Good News Israel Archive from the week of January 10, 2016: Israel trains Chinese doctors; Israeli technology protects the Pope, and much more.
By: Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Prostate cancer therapy completes successful trials
Prostate cancer therapy (laser plus TOOKAD Soluble) invented at Israel’s Weizmann Institute completed Phase 3 trials on 480 patients in Latin America and Europe and was approved by Mexico’s health authority. Minimal side-effects were associated with the high cure rates.
Pain therapy has 100% success
Israeli and US trials of Israeli-developed Hyperbaric (high-pressure) Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) reported relief for all 48 sufferers of the chronic pain condition fibromyalgia. Dr. Shai Efrati, lead author of the study at the Assaf Harofeh Medical Center noted his own mother suffers from the syndrome.
A treatment for pancreatic cancer
Israeli biotech Silenseed has completed a Phase 1/2a clinical study of its siG12D LODER treatment in 15 patients with Locally Advanced Pancreatic Cancer (LAPC). The treatment combined with chemotherapy was well tolerated and demonstrated promising efficacy with durable responses.
Your virtual personal nutritionist
Israeli app Nutrino (with a little help from IBM Haifa’s Watson supercomputer) promotes healthy eating. Enter your details, goals and tastes and Nutrino gives you meal plans and more.
Training Chinese doctors
The MASHAV organization of Israel’s Foreign Ministry is to train medics from the underdeveloped southwestern regions of China. Doctors from Sichuan, Yunnan and Guizhou provinces will study medicine in Israel in 2016.
Enabling paraplegic US veterans to walk
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) has issued a national policy for the evaluation, training and procurement of Israel’s ReWalk Personal exoskeleton systems for all qualifying veterans across the United States who have suffered spinal cord injury.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Vital roles for autistic volunteers
I featured Israel’s “Roim Rachok” (Seeing Far) program previously. Then there were 12 autistic young adults in the IDF program – in focused roles such as interpreting detailed satellite photos. Now some 50 volunteers do vital work and learn skills for their future.
Israel to build new town for Druze
For the first time since 1948, Israel has approved plans for the establishment of a new Druze town in northern Israel. The town will be established in the Lower Galilee, near Tiberias and close to centers of employment.
Priest and psychiatrist help kids at risk
Israeli psychiatrist Henri Cohen Solal founded Batim Hamim (“warm houses”) in the 1980s to give Israeli kids at risk (both Jews and Arabs) safe places to meet. Argentinian Catholic priest Pedro Opeka met Henri in Madagascar and their joint work now benefits kids in both countries.
Cornerstone laid for joint China-Israel University
Israel’s Technion has laid the cornerstone for its new research center in the southern Chinese city of Shantou. The Guangdong Technion Israel Institute of Technology (GTIIT) will provide BA, MA and PhD courses in chemical engineering, materials engineering and biotechnology engineering.
Israeli technology protects the Pope
The Ugandan government used the Israeli-made Skystar 180 surveillance balloon system to monitor Pope Francis on his recent historic visit to Uganda. Newsletter readers may recall that the system was also used to protect the recent UN climate conference in Paris.
Israel helps UK flood victims
Four IsraAID volunteers have travelled to Leeds, UK to begin repairing homes and distributing food to victims of devastating floods in the area. They have been hailed as heroes by residents and were praised by the Lord Mayor of Leeds for travelling the distance to help those affected by the flood.
Israel aid for flood-stricken Paraguay
Israel is to provide food and assistance kits to Paraguayans impacted by massive flooding of the Paraguay River from El Niño storms during December. Some 100,000 people in Asuncion have been displaced from their homes.
Joint Israeli and Hong Kong projects
Israel and Hong Kong have launched a Research & Development Cooperation Program to fund projects where Israeli companies are matched with those in Hong Kong.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Kishon River flow restored
As part of the ongoing rehabilitation efforts of the once highly polluted Kishon River, about 1.1 million cubic meters of water is being pumped annually into the basin to restore its flow. High quality fresh water is being used, which has encouraged native Israeli flora and fauna to return and flourish.
The FoodTech Nation
The first Foodtech Nation Conference, in Tel Aviv, brought together entrepreneurs, academics and corporate executives from Israel and abroad to examine how made-in-Israel food technology can help manufacturers produce processed food that is easier to store, cheaper to produce, and healthier to eat.
Joint research with China
Israel and China are to conduct joint research into scientific fields including the human brain, nano-technology, 3D printing, bio-medicine, renewable energy, computer science, smart cities and aging populations. China will invest $5 million and Israel $1 million.
Clean solar energy
One of the many Israeli companies exhibiting at the COP 21 Climate Conference in Paris was Ecoppia with its smart, robotic, water-free solar panel cleaning system.
80 genomes mapped in 12 months
Israel’s NRGene has assembled more than 80 complete genomes over the past 12 months – an average of one every 4.5 days. The data from NRGene’s DeNovoMAGIC version 2 can be utilized for pinpointed trait analysis, in order to deliver better crops and thus benefiting billions of lives.
Safe surface for European playgrounds
Israel’s Pashut Yarok (“Simply Green” in Hebrew) is exporting “shockpads” – plastic foam safety surfaces for childrens’ playgrounds – to countries in the European Union. The shockpads are installed under synthetic grass to absorb the shock if a child falls.
24 ways to wear one shirt
Israeli startup Morf has sent the fashion world into a spin with its patented shirt that can be worn up to 24 different ways. Morf raised 524 percent of its crowdfunding goal, attracting $131,089 from 1,788 backers. It should at least provide for some extra space in the suitcase. There is also a Morf dress.
Deaf father is impetus for son’s startup
Israeli Zeev Gruber got the idea for his startup Vocavu when he no longer could tolerate the noise of his deaf dad’s radio. Vocavu transforms speech from radio and TV into text that you can read on your smartphone. It also then displays content relevant to the subject of the broadcast.
Flying car completes first untethered test flight
The Air Mule from Israel’s Tactical Robotics has successfully completed its first autonomous, untethered flight at Israel’s Megiddo airfield.
Israeli tech headed to Jupiter
The JUICE satellite of the 3GM (Gravity & Geophysics of Jupiter and Galilean Moons) Project will carry an atomic clock technology-based device to detect any signals of life. The device was developed by Israeli firm AccuBeat, working with the Weizmann Institute’s Dr. Yohai Kaspi,
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Lower corporate tax
Israel has reduced its rate of corporate tax by 1.5% to 25%, giving a boost to the growth rate, cultivating investment and making Israeli companies more competitive.
New record for foreign currency reserves
Israel’s foreign exchange reserves at the end of Dec 2015 stood at an all-time record of $90.6 billion, an increase of $1.8 billion from their end Nov 2015 level. There is now $8.7 billion in the reserves fund built up from Israel’s natural gas program.
NASDAQ / TASE venture to boost Israeli startups
The US NASDAQ is partnering with the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange to allow Israeli startups to raise funds on a new private exchange. The venture will operate in Tel Aviv, using NASDAQ trading technology.
A train journey to fame and fortune
Israel’s Terra Venture Partners organized the first of its kind startup investment event – on an Israeli Railways train from Haifa to Beersheba. Billed as the MoneyTrain, Terra reserved one carriage on a train for startups to make 10-minute pitches to top international investors. The CEO of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, Yossi Beinart, was also on the train.
More tech giants join The Junction
Following its partnership with The Junction – Israel’s successful startup accelerator (see here), SAP has been joined by HP, insurance giant Munich Re, and Australia’s Telstra.
A leap into reality
Augmented Reality (AR) startup Magic Leap was founded by Rony Abovitz,- the son of Israelis. It has raised a massive $1.4 billion and set-up an Israeli development center.
Another $108 million telecoms project in Peru
Israel’s Gilat has won a new $108 million project for its satellite networks in the Cusco region of southern Peru. The deal is in addition to the $286 million Peruvian contract that Gilat won in March (see here).
The West’s largest desalination plant goes live
Israel’s IDE Technologies has now begun operations at its Carlsbad, California site – the largest desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere. It will produce 190 million liters of water a day and employ some 2,500 people.
A Huge Israeli-designed dairy for South Sudan
Israel’s Alef Bet Planners Ltd is designing a $150 million large-scale dairy project in South Sudan – where milk production is currently very low. The Israeli cowshed model has been used successfully in Vietnam, China, the US, Russia and India.
Netfix comes to Israel
American streaming service Netflix is now available in Israel as one of 130 new countries it has just begun services to. The service will be only in English and Arabic initially, with packages costing between approximately $8 and $12 per month.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
Ein Gedi Reserve – an oasis in the desert
Enchanting new video of the abundance of life at Israel’s Ein Gedi Nature Reserve in the Judean Desert, just a few minutes’ drive from the Dead Sea.
Izhak Perlman wins Genesis Prize
Israeli violinist Itzhak Perlman has been awarded this year’s Genesis Prize – the “Jewish Nobel” to add to his recent US Medal of Freedom. Perlman intends to use his $1 million prize money for projects to assist individuals with disabilities and to develop young musicians of special talent.
Israeli series for US cable TV
American cable network Showtime is to broadcast the Israeli-made 8-part docuseries “Dark Net” beginning this month. The series, exploring the dark side of technology, was created by the Israeli Mati Kochavi, owner of media and technology company Vocativ.
Stunning photos of starlings
Amazing pictures of a starling murmuration (flock of migrating birds) in the Israeli desert – featured in the normally anti-Israeli UK Guardian, no less!
A bird race with a difference
On 29th March 2016 the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel is staging Champions of the Flyway – a bird race for conservation in Israel’s migration hotspot of Eilat. The 2015 event raised $60,000 to help stop illegal trapping in Cyprus and the 2016 race will help protect birds in Greece.
Use your shoes for self-defense
Israeli Avital Zeisler teaches the Israeli Krav Maga method of self-defense but with a twist – she uses high-heeled shoes. The objective is to disrupt the attacker’s thought process. Dubbed “the Soteria Method,” it is now a hit across the US.
THE JEWISH STATE
This blog posting from one of cancer charity Ezer Mizion’s children is a moving account of his/her physical and spiritual journey from treatment to remission.
Saving an endangered species
Here is a new video of Israel’s unique Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center.
Art depicts Jewish Biblical land deals
The three Jewish purchases of land recorded in the Torah are depicted in a painting by the artist Baruch Nachshon. The picture of Hebron’s Cave of Machpelah, Shechem’s (Nablus) Joseph’s Tomb and Jerusalem’s Temple now hangs prominently in Israel’s Foreign Ministry.
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