Israel’s organ donor program is a success for all Israelis, regardless of religion or age Some very special workers make parts for Israel’s Iron Dome protection against terrorists’ rockets. Israel’s latest Air Force graduates include its first religious female navigator. Children can now enjoy learning math on their smartphones with dynamic Israeli software. Israeli clean technology is recycling waste for Slovenia and Croatia. An Israeli tennis player has just become Junior World Champion. Israeli archaeologists have discovered 3000-year-old antiquities from the Biblical period of Joshua.
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Sight restored after 26 years. Doctors at Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot transplanted a cornea into the eye of Nissim Nahum who was wounded in Lebanon 26 years ago.
All Israeli organs are equal. Israeli President Shimon Peres praised all Israeli organ donors, Israeli Jews and Arabs, young and old. Even 89-year-old Peres has a donor card. 18-year-old Harel received a new liver at age 13 and has just enlisted in the IDF.
NIS 300 million for new medications. The Israeli National Health Council has approved the additional medications and technologies to be added in 2013 to the current NIS 7 billion Health Basket. The new treatments will benefit at least 300,000 Israelis – focusing on preventative medications and prenatal tests.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Special benefits for special needs. New and veteran immigrant (olim) families, who have a special needs child or adult at home in Israel have been granted further access to a government and private sector outreach services. As of last month, they will now receive increased rent subsidies.
Iron dome’s special builders. Behind the scenes of Iron Dome production, alongside Rafael’s engineers, mentally disabled employees manufacture parts of the state-of-the-art system. For over a year, Rafael has employed three residents of a hostel run by the Social Affairs Ministry for people with mental disabilities, in the production of the Iron Dome system, as part of the company’s community outreach program.
“Unwanted” food feeds Israeli poor. This current article features Leket Israel, an organization that salvages non-saleable crops from farmers and unused food from caterers and ships them to 200 soup kitchens, homeless shelters and other institutions. Leket has a budget of $7.5 million, has 90 staff and 45,000 volunteers a year.
Engineering degree course for ultra-orthodox. The Sami Shamoon College of Engineering in Ashdod has launched a five-year degree program in civil and software engineering, which has been tailor-made for the lifestyle requirements of its 100 ultra-Orthodox participants – 70 men and 30 women.
The feminine side of hi-tech business. Shefa Weinstein is CEO of Israeli start-up Shopetti – one of the 13 start-ups participating in the second round of companies enrolled in the Microsoft Accelerator for Windows Azure. An American immigrant to Israel, she will shortly launch “the next big thing in online shopping”.
Four women graduate from IAF. This year’s Israel Air Force Flight Academy graduates included Tamar, the IDF’s first religious woman navigator. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “Tamar is an example of the equality between the sexes in Israel and proof that in the IDF there is place for all parts of Israeli society.”
Ethiopian Jews a Success Story in Israel. Israel’s Ethiopian immigrants and its veteran Israelis have much to be proud of. No other population group that has risen so quickly to achieve such high university rates (42%). Just think of where the community was before Operation Moses in 1984 and Solomon in 1991.
Technion “sparks” hi-tech education for Druse. The Technion Sparks program enables 200 Israeli-Arab Druse high school students to take special science and technology courses at Israel’s Technion Institute. The project is the brainchild of Brig.-Gen. Hasson Hasson – the first Druse to serve as a military aide to a President of the State.
Israel grants scholarships to Indian scholars. Sixty-six post-doctoral scholars from India will travel to Israel in the coming months to pursue research at top universities. The government of Israel announced three-year scholarships grants for outstanding Indian scholars.
Israel helps the Greek economy. Top Greek officials have been visiting Israel and presenting opportunities to invest in and own Greek infrastructure. Israel’s Elbit won the tender to buy the old Athens airport. Israelis have purchased a number of Greek hotels, and an Israeli company is in talks to buy Greece’s national oil company.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Build your computer game here. Israel’s Mominis is a computer game publishing company. It provides tools and financing plus a unique environment called PlayScape where gamers can check out different titles and developers can promote their games.
Fire-resistant energy. Israeli energy storage company Nation-E has combined the revolutionary fire prevention and heat resistant safety coatings of Israel’s LMJ Systems to build smart energy grids that are secure against major disasters. LMJ’s products are also to be marketed in both the USA and Canada.
New Israeli math program. Israeli company Slate Science has developed an award-winning mathematics learning program for tablets and smartphones called “Ten Fingers”. It is being piloted at three Israeli schools, in three languages: Hebrew, Arabic, and English. The idea is to make math fun.
Three new solar arrays. The French electrical company EDF inaugurated its first three solar energy projects in Israel. The new arrays at the Negev settlements of Gvulot, Nahal Oz and Lahav will produce18 megawatts of electricity within six months.
Microsoft Israel’s incubator – The Next Generation. Microsoft Accelerator for Windows Azure has launched its second session. 13 Israeli start-ups are participating in the four-month session, receiving guidance from Microsoft, mentoring and $20,000 financial support.
New center for solar energy testing. Israel’s new National Technology and Renewable Energy Center has been inaugurated at Kibbutz Yotvata in the Negev – 50km north of Eilat. China’s Suntech and its competitors will test solar energy products to ensure that they can withstand use under harsh conditions.
Cleaning up in Slovenia and Croatia. Israel’s Applied CleanTech Ltd is to install 200 of its sewage recycling units at the wastewater treatment facilities in Slovenia and Croatia. Waste will be converted into raw materials for the plastics and paper industry and save it being transported to Austria for incineration as at present.
Cutting accidents in the field. The Israel Institute for Occupational Safety and Hygiene is running cutting-edge mobile courses in accident prevention to agricultural workers nationwide. Vans containing pullout touch-screen monitors and pick-of-the-crop software in Hebrew and Arabic drive straight to center field.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
South Carolina visit brings results. After a delegation of S.C. leaders visited Israel to promote the state and encourage collaboration, Israel’s NeuroQuest received financing from a Charleston business. It now plans to open a development center in Charleston in connection with its activities relating to Alzheimer’s disease.
Israeli traders are on the ball. Want to be a good trader? Look to Israel. So says Meir Velenski, managing director of City Index’s new office in Tel Aviv. They argue better, speak many languages, take better risks and seek new opportunities.
Ryanair to fly to Israel? Low-cost giants Ryanair are rumored to be preparing to launch flights to Tel Aviv. Ryanair’s entering the market is likely to dramatically lower fares and bring hundreds of thousands of new tourists to Israel.
Spain and Israel pass the port. Israel and Spain have agreed to form a joint team that would see Israeli port security technology implemented in Spain. Spain’s Minister for Development visited Ashdod Port – one of the most advanced in the world, incorporating various container identification algorithms and biometric systems.
And then to India. Israel’s Amaryllis is currently joint-building the Nargol deep-water port in Gujarat in northwest India. It has now just passed the pre-qualification stage in the tender to build a new wharf at the Chennai port, in Tamil Nadu State in southeast India.
Seven Israeli start-ups compete at the Europas. The Tech Startup Awards contest in Berlin on Jan 22nd will feature Israeli companies WalkMe, Yotpo, Uppspace, Startapp, GooodJob, Fiverr and Licensario.
2012 was good for Israeli start-ups. Despite bleak forecasts, hundreds of new ventures were founded during 2012, and thousands of entrepreneurs took the huge risk of embarking on a new road. 2012 was also good for financing by start-ups who raised $1.8 billion from venture capital funds. Prospects for 2013 look similar.
Singapore fund invests in Israel. Singapore’s Spring Seeds Capital fund manages some $150 million. It is seeking investments in Israeli high-tech companies looking to open part of their business in Singapore – a country with similarities to Israel – a small population and an economy focused on technology companies.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
Israeli novel to become US TV series. (Thanks to Israel21c) US TV company New Regency is turning Yoram Kanuik’s 1994 bestseller, Magic on Lake Kinneret, into a weekly half-hour satirical black comedy.
Israeli wins junior world tennis championship. Heard of Jimmy Connors and Andy Murray? Well 12-year-old Israeli Ishai Oliel has just emulated them by winning the Junior Orange Bowl International Tennis Championship in Florida – recognized as the unofficial world championship for children up to age 12.
THE JEWISH STATE
Kinneret rises 23 cm in one weekend. Early-season predictions of “average annual rainfall” were somewhat pessimistic. If we get another 3 meters of rain (highly unlikely), we will be able to open the Jordan River dam.
‘It’s a dream’. Fifty-three Jews from the Bnei Menashe community of northeastern India have just immigrated to Israel. ‘We’ve been waiting for this moment for hundreds of years,’ said Ben Asher, 23, who arrived with his family. The Bnei Menashe trace their Jewish roots to a biblical tribe lost over 2700 years ago.
Israel and Iran – a love story? Israeli graphic designer Ronny Edry posted an image on his Facebook one evening and began a massive exchange of images between ordinary Israelis and Iranians. If only everyone in Iran felt the same way.
Dig a road and travel back 3,000 years. Archeologists have uncovered rare remains of ritual objects and a 3,000-year-old temple while conducting excavations ahead of the renovation of the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway. The area, known as Motzah (Mozah) is mentioned in the Book of Joshua.