Good News Israel Archive from the week of January 31, 2016: Scientists at Tel Aviv University and Rabin Medical Center have discovered they can detect lung cancer early in smokers; Israel will spend around 13 billion shekels ($3.3 billion) over the next five years to improve the standard of living of its Arab minority, and much more.
By: Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Early detection of lung cancer in smokers
Scientists at Tel Aviv University and Rabin Medical Center have discovered they can detect lung cancer early in smokers by performing a CT scan at the time they are admitted as pneumonia patients. Often, the pneumonia is caused by young cancer cells blocking air pathways.
The reason lack of sleep leads to obesity
Researchers at Israel’s Weizmann Institute have detailed for the first time how human biological clocks work in tandem with intestinal gut bacteria to control blood sugar levels. Digestion suffers when the schedules of the gut bacteria are interrupted by late-night wakefulness.
Why the blind have better hearing
Scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have discovered how the brain compensates for the loss of one of the senses (e.g. sight) by improving another (e.g. hearing). They studied the simple roundworm and manipulated synapses to control the sensory ability of the organism.
US approval for smartphone blood sugar monitor
Israel’s LabStyle has received US FDA approval for its Dario device for measuring blood sugar levels using a smartphone. It already has approval for European sales.
Turning rehabilitation into a fun exercise
Israeli startups BioGaming and Motorika use virtual-reality and robotics technology to introduce fun into physical therapy exercises. BioGaming’s algorithms power a Microsoft Kinect 3D motion-capture camera. Motorika’s robotics enable neurological and orthopedic rehab.
ZAKA secures official U.N. status
The Israeli emergency response organization ZAKA has received official consultative status from the United Nations. ZAKA will now be recognized as an official body in the U.N., which will help it to expand its international search, rescue and recovery missions.
NIS 300 million more for health
Eighty-three new medications and medical technologies were added to Israel’s “health basket” on Thursday, benefiting 108,500 patients at the cost of NIS 300 million. Cancer treatments include myeloma, leukemia, pancreatic, kidney, prostate, breast, ovarian, lung and more.
The top Israeli responder
The average Hatzalah emergency response volunteer will attend to some 300 calls annually, but 58-year-old Yehuda Londner of Bnei Brak recorded an impressive 2,370 calls last year. In 29 years with Hatzalah and Magen David Adom he has responded to over 45,000 emergency calls.
Novotalk founder’s startup cured his stutter
The founder Novotalk Moshe Rot describes how he suffered from stuttering since age 3. Then at age 22 he went for fluency shaping at Jerusalem’s Hadassah hospital. He started up Novotalk to teach and reinforce the skill online at much less cost.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Connecting kids to Israeli seniors
The HaVeDa project connects senior Israeli citizens with Jewish and Israeli children living in the diaspora who want to keep in touch with Israel – its people and its language. The Israeli seniors live at home or in a nursing home and are happy to share their stories with young people.
El Al’s first all-female cockpit
An El Al flight that flew from Israel to Larnaca, Cyprus was a small-but-significant historical moment for the Israeli airline: its cockpit was comprised entirely of women. The controls were in the hands of Captain Smadar Shechter and First Officer Meirav Schwartz.
35% of Teva’s senior management are women
Israel’s Teva has reported that 49% of all its management positions are staffed by women, with a female level of 35% in senior management. Teva launched 315 generic medicines in 2015. It saved UK local authorities $4.3 billion in 2014 and tens of billions of dollars worldwide.
Free on-line English courses
Israel’s Education Ministry is paying for Israeli university students to take English language courses offered online by the Open University in preparation for further study at academic institutions. It will save students thousands of shekels and improve their career opportunities.
$3.3 billion to help Israeli-Arabs
Israel will spend around 13 billion shekels ($3.3 billion) over the next five years to improve the standard of living of its Arab minority. Investment will be boosted in education, infrastructure, culture, sports and transportation in Arab areas.
Syrians see Israel’s good side
Another report about some of the 2,000 Syrian war wounded who have been treated in Israeli hospitals.
R&D agreement with Colombia
Israel and Colombia have signed an agreement on cooperation in industrial R&D. Colombia is the fourth largest economy in Latin America, after Argentina, Brazil and Mexico, which have also signed agreements with Israel in recent years.
Irrigating Indian farms
The Indian state of Haryana – located just northwest of Dehli – will initiate micro-irrigation projects based on Israeli expertise at 14 sites throughout the state over the course of 2016. Israeli agricultural professionals work extensively in Haryana and neighboring Punjab, as well as around the country.
Apple learns Hebrew
iPhone and iPad users will know about Siri – Apple’s speech-recognition robot. Now Siri (Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface) will be available in Hebrew in March.
Where Israel gives humanitarian aid
Israel21C has produced a map showing all the top locations where Israel offers aid to people in need around the world.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
$3.5 million more to tackle pollution
Israel’s Environmental Protection Ministry is to invest NIS 14 million ($3.5 million) in projects to encourage use of public transportation and bicycles. The funds are in addition to the NIS 6 million ($1.5 million) transferred to local authorities in the past year to promote similar initiatives.
An intelligent extra eye
Israel’s OrCam has moved on from its camera that helps visually impaired. It has now launched MyMe – an augmented attention device that gives you an extra eye and ear. It can perform face recognition, speech to text translation, time analysis etc. OrCam also opened a European HQ in London.
Bringing back the sound of voice
Israeli app HearMeOut reinvents vocal features in social media.
“Israel is a global agricultural force”
On Tu B’Shvat – the New Year for Trees in Israel – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Israeli agro-tech at an exhibit of Israel’s latest developments at the Agricultural Research Organization’s Volcani Center, in Beit Dagan near Tel Aviv.
Last week there was good news about seven Israeli cybersecurity companies – the first six are their first mentions in my newsletter. LightCyber won awards in both SC Magazine and CRN Magazine; SafeBreach launched its continual testing platform; Fireglass raised $20 million of funds for its critical systems solution; ImVision raised $4 million for its anomaly detection technology; Nubo raised $7 million to expand its Cloud-based mobile protection; and ForeScout became a billion-dollar value company. Finally, Elbit’s CYBERBIT unit exposed the workings and solution for Dridex – the most dangerous virus in existence.
$100 million in STEM scholarships
Real estate magnate and publisher Mortimer Zuckerman has announced a 20-year, $100 million scholarship program to pay for American graduate students in the sciences to study in Israel. It will allow leading US and Israeli academics to work together on cutting-edge research.
Helping firms make IoT products
Israeli startup Seebo makes it easier for companies to develop smart products. Seebo provides them with end-to-end tools and technology that connect the products to the Internet of Things (IoT). Seebo has just raised $8.5 million of funds.
The brains behind Iron Dome
Israel’s mPrest provides monitoring and control software for the Internet of Things (IoT), enabling organizations to connect any sensor at any time. mPrest also developed the brains for the Iron Dome missile defense system. mPrest has just raised $20 million of funds for international expansion.
Don’t waste time dialing
Israeli startup MyState shows the availability of a contact before dialing by displaying if the person is on a call, offline, on vibrate or silent, has no Internet connection, is in a different time-zone, or their battery is running low, or charging. MyState has just raised $6.5 million of funds.
Israeli tech in one third of Smart TVs
A third of the smart TVs sold in the world today contain Adaptive Video Acceleration (AVA) – an essential piece of technology made by Israeli start-up Giraffic. Both Samsung and LG use Giraffic’s AVA to stream content, uninterrupted by network glitches and slowdowns.
Jerusalem Water on EU research project
Hagihon – Jerusalem’s water company – has been awarded a key role on the 4-year European Union project to improve governance and social awareness of water environmental challenges. It involves setting up a Digital Social Platform to share details of water scarcity, security, quality and water consumption-related issues. https://www.hagihon.co.il/News/NewsItem.aspx?nodeId=227&id=180
A better mousetrap
Israeli start-up IoTBox has developed a hi-tech sensor tracking system for super-fast elimination of rodent infection at food processing sites. It utilizes the Internet of Things (IoT) and predictive analytics to calculate the travel pattern of the vermin and identify where pest control needs to be applied.
The best gadgets at CES
Thousands of products were displayed to over 100,000 visitors at the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Both winners in the “Last Gadget Standing” category were Israeli. The VUZE Camera from HumanEyes was the Live Audience winner and SteamCC’s Ripple Maker was the on-line winner
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Water rates to fall by 14.5%
Israel’s cabinet has approved a 14.5% cut in water rates to be effective from 1st Feb. It follows a 10% reduction a year ago.
Huge investment in Israeli startups
As you will see in this week’s newsletter, there is a huge surge currently of financial investment in Israeli hi-tech companies.
3000 attend investor summit
The OurCrowd Global Investor Summit in Jerusalem brought together technology leaders and innovators from around the world to see some of Israel’s hottest start-ups. This article features Engie, BIRD, freeD, HIL and UpNRide, who were among the many presenters at the packed event.
2000 attend China-Israel investment summit
Over 100 Israeli companies and 2000 delegates were in Beijing at the first ever China-Israel Technology Innovation and Investment Summit. They came to raise capital, market their products or build strategic partnerships. $3 billion worth of deals were anticipated.
NIS 1 billion boost for small & medium businesses
Israel’s Economy Ministry has chosen two Israeli venture capital funds, Cogito Capital and Peninsula Investments, to create a billion shekel ($27 million) capital growth fund for firms that have an annual sales volume of NIS 100 million ($27 million) or less.
Sony buys Altair for $212 million
Sony Corporation has purchased the Israeli chip manufacturing company Altair for $212 million or 25 billion Yen. Sony enters the prestigious Israeli startup market to help its aim to become a world leader in the IoT (Internet of Things) field, connecting various devices to the Internet.
Advanced Inhalation to launch on NASDAQ
Israeli biotech Advanced Inhalation Therapies (AIT), plans to raise $12 million on NASDAQ. AIT develops products for the treatment of respiratory infections including Cystic Fibrosis. See previous newsletter articles (here) of its Nitric Oxide treatment.
A massive space in the Cloud
Hundreds of top enterprises and carriers currently run the flagship Cloud products Cloudify and XAP from Israel’s GigaSpaces to enhance IT efficiency and performance. GigaSpace has just raised $20 million of funds for global expansion and product development.
Honda seeks Israeli smart car technology
Honda has engaged Israeli crowdfunding equity platform company OurCrowd to help its plans to build intelligent automobiles. Honda is already working with Israel’s VocalZoom, which has developed a robust speech interface for cars and motorbikes.
Infotainment for GM & Mercedes cars
Israeli video tech company Valens has announced that two of the biggest automakers – GM and Mercedes – are to install its HDbaseT world standard cable technology into their vehicles and products. HDBaseT eliminates waiting time for the display of apps, videos and other content.
The largest investment of its kind
Netanya’s jFrog has just raised $50 million – one of the largest ever investments in a Development / Operations company. jFrog’s products allow IT departments to build and maintain new systems.
Frutarom continues to Grow
Israeli flavors and natural ingredients company Frutarom has made its second acquisition of 2016 following 12 takeovers in 2015 and 29 in five years. It has now bought US ingredients company Grow for $20 million. Grow has an R&D and marketing center and production site in New Jersey.
Fly from Rosh Pina to Eilat
Domestic Israeli travel has been enhanced with the inaugural flight from Rosh Pina airport to Eilat. Deputy Minister of Regional Cooperation Ayoub Kara is planning a 34 million Shekel ($8.6 million) program to develop the Rosh Pina airport and turn it into a regional hub for local flights.
Save money on your bills
Israeli startup EZSave has an app that renegotiates your service provider contracts to optimize your service and save you money. Just send a photo of your bill and EZSave does the rest. It currently works in Israel for phone, Internet, TV and gas bills.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
Israel has the X-Factor
The purchase of Israel’s media production company Abot Meiri, by South Africa’s FremantleMedia, gives an Israeli development arm to the owner of X Factor, Pop Idol, and Got Talent.
Deep Purple returns to Israel
Deep Purple, one of heavy rock’s most legendary bands, will be back in Israel on May 22 in Rishon Lezion. It’ll be the band’s fifth visit to Israel since their first show in 1991.
A new viewing experience
Tech giant Intel is working with Israel’s Replay Technologies to enable sports fans to re-watch key moments of sporting events from nearly every conceivable angle. Replay’s “freeD” technology and Arena stadium system of super high-definition cameras will be optimized for 6G Intel Core processors and Intel server technology.
Suddenly Jerusalem flashmob
The spirit is high among these young dancers in Israel’s capital city.
BBC finally films a beautiful Israeli sight
A BBC cameraman looked up at the Israeli sky and captured an amazing sight. Thousands of starlings forming “dancing clouds” – known as murmurations.
Israel’s first men’s Olympic Taekwondo competitor
Ron Attias will be Israel’s first-ever male Olympic Taekwondo martial arts contestant, when he competes in the under-58 kg category at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Attias won the gold medal at the qualification tournament in Turkey.
THE JEWISH STATE
Running for ALEH
Read about the young people who are running the Jerusalem marathon on March 18, to raise funds for ALEH – the Israeli charity for disabled children. Please join in the race if you can, or give a donation if you can’t.
1700-year-old graves of Rabbis found
Three 1,700-year-old burial inscriptions in Aramaic and Greek have been uncovered in the northern Israeli community of Tzipori. Two belong to Rabbis, whose names have yet to be deciphered.
A unique language
Israel is the only country to have revived an unspoken language and establish it as its national tongue. Thanks mainly to Eliezer ben Yehuda (1858-1922), Israelis hailing from all corners of the globe now speak Hebrew as the language of everyday communication.
From Japan to the IDF
Daniel Tomohiro is not the typical Israeli soldier. Born from a Jewish mother and a Japanese father, he learned how his Hungarian grandparents survived the Holocaust, made Aliyah, and fought in Israel’s War of Independence. Now Tomohiro serves in the 50th Battalion of Israel’s Nahal Brigade.
Easier for dentists to make Aliya
New Israeli legislation is being introduced to allow dentists with at least five years’ experience to practice in Israel without having to take an exam. Certified occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech therapists and dietitians can practice without an academic degree but with a test.
Israel’s oldest and youngest trees
For the Jewish festival of Tu Bishvat (New Year for trees) Israel21c published a Do-It-Yourself tour guide to the most impressive trees in Israel. Israel is also one of the few countries to enter the 21st century with more trees than 100 years ago. Please help to beautify the Holy Land.
Eyelid surgery saves porcupine
Veterinarians at Israel’s Ramat Gan Safari park had to call on the help of Dr. Ayelet Priel, an ophthalmologist at Tel Hashomer’s Sheba Medical Center who performed a first-of-its-kind operation in order to save the eyesight of a porcupine that had hurt her face while trying to escape from a trap.
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