Good News Israel Archive from the week of April 17, 2016: Israel’s Gamida Cell reported good results from Duke University trials of its NiCord blood cancer treatment; With the new app from Israeli startup Bonshine you can order a waterless car cleaning at your location, and much more.
By: Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Blood cancer treatment success
Israel’s Gamida Cell reported good results from Duke University trials of its NiCord blood cancer treatment. Compared with 101 patients receiving ordinary umbilical cord blood, the 18 patients using NiCord had a lower mortality rate, less infections and less time in hospital post-transplantation.
More cancer tests
Israel’s Rosetta Genomics has made three major additions to its unique molecular diagnostic testing service. They are for hematologic cancers (e.g. leukemia, lymphomas and myeloma), BRAF mutation analysis for lung cancer and NRAS mutation analysis for colon cancer.
Preventing hospital infections
Two Israeli companies have partnered to cut the risk of patient infections dramatically in 10 hospitals in the US, Switzerland and Israel. Hyginex wristbands, sensors and beacons use Atomation’s IoT platform to capture data on staff hand washing and vibrate to remind them before and after patient contact.
Curing Russian children of bone disease
Doctors at Hadassah University Medical Centre in Jerusalem successfully treated 15 children from Russia who suffer from osteopetrosis, a rare and fatal genetic bone disease. In the northern Russian Republic of Chuvash, one of every 4,000 newborns has this condition.
World’s first nuclear imaging machine
Israeli patients will be the first in the world to enjoy a first-of-its-kind hybrid nuclear imaging scanner, at Haifa’s Rambam Hospital. Doctors can map tissues and bones and identify diseases including cancer, heart and kidney diseases, broken bones, and infections.
A mechanical pacemaker beats them all
Scientists at Israel’s Technion Institute have trained cardiac cells to beat using mechanical stimuli that do not come into contact with the cells. The cardiac cells continued to beat over an hour after the mechanical stimulus ceased. It could lead to development of more effective pacemakers.
Cancer victim gets new 3D printed jaw
Doctors at the Poriya hospital near Tiberias treated a patient suffering from a large tumor in the back of his jaw by replacing the damaged part with a titanium copy that they made using a 3-D printer. The patient started to eat normally only a few hours after his surgery.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Award for Naomi Campbell
On International Women’s Day, Israel’s ex-President Shimon Peres presented supermodel Naomi Campbell with the “Women Leading Change” award in recognition of her global endeavors for women and for needy communities. It was Campbell’s first visit to Israel.
Women who lead by example
Twelve Israelis are featured in this Timeout article to mark International Women’s Day.
A video of posters published by Elder of Zion that shows how Arabs are well- integrated into Israeli society.
Israeli-Arab boy fulfils his dream
Ali Salati, a 13-year-old Israeli Arab boy from Nazareth, realized his dream when he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to ask him “to make every effort to bring peace and unity to the whole region.”
Scholarships for IDF Christian veterans
The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews and the Israeli Christians Recruitment Forum is awarding academic scholarships to 40 Christians who served in Israel’s armed forces or performed national service. The IFCJ awarded scholarships to Druze students in Aug.
Bedouin who patrol Israel’s borders
Many Bedouin have sworn allegiance to Israel and volunteer their tracking skills to the IDF. Major Guy Gadir, 41, a veteran Bedouin tracker, shares the secrets of his trade with MailOnline.
African Muslim leaders visit Israel
Imams and other Muslim religious leaders from six central African states spent four days in Israel, discovering the socio-political aspects of Israel; generating an interreligious, intercultural dialogue; and exploring economic and agricultural cooperation development.
Abbas’ brother treated in Israel
The brother of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is being treated for cancer at Tel Aviv’s Assuta Medical Center. 76-year-old Abu Luay, who lives in Qatar, decided specifically to come to the Tel Aviv hospital for treatment, where other members of Abbas’s family have been treated in the past.
Sick lion rescued from Gaza
A lion in declining health was rescued from a zoo in Gaza and transferred to a zoo in the Palestinian Authority in a joint effort by Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, the Gaza Ministry of Agriculture and the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture.
A joint farm with Jordan
A model farm is to be established in Jordan, to be managed by both Israeli and Jordanian experts. Its goal is to eradicate the threat that the housefly poses to agriculture on both sides of the Jordan River, and promote advanced and efficient agriculture in both Israel and Jordan.
The first IDF officer at the UN
Major Jonathan Conricus is the first Israeli officer to hold a position at the United Nations. Since Nov 2014 he has been responsible for identifying and evaluating risks in the Democratic Republic of Congo, on Boko Haram in northern Nigeria, on al-Shabaab in Somalia, and on Ukraine separatists.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Revolutionizing multi-focal lenses
Israeli dynamic multi-focal glasses startup Deep Optics (see Mar 2015 newsletter) has raised $4 million to fuel the development of its adaptive electronic liquid crystal lens technology. Deep Optics is now exploring AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality) applications.
Super-charged plant nutrition
Israel’s Haifa Group has launched its Haifa Turbo-K™ product, a chloride free fertilizer based on potassium nitrate. It also contains Phosphorus, Potassium, Magnesium, Sulfur, Iron and Zinc. Agronomists who tested it, together with growers who already used it are most impressed.
Israel’s water management success
Another report about Israel’s leadership position in water conservation. Innovations include desalination, recycling, drip irrigation, reclaimed wastewater, aquifer management, runoff collection, water storage, hi-tech systems, reservoir development and river rehabilitation.
Treating wastewater in Mexico
Israel’s Aqwise has opened its new wastewater treatment plant in Durango, Mexico. It employs Aqwise’s AGAR (Attached Growth Airlift Reactor) process that uses biofilm grown on carrier media to aerobically degrade soluble organic pollutants in wastewater. Aqwise has built over 400 plants in 35 countries.
Artificial intelligent cybersecurity
Israel’s Deep Instinct has filed five patents covering the only technology that applies deep learning to cybersecurity. Deep Instinct is the first company applying deep learning to detect malware in real-time. It can therefore detect threats that no-one has seen before.
Many companies and individuals have been forced to pay blackmailers who have used a computer “ransomware” program called “Locky” to encrypt their data files. Israel’s Ironscales successfully blocked an attack on one of Israel’s largest defense companies before an infection could take place.
Don’t let your boss know you’re job-hunting
Israeli startup Workey has launched its system for employees to seek new jobs anonymously. Workey was founded by IDF intelligence veterans whose algorithms analyze your skills and experience. You decide whether to approach suitable interested companies.
Spectral analysis with a smartphone
Israeli startup Unispectral (see Mar 2015 newsletter) is developing miniature digital cameras that can fit into smartphones and use hyper-spectral sensors that can (for example) check if fruit is fresh or whether milk contains bacteria. Unispectral has just raised $7.5 million of funding.
Innovation meets Robotics
Israeli ingenuity and know how in the field of robotics was on display at ICR2016 – the Fifth Israeli Conference on Robots in Herzliya. It featured over 120 presentations by top robotics experts.
More power to the mobile network
Israel’s Vasona Networks provides mobile network analysis tools to the top mobile network operators – such as Telefonica. Vasona’s SmartAIR edge application controller resolves cell phone congestion in real time. Vasona has just raised $14.6 million of new funds.
Waterless car wash
With the new app from Israeli startup Bonshine you can order a waterless car cleaning at your location. Bonshine’s crew comes to you, with a liquid produced from plants and five types of wax. Saves time, money and the environment.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Huge increase in foreign currency reserves
Israel’s foreign exchange reserves leapt by a record $4 billion in March to $94.775 billion. It includes $9.3 billion in the fund bought under the natural gas purchase program.
Israeli salaries rise 2.3%
At the end of 2015, the average monthly salary in Israel was NIS 9,591 (approx. $2,500) up 2.3% from the end of 2014.
Israeli startups raise $1 billion
81 Israeli startups raised a total of $1.02 billion in the first quarter of 2016 – on a par with the rate achieved in 2015. 33 startups raised over $10 million each. $149 million (12% of the total) was raised by 10 cybersecurity companies – Israel’s hottest hi-tech industry.
Record numbers travel by rail
March was a record month for passenger numbers on Israel Railways. Some 225,000 Israelis used Israel Railways on an average workday, with a total of 5.4 million rides during the month. Reasons for the increase include more frequent trains, more available seats and new stations.
Israel produces most of the world’s Medjool dates
Israel exports 30,000 tons of Medjool dates each year – between 65% and 75% of all Medjool dates exported globally. Most are grown in the Arava and Jordan valley. The Medjool date is becoming more popular due to its superior quality to other varieties.
More cybersecurity funding
Israeli cybersecurity startup EnSilo has just raised $19 million to expand its real-time data protection platform. EnSilo preempts attacks and is currently in use by a number of Fortune 100 companies along with leading defense contractors and payment solutions worldwide.
More power to the loyalty card
Israeli startup AppCard empowers thousands of retailers to market directly to their customers in a personalized way. AppCard has raised $20 million to fuel the huge growth in its business generated from the latest version of its platform and further develop its technology.
Wizz from Riga to Tel Aviv
Low-cost airline Wizz Air will operate a new flight route from Riga, Latvia, to Tel Aviv from 20th June on Mondays and Fridays. WizzAir already flies to Tel Aviv from Budapest, Bucharest, Warsaw, Katowice, Prague, Sofia, Vilnius and Lviv.
Sapiens goes live at RSA
Israel’s Sapiens International Corporation has announced the successful go-live of Sapiens Reinsurance at Royal and Sun Alliance (RSA) – one of the world’s leading multi-national general insurance groups, serving customers in around 140 countries.
12,000 new homes in Netanya
The Israeli Government has signed a municipality agreement for 12,000 new housing units in several neighborhoods of Netanya. 75,000 new homes are targeted to be constructed in the coming years.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
The first Israeli theatre company in North America
Israel’s Aspaklaria theater troupe has opened a new branch in Toronto, Canada. Its debut performance “The Odds” is a dramatic comedy that has been running successfully in Israel for the past six years.
Sylvia – Tracing Blood
This video introduces the movie “Sylvia – Tracing Blood” about Israeli spy Sylvia Rafael. The movie opens in London and New York in July and is already entered for the Cannes Film Festival.
Sounds of the Old City
The Sounds of the Old City music festival in Jerusalem featured a line up of musicians performing on nine stages around the Old City.
Craig David plays Tel Aviv
British former king of R&B Craig David gave his first ever Israeli performance in front of 6,000 fans at Tel Aviv Port. Whilst in Israel he visited the Kotel and Yad Vashem.
Barry Manilow to do Israel
Legendary American singer songwriter, Barry Manilow is to perform his first ever concert in Israel, at the Yad Eliyahu Arena, Tel Aviv on 30th June. Manilow has 80 million album sales and includes the hits “Mandy”, “Can’t Smile Without You”, and “Copacabana (At the Copa)”.
Israel in 3 minutes
Tel Aviv, Jaffe, Hula valley, Acre, Hermon, Jerusalem, Haifa, Dead Sea, Masada, Safed, Eilat, Negev, Rosh Hanikra and the Galilee. Israel: Tiny country, endless beauty.
Running for good causes
Some photos of the thousands of participants of the Jerusalem Marathon who were raising money for their charities.
The road to Rio – Judoka’s Yarden Gerbi
Netanya’s Yarden Gerbi is the world’s top female Judoka. She won the gold medal at the 2013 World Judo Championship and is Israel’s best-known current athlete.
THE JEWISH STATE
Woman’s seal from First Temple discovered
A rare 2500-year-old seal, inscribed with the name of Elihana bat Gael in ancient Hebrew letters, was unearthed at the City of David in the Jerusalem Walls National Park. The seal, found in a building from the First Temple period, showed the high legal status of the woman owner.
Judean glass kilns discovered
Ancient glass kilns have been discovered at the foot of Mt. Carmel, showing that Israel was at the center of the global glass trade during the late Roman period. An edict by the fourth century CE Roman emperor Diocletian refers to Judean glass.
If you cannot get to Ben Gurion airport
There is an exhibition at Ben Gurion airport of posters showing Israel’s world-changing achievements. Here is a site where you can read about each individual poster.
Israelis rescued in Himalayas
Israeli-born Nepal Chabad Rabbi Chezki Lifshitz called in a rescue helicopter to evacuate two Israeli women backpackers who had been stranded in Annapurna in the Himalayas and were suffering from hypothermia. The women used Chabad-supplied GPS devices, donated by an Israeli family.
Welcome to Israel
This video by Ezri Tubi highlights Israel’s uniqueness. On the one hand, it is progressive and profound for its technology. And on the other, it is the revival of an ancient historical dream.
Where miracles are brought to life
The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology tells the Passover story in an exciting new way, using breakdance to combine creativity and technology.
The Seder safety procedure
Fasten your seatbelts as the Passover exodus departs from a table near you.
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