018.

Some important facts about Purim

The Jewish “crazy” festival of Purim is uniquely celebrated in Israel. Even secular Israelis put on fancy dress, buy “hamantaschen” (triangular cookies) and enjoy parties.

Superheroes bring Purim parcels to sick children

Israeli volunteers dressed as superheroes brought some Purim cheer to kids hospitalized at Ichilov’s Dana Dwek Children’s Hospital in Tel Aviv. Spider-Man, Iron Man, Superman, and Batman, among others, rappelled down the hospital’s windows, giving out treats and toys.