Good News Israel Archive from the week of March 6, 2016: Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem may have discovered a way to alleviate the shortage of organs for transplant patients; Bill Gates admits that Israeli developments in tech areas like analytics and security were “improving the world,” and much more.
By: Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Ice-tech could end organ shortage
Currently it is not possible to freeze organs in order to preserve them for later transplant. Now researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have studied ice-binding “antifreeze proteins” that protect frozen cells from expansion damage when they thaw out.
Cancer pre-dates the modern era
Researchers at Tel Aviv University have discovered evidence of colon cancer in the mummified remains of an 18th century Hungarian corpse. The mutation of the Adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) gene is the earliest recorded case of colorectal cancer.
Merck and Weizmann sign medical agreement
US giant Merck has signed a new framework agreement with Israel’s Weizmann Institute to research new solutions in the area of biotechnology and cancer research. Merck has more than 300 employees at four sites throughout Israel.
Portable ultrasound device demonstrated
Here is a video to demonstrate the power of the portable ultrasound device developed in the laboratory of Israel Technion’s Professor Yonina Eldar.
The 19-year-old neuroscientist
Israel’s Amir Goldenthal began his PhD when he was 16 and just one year into his first degree. Now 19, his doctoral dissertation involves breakthroughs in the understanding of neurological diseases such as epilepsy, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Amir won a prize at the Nobel Laureates Conference in Japan for best research paper. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4772307,00.html
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Free smoke detectors for the poor and the elderly
Jerusalem’s Fire Service is distributing smoke detectors to large families, the elderly and Holocaust survivors in the city. 3,000 detectors will be installed nationally. The costs have been donated by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.
President Rivlin hosts new Sharia judges
Israeli President Rivlin greeted, at his Jerusalem residence, seven newly appointed judges to Israel’s Sharia courts, saying the institution’s viability served as a testament to Israel’s strength in diversity. Israeli law recognizes Sharia courts’ jurisdiction on personal status issues within the Muslim community, including marriage, divorce, custody of children and inheritance.
Israel is 8th world power
A report published by US News & World Report listed Israel as the 8th most powerful country in the world. A country’s power was categorized in terms of being a leader, being economically influential, politically influential, having strong international alliances and a strong military.
And 3rd best for quality of life
In the biannual report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Israel was rated third in quality of life among advanced nations, after Japan and Switzerland. The report also praised Israel’s high employment and high economic growth.
The only free state in the Middle East
Please have a look at this handy little interactive map of the world from Freedom House, showing the freedom rating of each country. Use the + key to enlarge, otherwise it is impossible to find tiny Free Israel amongst some of the Worst of the Worst in the Middle East.
And the only one that could produce a soldier like me
Major Alaa Waheeb is the highest ranking Muslim officer in the Israel Defense Forces. Not only has he fought alongside Jewish soldiers, but he now trains them too. Here is his own story.
The first PM to visit Africa in 50 years
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received an invitation from Kenyan President Kenyatta to visit Kenya this summer, in what would mark the first visit by an Israeli leader to Africa in 50 years. He intends to do so around the 40th anniversary of the raid on Entebbe. The announcement coincided with the launch of the new Knesset Caucus for Israel-Africa Relations.
Mobile desalination unit donated to Papua New Guinea
Israel’s G.A.L. Water Technologies, with the Israeli Foreign Ministry, have donated a mobile desalination unit developed in Israel to Papua New Guinea. The Galmobile will provide the Pacific islands with clean drinking water from the ocean or any water source.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
US Ambassador in driverless car in Jerusalem
US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro tried out Israeli company MobilEye’s driverless car on Jerusalem roads – and was impressed. Shapiro said, “it’s probably safer than if a driver was in control of the vehicle, because drivers can be distracted but this vehicle cannot.”
“Israeli technology is improving the world”
The 2,000 people at the Microsoft Israel’s “Think Next” event in Tel Aviv, including CEO Satya Nadella, had a video call from the man who started it all, Bill Gates. Gates said that Israeli developments in tech areas like analytics and security were “improving the world.”
Another Israeli airport safety system
Israel’s Controp has teamed up with USA’s Pharovision to develop the Interceptor and Sentinel detection systems. They are designed to warn of potential collisions between airplanes and either airborne birds or foreign object debris on the ground.
Now an app can learn about humans
Israel’s SimilarWeb has launched SimilarWeb Portrait – smart software that builds up a (non-identifiable) profile of a human computer user. This allows app developers to tailor their apps to give a friendlier user experience, from the moment they are installed.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Startups raise over $0.5 billion in one month
In Jan 2016, Israeli startups raised an astonishing $556.4 million. They included ForeScout Technologies ($76m), JFrog ($50m), Zerto ($50m), SiSense ($50m), BlueVine ($40m), Elastifile ($35m), V-Wave ($28m) and Insightec ($22m).
Cisco pays $380m for Israeli startup
Cisco Systems has acquired two-year-old Israeli Leaba Semiconductor for $350-$400 million. Leaba is so new that it is still operating in “stealth” mode. Its website says that “Leaba is a fabless semiconductor company providing innovative solutions for significant infrastructure challenges.”
Haim Saban invests $100m in Israelis startups
Israeli-born billionaire Haim Saban has set up a new fund (Saban Ventures) to invest $100 million in Israeli startups. The fund will invest in startups in the mobile, social networks, ecommerce and digital media sectors.
Israel’s best-performing tech stock in 2015
Israel’s Nano Dimension (reported here in Oct 2014) was Israel’s top performing technology stock in 2015. The Israeli startup uses 3D nano-printing to create printed electronic circuit boards (PCBs). Its DragonFly2020 printer is in beta test with several Tier-1 customers.
Clearing the air in 9 new countries
Israeli startup BreezoMeter has now expanded its air quality analysis coverage from just the USA and Israel to nine more countries. These are China, the UK, Hong Kong, Japan, Finland, France, Mexico, South Korea and Taiwan. BreezoMeter currently has over 50 million daily users.
Perrigo opens $46 million factory
Irish biotech Perrigo said it expected a $100 million boost to annual sales from the new $46 million factory it has just inaugurated in Israel. Perrigo’s president, John Hendrickson said, “It allows us to stay on the cutting edge of being a leader of complex products.” Perrigo is listed on the TASE.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
Magic at Jerusalem’s Winter Noise festival
All was quiet in the City of Peace whilst Jews, Moslems and Christians enjoyed the Winter Noise festival. On four Mondays nights in February, residents and visitors enjoy colorful street performers, lectures, music and food and some even “flew” on a magic carpet.
Israeli represents France at Eurovision
French-born, Israeli singer Amir Haddad will represent France at the Eurovision song contest this May in Stockholm, Sweden. Haddad made Aliyah with his family at the age of 8. In 2014, Hadad came 3rd in France’s version of “The Voice,” and has since become popular in France.
There’s no place like the Ramon Crater for stargazing. This breathtaking long-exposure night sky photo gives but a glimpse of the enchanting nighttime views in the Negev desert!
Israel wins gold at Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup
Israeli rhythmic gymnasts won a gold and two silver medals in the first World Cup Series competition of 2016 in Finland. They won one silver in the group all-around final and another in the ribbons before winning a gold in the hoops and clubs final.
The new national stadium in Haifa
Open since August 2014, the Sammy Ofer Stadium is a home to Haifa’s two football clubs and Israel’s national football team.
THE JEWISH STATE
New Israeli stamps
The first new Israeli stamps of 2016 include Pioneering women; Ephraim Kishon; Greece-Israel diplomatic relations and Turtles.
80 years of Emunah
Emunah, the National Religious Women’s Organization, celebrated the 80 years since its founding. In that time, it has established 140 day-care centers for working women, 5 homes for at-risk kids, a children’s crisis center, the Women’s College of Arts and Technology, 13 family counseling centers and more.
Brazilian Jews feel safe in Israel
A record 463 Brazilian Jews immigrated to Israel last year – 41% more than in 2014. An in-depth report by Brazil’s Globo TV featured the major reason for Brazilian Jews to claim Israeli citizenship as the desire to flee Brazil’s severe urban violence atmosphere.
Bnei Akiva helps remaining Ethiopian Jews to make Aliya
World Bnei Akiva, will send two shlichim (outreach workers) to Ethiopia, at 2-monthly intervals for five years, to help the last 6000 Ethiopians of Jewish origin prepare for Aliyah. They will teach Hebrew, Torah and Zionism to those in Ethiopian transit camps.
Thanks for the miracle
As we approach the Jewish festival Purim, the wife of Roi Harel described how her husband heroically fought off two Arab terrorists who stabbed him several times and forced their way into his house in the community of Eli, where the other members of Roi’s young family were hiding.
Under the feet of the British army
The British expelled the Germans from the Schneller orphanage in WW2. The British army base was then replaced by an Israeli one in 1948. Current excavations of the site have revealed a 2nd-Temple-period mikva (Jewish ritual bath), Roman baths and a winery.
How to give a positive message about Israel?
Gerald Ostrov, CEO of the reThink Israel Initiative, spoke at the recent Jerusalem Conference of Presidents. reThink Israel is targeting, via social media, the 70% of Americans who don’t know, don’t care and aren’t interested in Israel. reThink Israel focuses on “food, nature, arts, lifestyle, health and innovation.
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