Saving lives from snakebites; 30-second baggage disinfection; Twitter acquires Reshuffle; and much more!
by: Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Huge drop in coronavirus reproduction
Israel’s “R” factor – the average number of people that one person infects with the SARS-Cov-2 virus – has fallen to just over 0.5 and less than 1% of tests are returning positive. Israel has no “red” (high infection rate) cities for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
IDF has herd immunity
Israel’s Defense Force was the first army in the world to vaccinate over 80% of its personnel. The whole operation was conducted with military precision in just 10 weeks without wasting a single vial. Currently, no IDF member has died from Covid-19 and only one had a serious infection.
It could have been much worse
Excluding the Negev desert, Israel’s population density is by far the highest in the OECD – a key factor for high Covid-19 mortality rates. But Israeli fatalities were lower than most of the 37 OECD countries. Only South Korea had both less deaths per million and a higher total population density.
The human-cloud interface
Israel’s X-trodes has developed a wireless sensor patch combined with data analysis algorithms that a patient wears on their body. It remotely measures and analyzes the health of the brain, eyes, muscles, or heart during sleep or everyday tasks. The technology was developed at Tel Aviv University.
Developing an oral Covid-19 vaccine
Israel’s Oramed (reported here previously) has launched Oravax – a joint venture with India’s Premas Biotech to develop a Covid-19 vaccine. The vaccine is administered orally (not injected) and targets 3 virus proteins, so should counter any mutations. Human trials expected soon.
Treating heart & kidney patients remotely
The IPUD (Implantable Peritoneal Ultrafiltration Device) from Israel’s Paragate Medical (reported here previously) removes excess fluid from patients coping with chronic heart and kidney failure at home. Paragate is a portfolio company of Nazareth’s NGT3. Human trials start soon.
Saving lives from snakebites
Some 1.8 million people are bitten by snakes each year – about 94,000 fatally. An international research team including Tel Aviv University’s Eyal Goldstein have designed a model to determine (and so avoid) the probability of a snakebite at specific places, months, and times of day.
Training the brain to see
Israel’s Revitalvision has developed vision training software to improve eyesight in adult amblyopia, eye diseases and vision impairments. The FDA-approved therapy uses Gabor patches with a patented stimulation technique to stimulate the visual cortex and create new neural connections.
Treating diabetics & women in Dubai
Doctors from Israel’s Sheba Medical Centre are flying out to Dubai to treat an initial 350 diabetes patients in the UAE army, police, and firefighting services. Sheba is also sending physicians to train medical staff at Medcare Women & Children Hospital in Dubai.
Saved twice by the same medic
When United Hatzalah volunteer medic Alan Malka saved a 30-year-old man who suffered a heart attack in Petah Tikva, he recognized that he saved the same man two months previously. Resuscitation was much quicker this time, and he now should get treatment to prevent a further incident.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Israel climbed two spots to 12th in the 2021 World Happiness Report which measured GDP, life-expectancy and opinions in 149 countries. Citizens of 100 countries were surveyed on social support, freedom of life choices, society corruption and generosity. Israel ranked 11th in that survey.
World Water Day
To mark World Water Day, this great video summarizes the work of JNF USA in helping Israel conserve its water. The JNF supports hydroponic farms, wastewater recycling and helped fund Israel’s largest artificial lake that has turned Beersheva in the Negev desert into a water city.
Moshav in Vietnam
Four young Vietnamese men have started an organic farm in Khanh Hoa province after training in Israel. It is based on the Israeli Moshav communal farm system. It grows coconuts, pomelos, guavas, grapes, jackfruits, mangos, and herbal medicine plants, as well as raising chickens and sheep.
Most resilient Middle East country
The Institute of Economics, Society and Peace in the Middle East Studies ranked Israel top of its resilience list of 33 Middle East countries. Military strength was excluded but Israel scored high in economy, social, gender equality, global openness, plus ethnic and religious variance.
Leaders of Tomorrow
Discussion on I24 News about the first Abraham Accords Virtual Social Hackathon (reported here 14th Mar). The 3-day Hackathon began on 23rd Mar.
“Nobel Prize” for Math again. For the second year in a row (see here for last year) an Israeli has won a share of the Norwegian Academy of Science’s Abel Prize – the math equivalent of a Nobel Prize. Israel’s Avi Wigderson won the 2021 prize for contributions to theoretical computer science and discrete mathematics.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Satellite orbit launch closes the circle
Professor Pini Gurfil of Israel’s Technion Institute is the mastermind of the project to launch 3 nano satellites into orbit from Kazakhstan. Ironically, Kazakhstan is where USSR dictator Stalin had exiled Prof. Gurfil’s father and grandparents to, just because they were Jewish.
3D printed communications in space
The first 3D printed integrated radiofrequency (RF) circuit from Israel’s Nano Dimension has been sent to the International Space Station (ISS) for space effects studies. The circuit will be used to transmit data to and from the ISS, to assess if such components can withstand the rigors of space.
30-second baggage disinfection
The AirFort machines from Israel’s WarpUV use a 3D array of UV lights to disinfect travel bags and packages. They will help stop the spread of bacteria, spores and the viruses that cause, seasonal influenza, Covid-19, and viruses yet to come. WarpUV plans to start delivering AirForts this year.
Turn your smartphone into a 3D studio
Israel’s TetaVi (reported here previously) is developing a system to transform a regular smartphone into a portable broadcast-quality video studio. It will enable users to create 3D holograms of themselves and project themselves into a video game, on a concert stage or anywhere they want.
A new Industrial Revolution
The flagship product, DataMind AI from Israel’s Razor Labs transforms heavy industrial machinery into smart machines. The manufacturing process is transferred to the cloud, integrating with the machine’s sensors remotely, reducing resources and the CO2 footprint.
Israel’s Datagen Technologies develops visual simulations and recreations of the real world. It allows machine learning models to be trained more efficiently and at a far greater scale. It eliminates current bottlenecks of relying on manually collected real-world imagery.
Sporting success is all in the mind
Israel’s iBrainTech (reported here previously) was runner up in the Israeli round of the Startup World Cup 2021. A sports player uses a brain sensory cap to control a screen avatar just with their mind. Training the brain improves co-ordination etc. and results in better performances on the field.
Solving sustainability challenges
Sapir Academic College and the Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council hosted ECO-thon to help companies reduce their environmental impact, while helping the population of the western Negev. ZutaCore won the competition section with its “energy from computer cooling” solution.
Israel’s hi-tech election
Israel employed several hi-tech innovations for the 2021 elections. They included “Vote & Go” polling stations with taxi transport for coronavirus patients and quarantined citizens. Incoming air passengers could vote at Ben Gurion airport and drones redirected voters stuck in traffic jams.
Google’s Israeli microchip development center
Google is expanding in Israel by establishing an Israeli team to develop microprocessors for computer servers. These will comprise Systems on Chip (SoC), where multiple functions sit on the same chip, or on multiple chips instead of the traditional motherboard.
Israel’s Teramount has developed the Photonic-Plug, for connecting optics to silicon. Silicon-photonics is the process that sees ‘speed-of-light data transfer’ at low power consumption. Teramount’s breakthrough will ease bandwidth challenges from 5G rollout, sensors, and mobility systems.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Israel’s Composite State of the Economy Index for February increased by 0.4 percent, due to the easing of restrictions in the third lockdown. Positive factors were more job vacancies, services revenues, building starts and retail trade revenues. A survey also showed increased optimism amongst business leaders.
Didn’t they do well
The Bank of Israel grew its reserves of foreign currency deposits by some $47.3 billion in 2020. It bought foreign currency to keep Israel’s shekel from soaring in value, which damages Israeli exports. The Bank invested these reserves and, despite low interest rates, made 4% profit – its highest in 5 years.
Look who is flying to Israel
Passengers with travel exceptions can travel to Israel using several airlines. They include El Al, Israir, United, Delta, Lufthansa, Swiss, Ethiopian, Wizzair, Air Canada, Air France, Belavia, Ryanair, Austrian, Turkish, AirMoldovia, Aegean, Europa, Pegasus, Easyjet, Ukraine and FlyDubai.
A socially aware cell phone company
Israeli cell phone company Partner and the 8200 Impact accelerator have partnered to solve social problems of equality, empathy, inclusivity, and doing good to help emerge from the financial crisis. Their aim is to support builders of solutions to social problems using technology.
Twitter acquires Reshuffle
Israeli startup Reshuffle, which develops an integration platform for developers, has been acquired by Twitter to help build its new Twitter API. Reshuffle has built an integration platform that lets developers easily build workflows and connect systems using any API.
Fyber exits for $600 million
Digital Turbine, Inc. is set to acquire Israeli-founded Fyber N.V. for $600 million. Fyber says its platform helps app developers monetize their products and optimize profitability through quality advertising, with its technology infrastructure reaching more than one billion monthly active users.
Israel’s Yotpo (see here) has just raised $230 million to give it a market valuation of $1.4 billion. Simultaneously, Israel’s Orca Security (see here) raised $210 million for a $1.2 billion valuation.
Israel’s Surgical Theater, Theator & TytoCare made Fast Company’s 2021 world list of most innovative companies. Beewise was the most innovative company in Europe, Middle East & North Africa with Quantum Machines 4th. Identiq (2nd) and PerimeterX (7th) were top innovative security companies.
Investment in Israeli startups:
Yotpo raised $230 million; Orca Security raised $210 million; Incredibuild raised $140 million; Veev raised $100 million; StarkWare raised $75 million; Axis Security raised $50 million; SCADAFence raised $12 million; Utilis raised $6 million;
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT`
Virtual tours of Israel
For those currently unable to physically visit Israel, Israel is Beautiful offers instant access to original and informative virtual tiyulim (tours) in Israel.
Laughter and Music in Ra’anana
Celebrate spring and freedom with comedy and song. One of Israel’s top stand-up comedians, Yohay Sponder performs live at Center Stage in English on 1st & 17th April. Also, Evan Kent’s Musical “Shards, Putting the Pieces Together” on 21st April. Plus, “On Cue” Interviews on Zoom.
CBS to remake Shtisel
CBS Studios says that it is developing an American adaptation of the popular Netflix-distributed Israeli drama “Shtisel.” It is described as a modern take on “Romeo and Juliet” and will be a TV directing debut for Oscar-winner Kenneth Lonergan. Fremantle is the co-studio.
Israel to host world flag football championship
Israel will host the Flag Football World Championships in Jerusalem from Dec. 6-8, 2021. More than 40 teams from up to 30 countries will compete for the world title that was postponed in 2020 due to the Covid pandemic. Jerusalem hosted the 2019 European Championships.
Nigerian female basketball star’s Israel tours
Nigerian international basketball player Rosalyn Gold-Onwude has a Russian Jewish mother and a Nigerian father. She toured Israel with Birthright and then as a staff member on her sister’s tour. Rosalyn loved Israel and spent Shabbat with her mother’s Jerusalem family.
Two gold medals and more
Israeli gymnast Linoy Ashram won the all-around gold medal in the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup in Sofia, Bulgaria. She then won a second gold medal in the ball event a day later. To round off the tournament, Linoy won a bronze medal in the hoop event.
THE JEWISH STATE
Unleavening the playing field
Two Israeli matzah world records. 200 residents in the city of Modi’in built a 5.4-meter tower of 950 matzahs and chocolate spread (recycled into chocolate balls). Then the Matzot Aviv factory in Bnei Brak baked the world’s largest single matzah, some 6 meters by 1.06 meters.
One of the safest places in the world
Every month. Bloomberg calculates the best places to be during the pandemic based on a series of statistics. In time for the Passover festival, Israel became the first new entrant into the top five since the ranking began in November.
All who are hungry come and eat
This Passover, even more than previous years, Charity Colel Chabad is fulfilling the mission to feed and clothe Israel’s poorest citizens – Jews, Arabs, Druze, and Christians alike. Its dozens of programs include Pantry Packers, 23 soup kitchens, lunch-bags for kids and Passover Seder-in-a-Box.
A glimpse of Passover in the Holy Land
In Israel, the Passover holiday is particularly special as practically the entire country celebrates. Jerusalem came back to life, just in time for Passover. Hopefully, it will be “Next Year in Jerusalem” for many more visitors and new immigrants.