Good News Israel Archive from the week of July 5, 2015: A sniff test for autism; Israeli startup makes imagination much easier and much more.
By: Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
No-stitch corneal transplants
Scientists from Tel Aviv University and Israeli medical centers have developed a groundbreaking method for sealing the incisions in the eye following cornea transplant surgery. They used silver halide optical fibers to deliver an infrared laser beam at the precise temperature needed to bond the tissue.
Eilat coral can help cancer research
A team of international scientists, including researchers from Tel Aviv University and Israel’s Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences (IUI), have discovered that fluorescent pigments in Eilat’s rainbow coral are ideal for use as biomedical markers for tracking cancer cells.
4th lowest deaths from heart disease in OECD
A report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development ranked Israel’s mortality rate for cardiovascular disease (less than 200 per 100,000 population) the fourth-lowest among OECD nations. Japan was the lowest, followed by France and South Korea.
MyMDBand in action
I reported previously on Israel’s MyMDBand – a wristband with a QR code that gives paramedics access to vital patient data. Here now are two latest videos about the exciting product.
Fighting antibiotic-resistant bacteria
Tel Aviv University Professor Udi Qimron has published in PNAS his research about bacterial viruses (phages) that attack bacteria. The phages transfer “edited” DNA into resistant bacteria to kill off resistant strains and make others more sensitive to antibiotics. Clinical tests will begin soon.
A sniff test for autism
A rare positive report on Israel by the BBC (and in The Independent). Weizmann scientists have discovered that whereas normal children spend a longer amount of time inhaling the aroma of roses than that of rotten fish, autistic children don’t differentiate between pleasant and unpleasant odors.
Canada funds $35 million for neuroscience & biomedicine
Canada’s Finance Minister Joe Oliver announced a seven-year, $35-million program will fund up to 30 joint Canadian-Israeli research projects. The first projects will focus on neuroscience, with up to six $1 million grants per year for up to three years.
Researching pancreatic cancer with Canada
Top scientists from the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR), the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer are working together on the Alex U. Soyka Pancreatic Cancer Research Project. The OICR is giving $4.6 million to the project.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Cyber education for Israeli schoolchildren
Israel’s Science and Technology Ministry has signed a deal with Lockheed Martin to produce educational curricula in science and technology, with an emphasis on teaching the principles of cyber-security. Minister Danny Danon said, “Ensuring that all children have an opportunity to learn science and technology is essential to the future of Israel.”
Israel’s female Muslim bus driver
You may not have heard about this before, but Soheila Fedila, a 44-year-old mother of four, has been a public bus driver for three years. Soheila is a religious Muslim – she always dresses modestly and wears a hijab during work hours. She currently drives a “Metropolin” bus in Kfar-Saba.
Dr. Qanta Ahmed awarded Technion fellowship
On her seventh visit to the Israel, Dr. Qanta Ahmed received an Honorary Fellowship from Israel’s Technion, for her tireless and courageous battle for human rights in the Muslim world, her vigorous opposition to radical Islam and her friendship with Israel.
Save “at risk” ecology – buy the land
Israeli environmentalist Professor Uri Shanas of Haifa University is raising $25,000 to launch “This is my Earth” – a crowd-sourced website that buys up land at risk of ecological disaster. If successful, “This is my Earth” members would vote on which biodiverse areas should be purchased.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Catch a thief with your old smartphone
Israel’s Salient Eye uses the camera on your old and unwanted smartphone as a motion-sensor, taking photos of intruders as they walk past the phone. The app then sends these photos and a loud alert to warn the homeowner of the intrusion. Here’s a thief it caught last week.
20,000 visit Technology 2015
More than 20,000 people came to the recent Technology 2015 exhibition in Tel Aviv to see the latest Israeli developments and innovations in computers and software, automated command and control systems, hydraulics, robotics, calibration tools, industrial printing and dozens of other fields.
Making the most from sesame
Dr. Zvi Peleg, of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has found a way to develop a new elite sesame variety with enhanced yield and seed quality suitable for modern agricultural practice. Peleg screened over 100,000 seed variants to produce the basis of an important Israeli export crop.
Seeing Israeli agri-tech up close
JNF Toronto brought to Israel a business mission of North American young professionals to experience Israeli agri-tech. They visited companies such as Kaiima, Forrest Innovations, Evogene, Phenome Networks, Saturas, Rootility, GroundWork Bio, miRobot, Taranis and AlphaStrauss.
Smell based fingerprints
Practically every human being has his or her own unique smell. Israel’s Weizmann Institute researchers have developed an “olfactory fingerprint” that tests 34 different odors and could be used to identify any of the 7.3 billion people on Earth. It could also help match organ donors and even detect diseases.
Better security in churches
Israeli start-up Churchix uses facial recognition technology to identify dangerous criminals who try to infiltrate into church congregations. Unlike synagogues and mosques, church security is traditionally at a minimal level, yet needs to prevent atrocities such as that recently in Charleston.
Imagination just got even easier
Israel’s Cimagine (featured here in March) has just upgraded its augmented reality software. Now you can “virtually furnish” a whole room, displaying the results on your smartphone.
Support your club – brand your keyboard
Israel’s Kibo keyboard app not only checks your spelling but it turns your smartphone or tablet keyboard into the logo and colors of one of six top international soccer clubs. Apple has just approved the app for its iPhone and iPad. The Android version already has 6 million users.
Europe buys Israeli smart vest
Israel’s Elbit has won a $150 million contract from the Dutch Ministry of Defense to supply advanced protective systems for infantry soldiers in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg. The Smart Vest program includes advanced audio and data radio systems and specialized displays.
Radio waves to release hydrogen from water
H2energy Now is the first Israeli startup to be invited to the European Union-sponsored Alpine High-tech Venture Forum. H2energy’s technology uses radio waves to break the hydrogen-oxygen bond in salt water. The hydrogen produced is a source of clean energy.
400,000-year-old teeth reveal their contents
A 400,000-year-old set of teeth, discovered in Qesem cave outside of Tel Aviv, has revealed minute traces of food, charcoal and possibly the remains of a rudimentary toothbrush in the teeth’s plaque.
The world is your touchscreen
A new video from Israel21c featuring the Bird – the finger-controlled device from Israel’s MUV Interactive – that turns any surface (walls, tables etc.) into a virtual touchscreen.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Another $8 million for Israeli-US projects
The Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation has approved $8 million in funding for ten new projects between U.S. and Israeli companies. The projects will also access an additional $11 million of private sector funding.
Apple opens in 20 Israeli cities
Apple is opening 20 sales booths in almost all major Israeli cities. Apple’s products will be marketed by Partner employees who have been trained via the Apple “Masters” program.
Mapal Green to launch on London AIM
Israeli wastewater technology company Mapal Green Energy is seeking to raise £2-3 million by listing on London’s Alternative Index Market. Mapal’s systems significantly reduce the energy costs of sewage purification plants at the water utilities serving half of English households.
Frutarom gets even fruitier
Israeli flavors and ingredients company Frutarom has just acquired its eighth company in 12 months. It has paid $4 million for US flavors company Foote & Jenks. F&J specializes in flavors that mask the aftertaste of medicines. The purchase helps Frutarom expand its US activity.
US giant buys Israeli fire-detection company
Israel’s Spectronix, developer of sensors and fire and gas detection systems, has been bought by Emerson Electric (part of the $37.8 billion US Emerson Group) for $99 million. After the acquisition, Spectronix will continue to operate its business in Sderot.
Merck’s Israeli R&D center
The German giant Merck joined the growing number of multinationals with Israeli Research & Development centers by purchasing Jerusalem’s Qlight Nanotech. Qlight’s innovative nanocrystal technology is ideal for low energy LCD screens and LED lighting. Merck’s other Israeli ventures include biotech Serono which has developed Rebif (MS) and Erbitux (cancer) treatments.
Direct flights to Boston
El Al have just begun their non-stop service from Tel Aviv to Boston Logan airport, the fastest route to the USA. Last year 67,000 passengers flew from Boston to Tel Aviv via other cities. There are strong Israeli business links, with over 200 Israeli companies operating in Massachusetts.
Get your Andy Ram watch
Israeli tennis star Andy Ram has reached the $75,000 crowdfunding target for his new “Pulse Play” sports watch. It is a first of its kind, displaying a table of results during the game, a games history, and social and global rankings. The first version sells for $50 and is due for delivery in October.
Business ties with Taiwan
Ernest Lin, from the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), attended Israel’s Technology 2015 Exhibition. He suggested Taiwan could be a good testing ground for Israeli technology, with advanced tech installed in factories to ensure that they work properly on large scales.”
Trade with Vietnam soars
Trade between Vietnam and Israel exceeded $1 billion in 2014 and increased over 80 percent in the first quarter of 2015. A Vietnamese delegation was in Israel, and discussed plans to increase bilateral trade and investment as well as cooperation in technology, agriculture and security.
India and Israel: A good partnership
A summary from India on the status of Indian and Israeli bi-lateral co-operation. It covers agriculture, water, energy, defense, IT, technology and medicine.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
International opera workshops in Tel Aviv
The Israel Vocal Arts Institute (IVAI) will hold its international opera workshop in Tel Aviv between July 9 and 29. The public are able to watch students learn from some of the best teachers in the world. It includes the staging of Verdi’s Rigoletto.
Help make an Israeli film
Israeli film director and producer Barak Shavit is raising funds on Indiegogo for his new short film iSyndrome, a sci-fi story about understanding consciousness. His goal is to raise $14,800.
Mariah Carey visits Israel
Pop diva Mariah Carey told her Israeli fans of her excitement at finally realizing her dream of visiting Israel. “I waited many years to come here, and I am very moved,” she said. Miss Carey sang Israel’s national anthem Hatikvah in Adam Sandler’s 2006 film “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan”.
Jerusalem Biking Festival
Biking up and down across Jerusalem’s hills, while enjoying the iconic walls of the old city and the many green parks is a unique experience. This year, over 5,000 bikers took part in the Tour Jerusalem annual biking event, which was held for the third consecutive year.
THE JEWISH STATE
I highly recommend readers to visit this site and set up a free account to view exciting 3-minute video clips of important historical events associated with the establishment of the State of Israel.
Ritual bath found under living room floor
The Shimshoni family called in archaeologists to investigate and secure a perfectly-preserved 2,000-year-old ritual bath (mikvah) under their living room.
India’s young Jews eye Israel
A Group of 22 Indian Jews, mostly from the Mumbai area, have completed a 10-day free Taglit-Birthright Israel educational trip to explore the Jewish state. They saw Tiberias, the Golan Heights, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Yad Vashem, and an Indian spice shop in the Ramla market.
$100 million for Zionist advocacy center
The Jewish National Fund has established a new center for Israel education and advocacy, thanks to a $100 million donation from the estate of John and Dora Boruchin. The JNF Boruchin Israel Education Advocacy Center aims to strengthen Americans’ connection to the Jewish State.
The Most Daring Hostage Rescue in Israel’s History
July 4 was the anniversary of the amazing 1976 Israeli commando raid on Uganda’s Entebbe airport to rescue 106 passengers of a hi-jacked Air France plane. This 4-minute animated film captures the events.
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