Israeli dedicates goal to Meron victims; Award for Technion volunteer; Molecular tweezers to destroy bacteria; and much more!
by: Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Success in trials of multiple myeloma treatment
Israel’s BioLineRx (see here previously) has reported positive results in the Phase 3 trial of its Motixafortide treatment in combination with G-CSF for multiple myeloma. The treatment demonstrated improvement from five-fold to 14-fold compared to the control.
Cancer-fighting bacteria to begin Phase 2 trials
Israel’s NeoTX Therapeutics (see here Mar 2020) has had FDA approval to begin Phase 2a human trials of its Naptumomab Estafenatox (NAP) treatment for non-small cell lung cancer. NAP binds bacteria to the tumor while activating tumor specific immune cells.
Brain stimulation approved for major depression
Israel’s BrainsWay (see here previously) has received US FDA clearance for its 3-minute Theta Burst treatment protocol for Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). Patients demonstrate meaningful reduction in depression scores after the treatment.
Machine learning to identify antiviral molecules
Scientists from Israel’s Technion Institute and Ben Gurion University are discovering molecules to fight viruses. They trained a neural network using known treatments and then reversed the process to identify previously untested molecules that bind to and disable virus proteins.
Molecular tweezers to destroy bacteria
Researchers from Israel’s Ben-Gurion University and elsewhere have developed “molecular tweezers” to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The tweezers destroy the biofilm that protects the bacteria against the immune system. Bacteria cannot develop resistance to this method of attack.
Smart training for medical personnel
Israel’s Edocate has developed an app to help educate Health Care Professionals (HCPs) in the management of patients with chronic conditions (e.g. diabetes). Its virtual patient simulation platform allows HCPs to “learn by doing” and “learn by making mistakes” in a no-risk environment.
Digital systems keep Americans healthy
Israel’s Aidoc (see here) is to provide its CT image analysis AI system for Radiology Partners, whose radiologists work in 10% of all US hospitals. Another Israeli startup DayTwo (see here) has had much success in the US with its microbiome analysis program for diabetics.
Nephrologist donates his own kidney
Dr. Aharon Bloch of Hadassah Medical Center is the first Israeli nephrologist to donate a kidney to a stranger. He made the decision after the passing of Rabbi Yeshayahu Heber, the founder of the NGO “Gift of Life” (see here) whom he treated.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
A second chance
One of the amazing programs of the Friends of the IDF (FIDF) is Project Overcome. It gives troubled youths a chance to reform their behavior and gain life skills relevant for army service and later as civilians. During IDF service, they can achieve a clean slate, new abilities and start a path to a better future.
(Uri’s story – from Ethiopia, to criminal to paratrooper)
On the day following the tragedy at Israel’s Mount Meron, blood donation sites were set up nationwide. By the onset of Shabbat, 2,208 donations had been collected, including from the Prime Minister. Nearby Arab and Druze towns provided refreshments and makeshift rest stations for Jews leaving the area.
Award for Technion volunteer
Lina Maudlej a master’s student at Israel’s Technion Institute, won Israel’s Council for Higher Education Award for Social Involvement in the Community. Her extensive volunteering activities include supporting Arab students and non-profits, reducing food waste, and increasing recycling.
Iftar and Eid
Samaria Regional Council chief Yossi Dagan hosted an Iftar meal for 20 Palestinian Arab clerics and businessmen to break the Ramadan fast. Guests from the UAE joined in by Zoom. Also, Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenaz hosted an end of Ramadan Eid al-Fitr event for Muslim ambassadors to Israel.
Blind Israeli Arab changes perceptions
Arab Israeli Saleem is one of only a few blind Muslims who has a guide dog, as many Muslims consider dogs to be impure. By showing fellow Muslims how Winston, Saleem’s guide dog, has truly improved his life, they are starting to understand that having a dog is not a bad thing.
EU approves non-essential travel to Israel
Israel has been added to a European Union safe list for countries that the EU says should be allowed to freely travel to Europe for tourism. Travel to the 27 countries of the EU is currently extremely limited except for citizens of a handful of countries with low coronavirus infection rates.
Sharing success on Turkish TV
HonestReporting CEO Daniel Pomerantz appeared on Turkish English-language news outlet “A News” to discuss Israel’s success in battling the Covid-19 pandemic. He delivered the key message that Israel can be a role model for modern Western democracies.
Growing avocados in Morocco
Israel’s Mehadrin (see here) has signed an agreement with a Moroccan company, under which it will grow crops outside Israel for the first time. It will lease some 5,000 dunams (1,125 acres) in Morocco to grow up to 10,000 tonnes of avocado per year mainly for export to Europe.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Lighting the way to new planets
NASA’s TESS satellite is looking for planets around stars by analyzing the light that the stars emit. The European Space Agency’s Gaia satellite is mapping our galaxy, also using light. Tel Aviv University scientists have built a system to cross-check data from both and speed up the search.
Charging up into outer space
NASA has given approval for Israel’s fast battery charging startup StoreDot to conduct research into new battery materials on the International Space Station (ISS). It will be one of Israel’s 44 Rakia Program experiments performed during next year’s space mission of Israeli astronaut Eytan Stibbe.
Two Israelis won medals at the 2021 European Girls Mathematical Olympiad (EGMO). Competing against 213 participants from 54 countries, Rehovot’s Noga Friedman won a gold medal and Herzliya’s Ya’ara Shulman a silver. The Israeli team finished ninth overall.
This article describes 3 Israeli startups developing software for speech therapy. Amplio was reported here recently and NovoTalk (see here in 2016) is working with Hadassah in Jerusalem and Mount Sinai in New York. Meanwhile, TikTalk has eight video games to help children with speech-sound disorders.
AI to the Middle East
Israeli VC fund Disruptive AI set up its AI-SQUARE Forum in Jan 2021, to connect the Artificial Intelligence (AI) innovation ecosystems of Arab countries and Israel. The platform is now being expanded to Turkey, bringing it AI solutions for Banking/Insurance, Telecom, Retail/Commerce, and more.
Partnership for hi-tech manufacturing
US computer and software services company PTC is funding a NIS 15 million R&D center at Israel’s Technion Institute to study advanced manufacturing technologies. It includes industrial IoT (Internet of Things), augmented reality, simulation, and generative design software.
Uniting design & development
Israel’s Anima takes designs and automatically converts them into code – saving time and money for organizations. It also produces the end results that the designers intended.
Israel’s Amai Proteins (see here previously) is close to launching its hyper-sweet sugar substitute. It has signed a deal with OceanSpray to produce sugar-reduced cranberry juice. It now has 5 PhD employees and 20 “super tasters” and is moving out from R&D premises into a large pilot production facility.
More vegan eggs
Israel’s SavorEat (see here previously) has joined the list of Israeli startups producing egg alternatives (see here for others). Its new subsidiary company Egg’n’up says its proprietary plant-based ingredients retain the egg’s taste, texture, nutrition, appearance and culinary properties.
Recycling old tires (tyres)
Tires are the world’s largest source of waste rubber. 290 million tires are discarded each year in the US alone. Israel’s EcoTech Recycling has developed a thermodynamic process that turns waste rubber into Active Rubber – a nontoxic synthetic material for making new tires, auto parts and insulation.
Lightweight electric motor
Israel’s EVR Motors has unveiled its new small, lightweight electric motor. The TSRF (Trapezoidal Stator Radial Flux) will feature at the Ecomotion Week virtual event May 18 – 20 2021. The new TSRF produces higher power for less cost and supports voltages from 48V to 800V.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Economic trends during Covid
Ambassador Yoram Ettinger provides an excellent review of Israel’s economic performance compared to other world economies, during the pandemic.
Where no Israeli startup has gone before
Jon Medved, CEO of Israel’s OurCrowd, explains that partnering with the Gulf countries “is allowing Israel to penetrate markets we’ve never dreamed of in Southeast Asia and around the broader Islamic world”.
A smart industrial zone in Dubai
Israel’s Tefen consultancy group (see here), led by Mally Bitzur-Parnes, is to Project Manage the building of an industrial zone in Dubai where the factories will be operated by robots with almost no human contact. Tefen is also bidding on a tender for the construction of a new airport in Dubai.
New VC club to boost UK – Israel investments
The UK-Israel Tech Hub has launched a Venture Capital “club,” – an invite-only forum of VC funds from the UK and Israel. Its aim is to raise the amount of investment from UK investors into Israeli startups. It will also identify opportunities for Israeli VCs in the UK ecosystem.
Israel sparkles again
Israel’s diamond industry is recovering from the coronavirus pandemic exceptionally well. In the first quarter 2021, rough diamond imports increased by 75% and exports by 66%. Imports and exports of polished diamonds also increased. In March, volumes soared substantially.
Intel injects £600 million into MobilEye
US chip giant, Intel is to invest $600 million into MobilEye – its Israeli autonomous vehicle hi-tech company. Intel is the largest private-sector employer in Israel.
Innovation for Mitsubishi
Trendlines Agrifood – the Investment vehicle of Israel’s Trendlines, is partnering Mitsubishi Corporation to help the Japanese giant tap into the Israeli innovation ecosystem across several key industries. Trendlines Agrifood and its partners are developing an innovative agri-food tech ecosystem.
Can we visit Israel?
Although tourist travel to Israel is limited, first-degree relatives of Israeli citizens can visit, and some groups are starting tours in late May. Then from July package tours and vaccinated individual tourists can travel here. Meanwhile, the Tourist Israel website lists the airlines currently flying to Tel Aviv.
Fintech partnership to expand credit services
The new business alliance between Israeli-founded Prytek and Israel’s CRiskCo will provide added credit capabilities to Prytek’s Karbon managed services platform.
A Jewish AirBNB
Israeli-founded Jstay is developing a free app for Jewish travelers to find the right place to stay. It differs from AirBNB in that Jstay is geared for people who need specifically Jewish services when they travel such as kosher food and local Jewish communities and synagogues for Sabbath observers.
$20 million of satellite equipment
Israel’s Gilat Satellite Networks (see here previously) has received orders of over $20 million for gateway amplifiers of its Wavestream US subsidiary. These Solid State Power Amplifiers (SSPAs) support communications on Low Earth Orbit (LEO) constellation satellites.
Renewable energy company gets a boost
Migdal Insurance, Israel’s largest insurance company and pension manager is to invest up to $355 million in Israeli renewable energy company Doral (see here). It includes $110 million for a 20% stake in Doral, $100 million for Doral’s Indiana solar project and $130 million of credit.
Investment in Israeli startups:
HoneyBook raised $155 million; VAST Data raised $83 million; Locusview raised $64 million; Vim raised $60 million; Cymulate raised $45 million; Connecteam raised $37 million; Pecan AI raised $35 million; IRP Systems raised $31 million; Akeyless raised $14 million; Unic-Tech raised $8 million; Edocate raised $3 million;
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT`
Cultural agreement with UAE
The National Library of Israel (NLI) in Jerusalem and the National Archives of the United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi have signed a historic memorandum of understanding (MoU). It covers cultural exchange, including conferences, exhibitions, workshops, study tours and training.
Paralympic rower wins European silver
Israel’s Moran Samuel won a silver medal in the 2km event at the European Rowing Championships in Lake Varese, Italy. There was no medal ceremony due to the pandemic and the medalists instead collected their own awards from an empty podium.
Israel-Russian beats tennis number 1
Russian-Israeli Aslan Karatsev beat world number one Novak Djokovic in the semifinals of the Serbian Open in Belgrade. Karatsev grew up in Israel but now plays for Russia. He recently rose from 114th in the world to number 28 and probably now will be even higher.
THE JEWISH STATE
Jacob Richman’s resources for Sun/Mon Jerusalem Day include a Trivia Quiz, 7,000 photos, 108 videos, 55 songs and 230 relevant website links. Also, KKL-JNF has released never-before-seen photos of Jerusalem. And The city itself prepares for the big day. Yom Yerushalayim Sameach!
https://jewish-trivia.com https://jr.co.il/jerusalem/index.html https://jr.co.il/videos/jerusalem-videos.htm http://bit.ly/spotify-jrichman-jerusalem
Jerusalem as never seen before
Artist Eitan Asraf has produced this unique film in time for Jerusalem Day. He spotlights the sacred, quaint and chic; famous and lesser-known sites and the timeless melting pot of Israeli culture and society. Bird’s-eye views, sunrises, sunsets and the seasons. Jerusalem – the center of the world.
Ancient lamp found in Jerusalem
Archaeologists discovered a rare bronze oil lamp, shaped like a grotesque face that was cut in half, during excavations in Jerusalem’s City of David National Park. It seems to have been placed in the foundations of a building on Pilgrimage Road, to bring good fortune to the building’s residents.
The prolific scribe of the Dead Sea Scrolls
Artificial Intelligence used by Dutch scientists has identified that a single scribe was responsible for eight of the 2000-year-old Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in Israel’s Qumran caves. It makes him the most prolific sofer ever identified.
Israeli dedicates goal to Meron victims
On Sunday, Israel’s Shon Weissman, scored a goal for Spanish soccer club Real Valladolid, which he then dedicated to the 45 victims of the Mount Meron tragedy. Instead of celebrating, Weissman repeatedly gestured with his fingers the numbers 4 and 5 and pointed to the heavens.
IDF helps survivor celebrate 100th birthday
Shoah survivor Yisrael just celebrated his 100th birthday. He survived the Transnistria Ghetto and then fought with the Red Army against the Germans during World War II. Watch as IDF Home Front Command soldiers surprised him and enlisted him as an honorary IDF Officer.