Controlling the genome guardian; Teaching Hebrew to asylum seekers; A drone that can pick fruit; and much more!
By Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Controlling the genome guardian
Scientists at Israel’s Weizmann Institute have been able to silence the gene controlling the p53 protein known as “the guardian of the genome”. The p53 protein is mutated or dysfunctional in over two-thirds of all cancers. Korean biotech BioLeaders is investing $10 million in the new Israeli therapy.
Age your immune system for a longer life
Researchers from Israel’s Technion and US Stanford University have identified age factors within the human immune system that predict a person’s longevity. Eventually you will know which lifestyle changes, habits and medications can advance your immune system and extend life.
Complementary medicine works
Dr. Yair Maimon is head of the Tal Integrative Cancer Research Center at Israel’s Sheba Medical Center. Thanks to 30 years’ experience of Chinese botanical medicine, his LCS101 botanical formula alleviates treatment side effects, boosts the immune system and kills selective cancer cells.
Medical chip for blood-tests
Israel’s Tower Semiconductor has developed a microfluidics Bio/CMOS chip for molecular in vitro diagnostics. The device, which is intended for blood test analyses, was developed in Tower’s partnership with Chinese biotech Axbio and is planned to go into production in mid-2019.
AI to diagnose Pulmonary Embolism
I reported previously (see here) on Israel’s Aidoc and its Artificially Intelligent image software that can help doctors diagnose brain bleeds. Aidoc has just released its CE-marked product to identify and triage pulmonary embolism (PE) responsible for 100,000 deaths annually in the USA.
Patch for acute pain
Israel’s Teva has just launched a generic version of Flector Patch (diclofenac epolamine) in the United States. The patch treats topical treatment of acute pain due to minor strains, sprains and contusions. https://www.tevagenerics.com/product/diclofenac-epolamine-topical-patch-1-3
World’s 10th best hospital
“Newsweek” has ranked Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer near Tel Aviv as one of the world’s top ten hospitals. “Newsweek” says the hospital is, “a leader in medical science and biotechnical innovation, both in the Middle East and worldwide.”
Two National Autism centers
I reported previously (Aug 2015) that the Hebrew University and Hadassah were establishing the first interdisciplinary university-based autism center in the Middle East. Now Ben Gurion University has upgraded its autism database (see here) and opened a National Autism Research Center.
Israeli AI in Indian hospitals
The India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund (I4F) has given $4.3 million to Israel’s Zebra Medical to deploy its Artificially Intelligent screening system across India. Zebra’s AI medical imaging technology can early-diagnose some of the 3.6 million new TB patients every year.
United Hatzalah opens in Colombia
Israeli Emergency Medical Service United Hatzalah has just opened a new chapter in Colombia – its fifth country outside of its Israeli base. UH aims to reduce emergency response times in Colombia down from 45 minutes to just three. UH operates in the US, Panama, Ukraine and Brazil.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
World Down Syndrome Day
21st March is World Down Syndrome Day and coincided with Purim this year. Israel together with Singapore initiated World Down Syndrome Day in 2006 (see here). Israel’s Yated Association provides parents with reliable information about raising children with DS. Please donate if you can.
Help for siblings of children with disabilities
Israel has many charities helping children with disabilities. However, only one – “Siblings in the Field” – supports siblings of those children, who might not get as much attention because parents’ focus is elsewhere. It currently helps kids aged 9 to 10 in the city of Modi’in.
Teaching Hebrew to asylum seekers
Josie taught Hebrew to migrants to Israel from Eritrea and Sudan between Sept 2018 and Jan 2019. Here is an account of her experiences.
Israel is feeding the world
Israel has over than 300 food-tech and agro-tech startups. Many of them presented at the Israel Export Institute’s “Rethinking Food” conference in Tel Aviv. Subjects discussed included eliminating waste, packaging, global partnerships, vegan food and international markets.
US to follow Israeli model for army “specials”
The IDF’s Special in Uniform program integrates young people with autism and other disabilities into the Israel Defense Forces and, in turn, into Israeli society. US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said that the US wants to implement a similar model in the US army.
Global State Comptrollers meet in Jerusalem
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin met with a delegation of 21 State Comptrollers, representing 42 countries in Europe and Asia. They were in Israel attending Israel’s State Comptroller’s conference on global issues and best practices in state auditing.
Aid to Mozambique
Israeli humanitarian NGO IsraAID has dispatched an emergency response team to Mozambique, to help victims of the cyclone that devastated the country. IsraAID will distribute relief supplies, deliver psychological first aid and restore access to safe drinking water to affected communities.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Beresheet goes into maximum Earth orbit
On 19th March, the engines of Israel’s Beresheet spacecraft fired it into a 405.000 km maximum Earth orbit which will take it to within range of the Moon. Next event hopefully will be lunar capture on or around 4th Apr for a moon landing on 11th / 12th Apr. (see also on JPost)
https://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/israeli-spacecraft-beresheet-completes-another-successful-maneuver/2019/03/19/ http://www.spaceil.com/mission/ http://live.spaceil.com/
Enhanced security at Ben Gurion airport
Security improvements will reduce delays for tourists at Ben Gurion Airport in time for Eurovision. Delegations can be pre-registered. Facial recognition will speed up passengers with biometric passports. And machines will (initially) ask “did you pack your own baggage?”.
Preventing railway crashes
Israel’s RailVision has developed revolutionary technology that prevents accidents involving trains by ensuring they have an adequate stopping time. RailVision’s thermal sensor can identify hazards up to two miles away. RailVision has just raised $10 million.
Traffic lights for smartphone users
Tel Aviv is testing new “zombie” traffic lights, designed to alert pedestrians too absorbed on their smartphone to look up at the signals. Bright LED light strips set into the sidewalks at one Tel Aviv road junction will turn red or green in sync with the traffic lights.
(See this very “appropriate” cartoon here or here)
Technology to improve driving
I reported previously (see here) on the vehicle cyber security systems from Israel’s ERM Advanced Telematics. ERM has now launched eVoice for fleet managers to warn their drivers of safety violations. eVoice will issue a real-time audio alert if a driver performs a dangerous maneuver.
Enhancing AI applications
Israel’s Iguazio offers data management services and tools designed to improve the performance, security, and scalability of machine learning applications. Samsung SDS is funding Iguazio and will incorporate its technology into Samsung’s cloud services portfolio. See Iguazio on CNBC and BBC.
Protecting against hardware-based cyber-attacks
You’ve probably seen movies where someone walks into a company, plugs a device into one of the computers and starts copying sensitive data. Not possible with protection from Israel’s Sepio Systems. European energy giant EDP just made a strategic investment in Sepio.
Improving access to Eurovision
Microsoft is to host a two-day “hackathon” in Tel Aviv in April. 150 participants will attempt to tackle issues of accessibility arising from the live broadcast of the Eurovision Song contest and maximize viewer experience. Israeli is hosting the 2019 Eurovision from 14th to 18th May.
A drone that can pick fruit
Israel’s Tevel Aerobotics has developed an autonomous drone equipped with a mechanical claw that can pick fruit or prune trees. It uses artificial intelligence to detect fruit quality and ripeness. The prototype is for apples and oranges but is being expanded to other fruits and to function at night.
Autonomous crop management
I reported previously (Aug 2016) on Israel’s Prospera and its AI systems to help farmers better monitor their crops. Prospera is now partnering with US Valmont Industries (part of Valley Irrigation) to provide growers with autonomous crop management solutions.
Plant research for a healthier planet
Scientists at Israel’s Weizmann Institute are improving global food security e.g. by figuring out how plants can better resist drought and provide higher-quality nutrition. They have also devised a method of killing a parasitic weed that was destroying corn crops in sub-Saharan Africa.
Preserve those photos
Israel’s Photomyne won the Top 100 award at the Red Herring Top 100 Europe conference. Photomyne aims to use its photo scanning app, with Machine Learning / AI technology, to produce the largest indexed photo collection of the pre-digital era. https://photomyne.com/
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Global demand for Israeli startups
Investors have been keen to back Israeli startups in Feb. Here is a summary of the top financing deals worth a total of $445 million in one month for just 11 Israeli companies. Also, see Ambassador Yoram Ettinger’s article “Growing global interest in Israel’s high-tech”.
Turkish Airlines to connect Tel Aviv and Izmir
Turkey’s President Erdogan may not like Israel, but his national airline wants Israeli customers. Turkish Airlines is launching a new four-flights-per-week service between Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International and Izmir’s Adnan Menderes airport, commencing 29th May.
The “Jerusalem Expo and Conference,” hosted by the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce – Israel Division, will take place on 15th May. It is aimed at Israeli residents from North America, Europe, South Africa and other English-speaking countries who want to manage their businesses from Israel.
Elbit’s $3.68 billion revenue
Total 2018 earnings for Israeli hi-tech giant Elbit were a massive $3.68 billion – 9% higher than in 2017. Elbit also revealed that it has $9.4 billion worth of orders in the pipeline.
OurCrowd has raised $1 billion
Global investment platform and Israel’s leading venture investor, OurCrowd has raised a total of $1 billion for 170 companies and 18 funds in its six years of existence. The OurCrowd network consists of 30,000 registered investors from over 150 countries. See also highlights from its summit.
Warren Buffet’s company partners Israeli startup
A subsidiary of Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway, Guard Insurance, has partnered with Israeli startup Planck Resolution to develop a full digital underwriting offering. Planck develops software that helps insurance companies analyze and risk-assess businesses.
SAP launches Tel Aviv accelerator
I’ve reported previously (see here) on the close ties that German software giant SAP has with the Jewish State. SAP has now announced its first Israeli accelerator in Tel Aviv. SAP.IO Foundry will support up to 10 early stage Israeli business-to-business (B2B) startups.
BMW to open Israel Tech Center
I reported previously (see here) on the links that German carmaker BMW has with Israel. Now, BMW is opening a Tel Aviv tech center to tap into the talent in Israel’s startup scene. It will also set up joint research projects with Israeli universities,
Keeping Italian police from danger
I reported previously (see here) on Israel’s Roboteam and its tactical robots. Roboteam has just won a $10 million order to supply 40 TIGR ground robotic systems to Italy’s Carabinieri (police). They are designed to handle suspicious packages and hazardous materials.
How to get VAT refunded
Itai Green writes how Israeli startups can save tourists and businesses a fortune. I reported previously (10th Feb) that Israel’s Refundit won the UN’s World Tourism Organization competition. Here is how Refundit could return VAT charges of up to 23 billion Euros to the pockets of tourists.
How businesses reclaim VAT on expenses
There are also at least two Israeli solutions for companies who get lost in the nightmare of extracting the VAT they are entitled to on business expenses. VATBox is one automated solution for VAT recovery. Alternatively use Israel’s Way2VAT and its Artificial Intelligence.
Kibbutzim to share electric cars
Meshek Energy, an agricultural cooperative society owned by Israeli kibbutzim, has acquired dozens of electric cars. They will be stationed in several dozen kibbutzim and will be used as shared vehicles. Meshek Energy will set up and operate car charging stations at various kibbutzim.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
The fancy dress outfits for the Purim festival in Israel keep getting more sophisticated every year.
Jerusalem marathon’s 40,000 runners
The annual Jerusalem Marathon attracted a record 40,000 participants including some 4,600 from 80 countries. The route passed the Old City walls, Sultan’s Pool, Mount Zion, the German Colony, Ammunition Hill, Mount Scopus and the Mount of Olives.
Gold Judokas in Russia
Israeli judokas won two gold medals and a bronze at the Grand Slam in Ekaterinburg, Russia. Gili Cohen won the women’s under-52kg category. Meanwhile, Sagi Muki won the men’s under-81kg category, beating former world champion Nagase Takanori of Japan. Overall, Israel finished second to Russia.
Special winners in Abu Dhabi
Israel’s 25-member team won 22 medals at the 2019 Special Olympics in Abu Dhabi. They won 4 Gold medals: in the women’s 100-meter individual medley; women’s 25-meter backstroke, men’s 1,500-meter Open Water Swimming and doubles bowling (Unified) competition
THE JEWISH STATE
National Cleanup Day
Israel’s National Cleanup Day promotes the importance of protecting Israel’s environment. This year, the Ministries of Education and Environmental Protection are providing NIS 13 million to fund activities and trips for around 1,200 schools that will participate on 2nd April.
Pro-Israel blogger conference
Israel’s Strategic Affairs Ministry has organized #DigiTell, bringing 100 global pro-Israel bloggers and social network managers to Jerusalem. Senior director Ido Daniel said “We are opening our doors to the influencers and social media activists for Israel who are fighting our fight every day.
Highway through history
I reported previously (see here) on excavations that have revealed a 3000-year-old Biblical city from King David’s Kingdom, near the modern Israeli city of Beit Shemesh. This article gives more details of the discoveries and how the site will be preserved alongside a new highway.
Latest archaeological excavations in Israel have revealed a wine press and mosaic floor from the Talmudic period. And in Jerusalem, pottery was found from the time that the Persians ruled Judea – which was when the Purim story took place. https://www.jewishpress.com/news/archaeology-news/winepress-mosaic-floor-from-talmudic-period-discovered-in-korazim-national-park/2019/03/18/
US Secretary of State visits Kotel
Mike Pompeo was the first U.S. Secretary of State to visit the Western Wall (Kotel) in Jerusalem. Accompanied by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Secretary Pompeo placed a note in between the ancient stones.
Supermoon on Purim
On 20th March, Israel’s Beresheet spacecraft blasted into its maximum orbit around the Earth. It coincided with the Spring Equinox, a Supermoon (full Moon close to the Earth) and of course, Purim!
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