A taste of Tunisia and Morocco; Saving life in Jerusalem; Tech research institute; and much more!
By: Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Israel is recording less than 100 new Covid-19 cases a day, with under 1,600 total infections. Swimming pools, gyms and dining at restaurants are to be opened even to the unvaccinated. And a new Israeli report shows that any country can control Covid-19 if more than 50% of the over-60s are vaccinated.
Masks cut asthma and allergies
A study by Israel’s Sheba Medical Center has concluded that the wearing of facemasks protected many citizens not only from Covid-19 but also from asthma and allergies. Urgent visits to Sheba’s emergency unit during the pandemic by asthma patients dropped by 49% and hospitalizations by 65%.
Nose spray blocks Covid variants
In recent trials at Israel’s Sheba Medical Center, the Taffix nose spray from Israel’s Nasus (see here previously) blocked 100 percent” of the British and South African variants of SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Poised to transform brain surgery
Israel’s Tamar Robotics (see here previously) is developing a surgical robot to revolutionize brain surgery. It will give doctors a minimally invasive tool to remove tumors and blood clots and treat other brain conditions that now require major surgery. See video of founder Professor Shohan.
Proteins that cause intestinal disease
Researchers from Tel Aviv University have developed an Artificial Intelligence platform that can identify the specific proteins that allow bacteria to infect the intestines. It should lead to new therapeutics that can neutralize the proteins and prevent disease, eliminating the use of antibiotics.
Opening the arteries
MultiGeneAngio from Israel’s VESSL Therapeutics is in human trials for treating peripheral and coronary artery disease. The patient’s cells are extracted, enhanced with genes and re-implanted, to increase blood flow to oxygen-starved muscles. And VESSL’s MultiGeneGraft treats end-stage renal disease.
Scientists at Israel’s Technion Institute have new technology for bone and soft tissue repair. Instead of grafting bone from elsewhere in the body, they used stem cells from the soft tissue inside discarded teeth. They then combined this with other cells to repair spinal cord in laboratory tests.
European approval for smart
VF treatment. Israel’s AIVF (see here previously) has received the CE Mark for its unique AI IVF analysis platform that avoids risky biopsies. AIVF’s system improves the success of IVF treatment – a costly and invasive process. US approval is now also being sought.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Arab woman is Vice President of Hebrew U
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem has elected Professor Mona Khoury-Kassbari Vice President of Strategy and Diversity. She will be responsible for broadening the mix of faculty members and students from Orthodox Jews, Arabs, Ethiopians and those with disabilities.
Saving life in Jerusalem
Khaled is one of nearly 700 Muslim paramedics in United Hatzalah – Israel’s emergency medical organization. During Ramadan, Khaled fasts during the day but still responds to all calls and treats patients of all religions equally.
Making every drop of water count
Great video of Israel’s globally enhancing water technologies. A single drop of saltwater taken from the Mediterranean, travels from an Israeli desalination plant to a domestic tap, is drunk, re-cycled, and piped across Israel to water crops via Israeli drip irrigation. Hardly a drop is lost.
La Parisien promotes post-Covid Israel
Israel’s success in beating coronavirus attracts much attention in the international media. French magazine Le Parisien devoted a cover story to Israel as an example of “life after Covid”. It describes a busy Tel Aviv and Israel’s unprecedented national vaccination operation.
Israeli and UAE jets in exercise together
Israeli Air Force planes flew alongside Emirati aircraft week as part of the Iniohos international aerial exercise hosted by Greece. The other countries involved were Cyprus, France, the US, Spain and Canada. The UAE and Israel flew together also in 2017 and 2019 (see here previously).
Another agreement signed with UAE
Israel and the UAE signed a bilateral accord to tackle pandemics, cybersecurity and data protection. The agreement will also see the enactment of large-scale joint economic and health-related projects. Minister Yuli Edelstein said it would “bolster Israel’s healthcare system”.
AI for social good
Google has partnered Tel Aviv University to launch a new program to promote AI-related multidisciplinary research for the benefit of society. AI for Social Good selected 10 researchers who are using Artificial Intelligence to advance humanity by addressing major global social issues.
Aid to Uruguay
Ethiopia, India & Caribbean. Doctors from Israel’s Sheba Medical Center are heading to Uruguay to help it tackle coronavirus. Also, from Assuta Ashdod Hospital to Ethiopia and equipment from Israel’s SmartAID to India. And IsraAID responders go to the Caribbean following a major volcanic eruption.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Intel to build “chips of the future” in Haifa
Tech giant Intel is to set up a new $200 million campus in Haifa to develop the “chips of the future.” It intends to recruit 1,000 Israeli employees plus 400 more for its Habana labs subsidiary. Competition will be fierce as Microsoft, Facebook and Nvidia all have Israeli expansion plans.
Amazon partners Israeli quantum research
Amazon Web Services’ Center for Quantum Computing is funding research at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem to advance the understanding of quantum gates – the basic building blocks of quantum computers. It will help develop a scalable, universal quantum computer.
Tech research institute
NGO Start-Up Nation Central connects international business and government leaders with Israeli technology. Founded by US philanthropist Paul Singer, it is now setting up a new economic research and policy institute in Israel that will help continue the growth of Israel’s tech sector and economy.
An ocean of innovation
Start-Up Nation Central has also partnered Israel’s Arieli Capital in launching OceanTech, a new seas and oceans innovation community. It aims to promote and recruit technologies and startups from Israel that work with the waters across the world and help protect this precious global asset.
US Act to fund joint Israeli cybersecurity projects
A bipartisan group of US senators have introduced the US-Israel Cybersecurity Cooperation Enhancement Act. It assigns $6 million annually in funding for five years to support joint cybersecurity Research and Development, plus develop cybersecurity technologies.
Fraud protection for a billion users
Israel’s Forter (see here previously) has just joined the Adobe Exchange Partner Program to help Adobe Magento e-commerce clients block fraud, reduce false declines and increase business. Forter’s ecosystem processes $200+ billion in online transactions and protects nearly a billion users.
Alt Meat from fermented plants
Israel’s Chunk Foods uses proprietary fermentation technology to make healthy, realistic, beef alternatives from plants. It uses non-GMO ingredients to produce whole muscle cuts of beef such as sirloin, chuck or ribs.
More milk that never saw a cow
Israel’s BioMilk develops lab-cultured cow milk (see here for others) from mammary cells. It has a similar composition to commercial cow milk but with less hormones and antibiotics. It is also free of synthetic or plant additives. BioMilk has just opened trading on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
3D-printed vegan burger is too perfect
CTech was invited to Israel’s SavorEat (see here previously) to eat a freshly 3D-printed, auto-cooked plant-based burger. The verdict – great taste and technically perfect but lacking the personal touch of a “messy” hand-cooked burger. Some things can be too good!
Hi-tech, low-sugar chocolate spreads
Israel’s DouxMatok (see here previously) has unveiled its first food products made with its revolutionary low-calorie Incredo Sugar. Its Hazelnut Cocoa and Dark Cocoa Salted Caramel are organic, gluten-free, non-GMP, and free of palm oil and artificial flavors, colors and preservatives.
Garden furniture from recycled plastic
Israel’s UBQ (see here previously) is partnering Israel’s Keter to incorporate UBQ’s recycled thermoplastic into multiple product lines for garden furniture. They want to set an industry example of sustainable manufacturing as a simple, cost-effective, and necessary choice.
See with sound
Professor Amir Amedi of the School of Psychology at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, has developed technology, an algorithm and training that enables people to see through sound.
eGold’s fulfillment center in Ashdod is operated almost entirely using machine learning and an algorithm that manages the work of scores of individual robots. Other similar Israeli facilities use robotic technology from Israel’s Caja Robotics (see here) and Fabric (see here).
Extracting oxygen from the Moon
Israel’s Helios has developed technology to produce oxygen from the lunar soil. It will be tested in two future missions as a possible basis for sustainable lunar colonies, or at least, the ability to provide fuel for the return leg of a lunar mission. Lunar soil contains about 42% oxygen.
Decoding whale talk
Five Israeli scientists have joined Project CETI – Cetacean Translation Initiative, an international project aimed at listening into and understanding the language of sperm whales. They are using AI to determine the meaning of the clicking sounds at different frequencies that whales make when they meet.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Top 20 for GDP per capita
For the first time in its history, International Monetary Fund data ranks Israel among the top 20 economies for GDP per capita (economic output per person) – a key measure of a nation’s prosperity. Israel’s $43,689 is the 19th highest, above Canada, New Zealand, and the UK.
Israeli startups give jobs to thousands of Europeans
On the 25th anniversary of EU-Israel business relations data shows that 912 Israeli startups in the EU and UK employ 24,223 local workers. More than a third work in information and software technology, plus others in internet, telecommunications, biomedical, and cleantech.
Israeli startups hit the roof again
More than 200 Israeli entrepreneurs, investors, and bankers held a “Tech on the Roof” event on a rooftop in Jaffa. They celebrated the end of Covid and the return to a sense of normalcy. Also see this link to Jon Medved’s OurCrowd presentation on Israel’s recent record tech investment.
Job opportunities in hi-tech
Israel’s tech industry currently numbers 334,000 employees, constituting nearly 10% of all Israeli employees. Although the number of computer science graduates has increased nearly 50% since 2019, there are still currently 13,000 vacant tech positions in Israel.
Blackstone arrives in Israel
Blackstone Group is one of the world’s largest investment companies. Its recent decision to open an Israeli office has huge positive implications for Israeli startups. Israel’s former Ambassador to the United Nations, Dan Gillerman, will become chairman of Blackstone Israel.
From New York to Israel
Israeli-founded Cherre launched its real estate data management and analytics platform in New York in 2016. Due to a huge exodus of hi-tech developers from New York, Cherre is now opening an R&D center in Israel, using part of a recent $50 million investment to hire 20 Israeli developers.
A digital wallet for Bitcoin
Israel’s ZenGo has developed a mobile wallet for retail investors to store and process cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin. Its keyless wallet uses advanced cryptography and supports both Android and iOS smartphones. ZenGo processed transactions worth $100 million in the first 3 months of 2021.
Israel’s 10th Unicorn of 2021
Israel’s Deel offers a global payroll solution to help 500 companies hire anyone, in over 150 countries, compliantly and in minutes. Its latest $156 million funding raised Deel’s market valuation to $1.25 billion, making it Israel’s 10th new financial Unicorn this year. https://www.letsdeel.com/
Investment in Israeli startups:
Deel raised $156 million; Deep Instinct raised $100 million; Guesty raised $50 million; Placer.ai raised $50 million; BigID raised $30 million; Zengo raised $20 million; VESSL Therapeutics raised $16 million; Riverside.fm raised $9.5 million; AirEye raised $8 million; Materials Zone raised $6 million; Loris.ai raised $5.1 million; Chunk Foods raised $2 million;
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT`
Praise for Israel in new book
The book “Israel: A Simple Guide to the Most Misunderstood Country on Earth” by Israeli actress, writer, producer and activist Noa Tishby explains Israel’s complicated history. Noa both sings Israel’s praises and addresses the myths promoted by those who want to destroy the Jewish state.
A taste of Tunisia and Morocco
Chen Koren’s store “A Box From the Shuk,” in Jerusalem’s Machane Yehuda market allows people to get a taste of the history and culture of Tunisia and Morocco.
Jerusalem sounds of music
Sharon joined a music-accompanied tour of Jerusalem with Tour de Sound. It was led by tour guide and cellist Daniel Schwartz together with his brother Yedidia – a professional violinist with the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. Another great way to enjoy Jerusalem’s streets.
1600-year-old mosaic unearthed
An impressive 1,600-year-old mosaic, found during excavations in Israel’s southern city of Yavne, is to be placed on public display at the city’s cultural center. It is in excellent condition and the first time that such a pavement has been uncovered in Yavne.
Israel in Minecraft
Two Israelis have launched an ambitious campaign to build a 1:1 scale map of Israel, as accurately as possible, in the popular Minecraft video game.
FIBA cup winners
Israel’s Ironi Ness Ziona beat Stal Ostrow Wielkopolski of Poland 82-74 to become the first Israeli team to win FIBA’s prestigious International Basketball Federation Europe Cup.
THE JEWISH STATE
Birthright to resume free trips to Israel
Birthright Israel is resuming free trips to Israel in May for all eligible adults from the United States who are vaccinated or fully recovered from the coronavirus. Dozens of trips are expected in May and June with more than 400 tour groups planned for July, August and October.
Israel welcomes 104 new immigrants
104 Olim (new immigrants) from North America arrived this week at Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion Airport, aged from four months to 98 years. 35 had joined the KKL-Nefesh B’Nefesh “Go Beyond” program, providing enhanced packages to those moving to Israel’s periphery and Jerusalem.
Free guesthouse for survivors
Dr. Mike Evans, founder of the Friends of Zion Museum, has opened a $3 million guesthouse in Jerusalem. It is intended for survivors of the Shoah to stay at, free of charge, when celebrating their long overdue Bar/Bat Mitzvah in Jerusalem. 300 survivors have already registered.
Solomon’s silver traced to Spain
A British archaeologist claims that “Solomon’s Hill” in Rio Tinto, Spain is where gold and silver were mined on King Solomon’s behalf. Isotope analysis shows ancient silver hoards found in Israel originated in Spain. There is also evidence that nearby Huelva is the biblical capital of Tarshish.