ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
A way to treat aggressive cancers. Current medication for breast cancer targets receptors in the tumors. But one in six tumors have no receptors and are difficult to treat. Now, a team of 11 Weizmann scientists has found a combination of two antibodies that mount a pincer attack on these tumors, causing them to collapse and die.
Nano-genetic diagnostics. Imagine a microscopic device injected into your body that searches for genetic malfunctions in your cells. If it finds any, it emits a green light to highlight the diagnosis. Weizmann Institute scientists have developed such a device – and are now working on upgrading it to destroy the cancerous cells.
The secret to a good relationship. Bar-Ilan University’s Psychology Professor Ruth Feldman found couples that stay together have higher levels of oxytocin in their blood when they first pair up than couples that ultimately break up. Prof Feldman spent years studying the hormone’s role in the mother–child bond.
Get smart – boost your immune system. Weizmann Institute graduate Prof Jonathan Kipnis has discovered that the T-cells that fight infections also govern intelligence. Mice without T-Cells cannot perform simple tests, but perform normally when their T-Cells are restored. Kipnis got the idea from his Weizmann advisor.
“Bad behavior” causes flare-ups in the gut. Scientists at Israel’s Weizmann Institute have discovered a pseudo-education system in the colon. Newly arrived monocytes are taught how to maintain a healthy balance in the gut by resident immune cells. But if you get an infection or eat the wrong food, the new pupils run wild!
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Gaza weekly deliveries: Last week 39,518 tons of imports entered Gaza from Israel on 1,394 trucks. This included 572 truckloads of construction materials. Since January 1st, a total of 235,797 tons of imports have entered Gaza via the Kerem Shalom crossing.
IDF save PA accident victim. IDF medics saved the life of a Palestinian Authority Arab motorcyclist who suffered severe abdominal bleeding in a crash with a mini-bus near Shechem, otherwise known as Nablus. The Arab is now in a stable condition at Beilinson Hospital in Petach Tikvah, near Tel Aviv.
Turning swords into SodaStreams. Watch this video of Palestinian Arabs, Jews and Druze working happily together at SodaStream’s factory in Judea. SodaStream’s CEO explains that he could have put his factory on the coast, but he wanted to build an enterprise that fostered peace between Jews and Arabs.
Syrians treated in Israeli hospital. The IDF administered emergency first aid to seven Syrians wounded in battles between Syrian army forces and rebels near the border fence. They were then taken to the Ziv Medical Center in Safed for further treatment. One was in a critical condition.
PM hosts children with cancer. (Thanks to Sidney) In a pre-Purim event Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his wife Sara and their son Yair hosted children with cancer in the Prime Minister’s office. Local entertainers performed and sang with the children and the Netanyahus handed out Purim presents.
Samsung helps kids enjoy Purim. Samsung sent 10,000 Purim baskets to any Israeli whose friend signed them up for one on the Samsung Mobile Israel Facebook page. Samsung paid for the candy, and for two Israeli charities, Variety Israel and the Enosh Fund, to assemble the baskets.
Putting the record straight about Africa. A columnist in the Jerusalem Post stated that Israelis were self-centered and ignoring the poverty in Africa. So I wrote a letter to the editor mentioning just some of the recent work that Israelis have been doing in Africa. Please respond to unjustified criticism whenever possible.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
A search engine for equations. (Thanks to Uri – Israel Defense) The Israeli start-up Eqsquest has created what is believed to be the first semantic search engine designed specifically for scientific and mathematical equations. Symbolab allows users to search for equations using both numbers, symbols and/or text. QED!
Prize-winning road safety app. Israel’s ionRoad mobile in-car safety application has won the Qualcomm Venture Qprize competition as one of the most promising Israeli startups. ionRoad uses your phone’s native censors to determine vehicle speed and its distance from the vehicles ahead and alert you to a possible collision.
Purifying the water with UV light. Israel’s Atlantium has developed Ultra-Violet systems (validated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) to render germs harmless without damaging equipment or generating high levels of ozone. It has just received $3 million of funding to develop new uses for its technology.
Natural anti-freeze. A team of Israeli, American and Canadian scientists has unraveled the workings of anti-freeze proteins that allow animals, plants, fish and microorganisms to exist in cold climates. The discovery can help improve food and medicine production around the world.
Priming Israel’s Innovation Pipeline. The President of Tel Aviv University has written a nice piece in the Huffington Post. He tells about Maor, whose father – a construction worker – insists he goes to university. 12 years later, with a Masters degree, Maor is preparing his siblings to become scientists.
“Israel is contrary to nature”. So said Shimon Peres in the latest KKL-JNF video, which explains how Israel is able to turn the arid wastes of the Negev desert into fertile soil for agriculture. It turns one drop of water into five drops of water.
Israeli world record pepper. A green bell pepper dubbed “Godzilla” has won a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. Grown in brackish water with natural pesticides by the company Yofi Shel Yerakot (Beauty of Vegetables) of Moshav Ein Yahav in the northern Arava desert, it weighs half a kilo.
Israeli robots are ideal for China. The world’s largest economy has a shortage of workers, due to its one child per family policy. Israel’s small but advanced robot industry has a big chance to grow, by building robots for China, which is set to become the most robot-hungry market in the world.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
The Hive is buzzing again. Gvahim’s next Accelerator program (Hive3) begins in March. New and returning Israeli immigrant entrepreneurs can receive help to successfully establish a new business. This includes office space in Tel Aviv University, mentoring, workshops, networking events and exposure to investors.
South America and India to go Blue. (Thanks to EDI) Israel’s Blue I Technologies has raised $3 million, for expansion into South America and India. Blue I’s advanced water controllers and analyzers measure parameters such as Chlorine, pH, Redox, turbidity, conductivity and temperature.
Intel Israel has a mega year. Despite the global economic slowdown, exports by Intel Israel more than doubled to $4.6 billion in 2012 from $2.2 billion in 2011 and now accounts for a tenth of Israel’s total industrial exports. The number of full-time Intel employees grew by 10% to 8,500 and indirect employees to 25,500.
A fridge with Israeli fizz. The new Samsung Four Door Refrigerator will incorporate a built-in carbonated water dispenser from Israel’s SodaStream International. Users will be able to select up to three levels of carbonation for their sparkling water. To quote a Samsung VP, “it brings a new experience to the kitchen”.
Ten of the best. Fast Company magazine lists the ten most innovative Israeli companies, which includes SodaStream as the 23rd most innovative company in the world.
Boeing protects planes with Israeli defense system. Boeing will offer Elbit Systems-produced directed infrared countermeasures (DIRCM) equipment with all of its military and civil aircraft. Boeing is working to integrate the systems on to new and existing aircraft.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
Visit the Land of the Biblical Heroes. A multimedia visitors’ center has been built at Tel Shiloh – site of the Sanctuary (Mishkan) before King David brought it to Jerusalem. The centre opens during Passover, projecting movies onto transparent windows inside a tower that looks out onto the site where the actual events happened.
Rome displays Israeli art. Twenty-four renowned Israeli artists are the stars of an exhibition in Rome under the title, “Israel Now: Reinventing the Future.” The exhibition at the MACRO Testaccio Museum has received the Medal of Honor from Italian President Giorgio Napolitano.
Israel gets more beer. Gush Etzion residents from Scotland and the United States have teamed up to create Lone Tree Brewery, which works to make “the best beer possible.” David Shire (originally from Scotland) describes his new product at the International Mediterranean Tourism Market conference (IMTM) in Tel Aviv.
But watch what you drink. The Jewish holiday of Purim in Israel is full of fun, but the BBC account makes a clear case for writers not to indulge in unfamiliar alcohol when supposedly committed to accuracy. The BBC has moved the text of the story from the Bible to the Talmud.
THE JEWISH STATE
Good news – I’m not the only one. Sarah Honig writes some great things about Israel in her weekly blog.
Turning abandoned quarries into parks. Israel’s Quarry Rehabilitation Fund has transformed disused limestone quarries on the Golan Heights and in Karmiel into sites of natural beauty for all citizens to enjoy. The Avital Valley Park will be inaugurated next month. Binyamina and Zichron Yaakov are works in progress.
MDA’s Overseas Volunteer Program. Exciting new video showing the opportunities given for volunteers to train with Magen David Adom – Israel’s emergency first response service.
“If we could, we would stay in Tel Aviv forever”. “The people are wonderful, the food is outstanding, the views are splendid, the soldiers walk around with big guns and huge smiles and they are much nicer than our civil servants.” This was the impression that six Serbian bloggers took back to Belgrade. (Thanks to Uri)
The BBC plays “Hatikvah”. Non-Jewish Zionist writer Julie Burchill chose the Israeli National Anthem as one of her eight records when she appeared on the BBC’s Desert Island Discs. She also chose “Hebrew Man” by Israel’s Ehud Banai and the theme song from the movie “Exodus”.
You know it’s time to make Aliya when…. Congregants at the Or Avner Jewish day school in Chelyabinsk, Siberia heard a huge explosion during morning prayers followed by a bright flash that lit up the sky. Outside, a meteorite fell from space, shattering the stained glass windows of the Chelyabisnk synagogue.