Israel Weekly Good News – March 10th 2013

images     Israeli scientists are working to use an alternative area of the brain, for damaged retinas of the blind. Israeli doctors perform a rare operation to save a baby with whooping cough. UK media not normally sympathetic to Israel featured an innovative Israeli cancer test. Despite the civil war, Israel has exported 18,000 tons of Golan Heights apples to Syria.  You can now charge your iPhone5 wirelessly, with Israel’s Powermat. Relax – your Airbus’s engines are powered by Israeli technology. A Moslem came second in the women’s race of the Jerusalem marathon, boycotted by the PA.

 

ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
From the Start-up Nation to the Brain Nation.  Bloomberg TV’s Countdown program featured Israel’s advances in Neurotech – Brain Science.  The reporter also tried out IDC’s Brain Machine Interface.
Projecting sight for the blind.  Researchers in Optogenetics at Israel’s Technion are working on a substitute for damaged retinas. A light-sensitive protein can turn the ganglion cells in the eye into photoreceptors.  Visual images projected onto these cells stimulate neurons and recreate the image in the brain.  Watch this space!
The unsung Israeli hero of Parkinson’s treatment.  Professor Hagai Berman of Hebrew University will receive he Rappaport Prize for Excellence in Biomedical Research as overdue recognition for his work on Deep Brain Stimulation.  Over 100,000 Parkinson’s sufferers have been treated with DBS, one of the most effective treatments for the ailment.
Israel’s brain center gets off the ground.  A groundbreaking ceremony took place at the site of the Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences (ELSC) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The new building will be home to the largest neuroscience center in Israel and one of the most ambitious in the world.
UK GlaxoSmithKline delegation in Israel.  The GSK delegation visited the Weizmann Institute, Sheba Medical Center, Hadassit in Jerusalem, Ben-Gurion University, Israel Technion and other institutions. Dr. Duncan Holmes said, “We recognize the huge expertise of Israeli academics in research in this field.”
Rare treatment saves baby from whooping cough.  Doctors at Western Galilee Hospital in Nahariya saved the life of a month-old baby who contracted whooping cough before immunization. The baby’s blood was replaced with infused blood and she was soon weaned off her respirator and has now been discharged.
Simply saving lives.  An all-women Israeli company is producing “MediTags” – bracelets that contain medical and personal details in Hebrew and English.  They can store details of allergies in case the wearer is rendered unconscious; or the contact details for an Alzheimer’s patient in case they get lost.
UK Guardian hails Israeli cancer test.  Unique recognition of Israel’s medical success in the UK newspaper that normally only criticizes Israel.  It picked up a British Journal of Cancer article on the innovative diagnosis breath test invented by Israel Technion Professor Hossam Haick.  Also featured on the BBC.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Gaza weekly deliveries:  Unfortunately the Keren Shalom crossing has been shut due to a dispute between the PA and Hamas.  70 trucks are waiting on the Israeli side of the crossing.
Israeli doctor saves life of Arab stone-thrower.  At the height of Arab riots, Dr Micah Shamir quietly entered the PA city of Nablus (Shechem) without an army escort in order to save the life of a Palestinian Arab who had been badly injured after PA doctors called for help.  The Arab is now recovering in an Israeli hospital.
Jews and Christians rescue sick Gaza children.  Assaf Harofeh Medical Center in Tel Aviv has teamed up with the Living Bread International Church to heal children who receive inadequate healthcare in Gaza and the Palestinian Territories.  The “Rescue the Child” project was set-up when LBIC contacted the Israeli Army.
Golan Druze export apples to Syria.  Israel will export 18,000 tons of apples grown by Druze farmers on the Golan Heights to Syria over the next three months. It benefits Israel, (keeps the price of the fruit stable); the Druze farmers (able to market their surplus); and the Syrians gain a supply of regionally grown fresh apples.
Environmentally friendly fashions.  Students at Shenkar College of Engineering and Design have created clothes from recycled surplus or defective items donated by a leading retailer.  It is part of a project exploring “design as an engine of social impact.”  The new items were then mass-produced and sold on discount.
An excellent question.  Why should anyone in the West boycott Ahava products when Palestinians Arabs in Jericho are selling them?  The BDS movement promotes the boycott of Ahava skin care products, but virtually every tour bus that comes to Jericho is directed into the Ahava Temptation store.
An Israeli dairy farm in Iraq?  (Thanks to SDM) A delegation led by Iraqi Kurdistan’s agriculture minister and vice president visited Kibbutz Afikim. They plan to build a dairy farm in northern Iraq according to the successful Israeli model.  According to Ynet, AfiMilk has already established a camel milking facility in Dubai.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
A safer car-phone.  Israel’s Accel Telecom’s Voyager car-phone extends your smartphone, with features especially for drivers. Big, easy to access keys, special noise filtration and cancellation plus enhanced volume for clearer conversations, voice activation for calls and commands, a built-in copy of Waze and much more.
Charge your iPhone – wirelessly.  Israel’s Powermat Technologies unveiled its cordless iPhone5 charger at the Barcelona World Mobile Congress. The product includes a charging case, an extra battery which doubles the iPhone’s work period and a 7,000-milliampere mobile internal charging pad, for multiple recharges.
Your hi-tech guide to Israel.  (Thanks to Uri) Eye On Israel is a really smart new Windows application to help you explore and navigate Israel.   It contains dynamic maps, videos and information on the best geological and historical sites, plus wildlife, attractions, accommodation and more that I haven’t had time to check out yet.
A cyber nation.  A recent event organized by SpeedMind – Israel offered the opportunity for an inside look into Cyber Technology in Israel.  The government, VC’s and companies offering a variety of products and services for the cyber security market are now investing in and promoting the Cyber Security market in Israel.
Clearly a better image.  (Thanks to Atid-EDI) Tel Aviv-based Sightec’s super-resolution technology can recognize people with only 3-5 pixels rather than the 400+ required by competitive systems in use today.  Sightec has been acquired by US-based Pongr to enhance its photo-sharing business to a completely new level.
The Chinese connection.  Here is a video of the visit to the Technion from the Chinese Ambassador to Israel.  Long histories connect China with Israel and the Technion attracts top Chinese students to study here.
How water is treated in Israel and California.  (Thanks to Herb)  There are physical similarities between the Jewish State and the South-West State of the USA. So how does each deal with its limited water resources?
Powering the plane.  When you next board an Airbus or any plane with Pratt and Whitney engines, you can rest assured that Israeli technology is helping to power you to your destination.  Bet Shemesh Engines produces components for the auxiliary power units and will continue to do so for at least the next seven years.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Israel’s assets increase.  The value of Israel’s public finances improved by 5.8% (in real terms) during 2012 to NIS 2.7 trillion.
And debts decrease.  Israel is the only Western country to have reduced its debt as a proportion of GDP in 2012.  Israeli government debt was 73.5% of GDP last year, compared to 74.1% of GDP in 2011 and 80% of GDP five years ago.
From start-up to buy-out.  Here is a fascinating interview describing the history of Israel’s Minicom until it was sold to Tripp Lite in 2012.  Eli Sasson came out of the army in 1985 and graduated from Tel Aviv Uni in 1988.  He started a business and built his PC control device in his garage.  Follow his story.
Kids education is now a big game.  Israeli publisher of children’s and family apps, TabTable, has bought Israeli smartphone educational games company Kids Games Club. Together they have produced over 200 educational apps, making the combined Israeli company one of the big players in the market.
Boosting trade with the Philippines.  Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) president Miguel Varela said he wants to triple two-way trade with Israel during 2013.  He outlined plans during a business matching session and forum in Manila, attended by a 15-member delegation from Israel.
Broadband for Argentina.  Israel’s Alvarion has deployed wireless broadband to Argentina’s seventh largest city of Mar del Plata – gateway to Patagonia with a population of 600,000. Its ”Smart City” network connects municipal centers, including libraries, community centers, schools, hospitals, clinics, and municipal offices.
The first Asian R&D center in Israel.  Singapore-based telecommunications group SingTel and Israeli software solutions provider Amdocs are setting up a joint development center in Israel.  The center will develop innovative products for customers of the SingTel group in the 26 countries in which it operates.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
10.5 million visitors to the Western Wall.  2012 data provided by Israel’s police indicates a major boost in Kotel tourism compared to 2011.  The data includes regular worshipers and the many thousands who come for special prayer services on holidays as well as tourists and other visitors.
10 Israeli bands at SXSW Texas.  (Thanks to SDM) If you visit South By South West in Austin Texas next week, you will get an opportunity to hear performances from some of the best Israeli groups.
What to do in March.
Rita rocks the UN.  Here is the full video of Iranian-born Israeli singer Rita’s concert at the United Nations.
20,000 race in Jerusalem marathon.  Runners from 52 countries competed in the 2013 Jerusalem Winner International Marathon.  Ethiopians won both the men’s and women’s races in record times. Note that Radiya Mohammed Roba of Ethiopia came second in the women’s marathon. Meanwhile, the UN cancelled the Gaza marathon because Hamas wouldn’t allow women to race.  Happy International Women’s Day.
THE JEWISH STATE
A British Muslim’s view of the Middle East.  The founder of www.theisraelcampaign.orgKasim Hafeez writes about the double standards used by human rights activists in relation to Israel and any other country.  Kasim ran in the Jerusalem half marathon to raise funds for the Michael Levin Lone Soldier Center.
Israel destroys landmines.  Israel has begun a project to rid the area of Eilat of over 10,000 defensive landmines placed near the city in clearly marked minefields during the sixties and seventies.  The recovered land will be returned to the city for use in housing and agriculture.
Israel to build nationwide cycling grid.  Israel’s Transportation Ministry has approved a new project to pave 400km of cycling trails across the country.  The project’s main goal is to minimize accidents involving cyclists on interurban highways.  The ministry also hopes more people will use this eco-friendly mode of transportation.
Study the Jewish State – in DC.  The Israel Institute opened its doors in the US capital last week with a novel mission: to advance the scholarly study of modern Israel in the United States and around the world.
Going “up” in the World.  David Brent is a NASA engineer who will shortly become an American Israeli.  It is a lot easier than becoming an Israeli American.  He explains that in Israel, the laws of physics are reversed. It is easier to go “up” (Aliyah) than to go down.  David is coming home.