This Weeks Sanity Report from Israel Mar 5 2017
The highlights include:
- Israeli scientists have found a new method to fight deadly MRSA infections.
- Israeli heart surgeons saved the life of a second Afghan child.
- Israel is making gluten-free food cheaper and more available.
- An Israeli charity is providing solar electricity to refugees in Iraq.
- An Israeli has designed a rotating hotel being built in Dubai.
- Israelis are using Waze to lobby for new wildlife road safety schemes.
- A new $150 million fund is investing in Israeli environmental technology.
- Israel’s Mellanox was the key technology for 10 Oscar-nominated films.
- $20,000 found on a Haifa bus has been returned to its owner.
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
New way to fight MRSA. Researchers at Israel’s Technion Institute have discovered unique amyloid fibrils used by the deadly antibiotic resistant MRSA bacteria to attack the immune system. It means treatments that inhibit the amyloid formation will neutralize MRSA.
Stopping nerve cell death in the brain. Tel Aviv University Professor Illana Gozes has made yet another discovery (see previous) about the gene fragment NAP and its potential to treat Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases. NAP stops abnormal Tau proteins from tangling the microtubules that maintain the brain’s nerve cells.
Bionic implant to restore sight. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Inomize has teamed up with Israel’s Nano-Retina to help build the tiny integrated circuits (ASICs) for Nano-Retina’s Bio-Retina. The implant is designed to restore sight to those suffering from retinal degenerative diseases such as AMD.
Telescope eye implant is FDA approved. (TY Untold News) Non-cataract patients with Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) who cannot wait for the Nano-Retina implant (above) can already be fitted with the Israel-developed Implantable Miniature Telescope from VisionCare. Trials are also starting shortly for post-cataract patients.
Robotic needle is on the right path. The CT-scan version of the robotic needle from Israel’s XACT (see Aug 2015) has completed successful trials. XACT has signed an agreement with the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop further versions. It has also raised another $5 million of funds.
Never forget your meds. Israel’s Eximore is developing ophthalmic treatment delivery products. The company has begun development of a non-invasive punctal plug designed to release glaucoma treatments automatically via the tear ducts, controlled over a long period of time. No need to remember to apply eye drops.
Palestinian Arab cured of tremor. Doctors at Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center used MRI-guided ultrasound from Israel’s Insightec to cure a 60-year-old Palestinian Arab from Bethlehem from severe essential tremor. He is now able to return to work at his restaurant.
Heart surgery saves another Afghan toddler. (TY The Tower) I reported previously (twice) about Yehia – the first Afghan child to receive life-saving surgery from Israel’s Save A Child’s Heart. Now a second toddler, Yakub, has been saved by SACH doctors after arriving from his remote Afghan village via Kabul and Istanbul.
Hospital worker delivers daughter’s baby. Ofra Grady saw thousands of births, including 11 of her grandchildren, while cleaning the delivery rooms at Israel’s Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot. But she never expected to deliver another grandchild in the family car while her husband was driving them to the hospital.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Affordable new Tel Aviv apartments. Plans for Tel Aviv’s new Dov Neighborhood, to be constructed after Sde Dov airport is vacated, includes 2,100 affordable apartments. Half of those eligible for discounted housing will be local residents, who will benefit from a discount of at least 50% on the cost of the housing.
Gluten-free food to be more accessible. (TY Janglo) Israel’s Health Ministry is making gluten-free food for celiac sufferers more available. Grants will be given to Israeli producers of non-gluten food and a subsidy will be offered to a manufacturer of gluten-free flour. In addition, import regulations will be eased.
IDF launches women into hi-tech. For the first time, most of the commanders of the IDF’s elite tech C4I communications corps are women. 30% of students on their C41 programmers’ training course are women. The IDF’s role of introducing women to hi-tech is crucial for Israel’s continued economic success.
Israeli Arabs – integration not deprivation. Ambassador Yoram Ettinger gives nine facts to emphasize the wish of Israeli Arabs to be part of the Jewish State – and not to be linked with the Palestinian Arabs.
Israel hosts Forbes “under 30” Summit again. Around 750 young entrepreneurs from 35 countries are to attend Forbes Under 30 Summit EMEA in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, from April 2nd to 6th. They will also attend a cybersecurity event, a venture capitalist meeting, plus visit archeological sites, the Dead Sea and Masada.
Green Tel Aviv University building commended. World Architecture News (WAN) made special mention of Tel Aviv University Porter School of Environmental Studies’ Capsule Building in their annual awards for ecological architectural design. It was commended as one of the 17 greenest projects in the world.
Everyone wanted to visit Israel. President Edgar Lungu of Zambia, who is on a five-day state visit to Israel, said his entire cabinet wanted to follow. But he only had room for his Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Agriculture, Commerce, Trade and Industry, Energy, Tourism, Water Development and Environment, Transportation and Health.
Solar light to Yazidi refugees in Iraq. Israeli humanitarian organization IsraAID is providing solar panels to a Yazidi refugee camp in northern Iraq to help 330 families access electricity.
The eighth great power of 2017. (TY Zev) Tiny Israel has joined The American Interest magazine’s list of the world’s greatest powers for the first time – at number 8. It praises Israel’s schools, policies, thinkers, startups, entrepreneurs, technology, cybersecurity, irrigation, desalination, agri-tech and even its pivotal political status.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Israeli mobile tech at MWC 2017. (TY The Tower) Mobile World Congress (MWC) Feb 27 – Mar 2 in Barcelona is the world’s biggest mobile industry trade show. 65 Israeli companies are exhibiting at the Israeli pavilion, plus about a hundred more elsewhere at the show.
4 Global Cleantech companies. (TY Nevet) Four Israeli companies were named in the 2017 Global Cleantech 100. Israel’s BreezoMeter, Kaiima, TaKaDu, and Netafim are among the top 100 companies picked (from a list of 9,900) by Cleantech Group as poised to make significant market impact within a five- to 10-year timeframe.
Stay underwater for much longer. (TY Untold News) Israel’s Like-a-Fish has re-invented the underwater breathing apparatus. Instead of carrying heavy cylinders of compressed air, the innovative technology extracts the air from the water as you go. Like-a-Fish is developing the air supply system for INOVA’s ATLANTIS hydrofoil / submarine.
Microsoft use Israelis to find security weaknesses. Cyber professionals, hackers and other proud geeks convened in Tel Aviv at Microsoft’s first BlueHat cybersecurity conference in Israel to tackle cybercrime. In addition to presentations, there was a competition to break the security of a nuclear reactor plant.
Rotating Dubai hotel – designed by Israeli. (TY NoCamels) Israeli architect David Fisher has designed Dubai’s 80-story Dynamic Tower Hotel, due for completion in 2020. Hotel residents will be able to rotate their rooms through 360 degrees, to either follow the sun or shade or change the view endlessly or on demand.
What is moving the Universe? Researchers, led by Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Professor Yehuda Hoffman, have used 3D mapping of the movement of galaxies, to find that our Milky Way galaxy is speeding away from a huge, previously unidentified low density void that they have named the Dipole Repeller.
Bringing flavor back to tomatoes. Scientists, including from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, have identified the flavor components that contribute to the delicious taste of tomatoes. They will now breed those components back into the modern types of tomatoes.
A solution to parking problems? (TY Janglo) The Jerusalem Municipality has completed a pilot program to test the viability of automated parking systems. Each Ferris-wheel-like unit in the Mesilat Yesharim parking lot occupies two parking spots and provides 12-16 vertical spaces in exchange.
Splitting water – more news. I reported previously (Apr 10) on the breakthrough by Israeli Technion scientists regarding the efficient splitting of water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. Now Weizmann Institute scientists have made electrons spin in a way to avoid producing hydrogen peroxide, which corrodes electrodes.
Waze to protect wildlife. Just in time for World Wildlife Day (Mar 3rd), Israeli drivers can now use the Israeli Waze navigation app to report a dead animal on the side of the road. The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel will then consolidate and analyze the data to find solutions for providing safe passage for wildlife.
A biological model to count cyber threats. Israel’s Ben Gurion University has teamed up with Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University to fight advanced cyberthreats like the human body’s immune system fights bacteria. The cyber-immune technology will utilize BGU’s software and NTL’s hardware research expertise.
2017 Japan Prize winner. One of my cyber heroes, Professor Adi Shamir of Israel’s Weizmann Institute has won a 2017 Japan Prize for his pioneering work on cryptography. In 1977 Shamir, together with Ron Rivest and Leonard Adleman invented the RSA public-key algorithm standard for data encryption, valid even today.
The next generation of cyber experts. Israel is teaching its children the basic building blocks of the web. Sagy Bar of the Rashi Foundation, a philanthropic group running Israel’s new cyber education center said “first grade they learn the letters, then how to read and how to write. We are building the next level of knowledge – how to code”.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Funds continue to flow into startups. Israeli startups raised nearly $700 million in 2017 to date – the same level as in 2016. They include Kaminario (Flash storage – $75 million), Appsflyer (mobile ad analytics – $56 million), SentinelOne (Cyber security – $70 million) and Transmit Security (Cyber security – $40 million).
$150 million for environment tech. Chinese investment fund Blueconomy Center has raised $150 million for investing in marine and environmental technologies in Israel. The fund aims to help Israeli companies expedite their entry into the Chinese market and is in advanced negotiations for investments in four Israeli companies.
Startup Live Festival. Some 2000 delegates are expected at the Startup Festival and Startup Live Competition in Rishon LeZion on Mar 29. It features some 100 startups covering smart transportation, homeland security, financial, agriculture, food, fashion and wearable technology, drones, robotics, big data, Augmented/Virtual Reality and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Chinese car maker to open Israeli R&D center. (TY Bennett) Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) will found a Research & Development center in Israel for advanced auto technologies. The center will focus on data networks, car sharing, and smart automated propulsion.
Ryanair’s new Tel Aviv to Europe routes. I reported previously (Jan 29) that low cost airline Ryanair was to commence flights out of Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport. The destinations have been confirmed as Italy (Milan), Germany (Baden-Baden) and Poland (Gdansk, Poznan, Wroclaw and Krakow) commencing Nov 2017.
More flights to Beijing. I reported previously (May 15) that Hainan Airlines of China started a three flights a week service between Tel Aviv and Beijing. The route is so popular that Hainan has now increased the frequency to five flights a week for May and June.
1.2 billion downloads. I’ve reported previously (several times) on Israeli kids’ games publisher TabTable. In its six years, it has become one of the leading children’s games companies in the Apple and Google apps stores with 1.2 billion downloads of its software.
Bet Shemesh engines gets $37 million boost. Bet Shemesh Engines has won a $37 million extension to its 2016 $69 million deals with Spanish company Industria de Turbo Propulsores (ITP Group). ITP is owned by UK engine giant Rolls Royce and is participating in a General Electric engine upgrade project.
LightCyber exits for $130 million. I reported previously (3 times) on Israel’s LightCyber and its ability to detect cyber-attacks using behavioral analytics. It has just been acquired by Palo Alto Networks for $130 million, becoming the US company’s second Israeli acquisition after buying Cyvera in 2014 for $200 million.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
Sounds of the Old City. (TY Janglo) The fifth annual Sounds of the Old City festival, will be held from Mar 20 – 23 in the Old City of Jerusalem. Musical bands and ensembles will perform music unique to each of the four Old City quarters.
New Rothschild-Allenby Market in Tel Aviv. (TY Janglo) A new covered market has opened in Tel Aviv at the corner of Rothschild Boulevard and Allenby Street. It specializes in culinary stalls featuring Israeli beer, South African sandwiches, local catch of the day, and Japanese ramen dishes.
Israel just might have the world’s best restaurant scene. (TY Nevet) Nice article praising Israeli restaurants. The writer went with food writers, star chefs and the organizers of Round Tables, a culinary festival that paired Israel’s top chefs with 13 international luminaries. (But spot the error about meat at kosher restaurants.)
Israeli tech powers 10 Oscar-nominated films. Israel’s Mellanox Technologies provides the server and datacenter technology to the film companies responsible for 10 Oscar-nominated films such as La La Land and Moana. Mellanox’s massive bandwidth is needed to stream the complex, high-density pixel data visual effects.
Israeli soccer player is a true star. Israel’s Tomer Hemed plays soccer for the UK team Brighton and Hove Albion. From his hairstyle, you can tell that he wants everyone to know he is a proud Israeli.
THE JEWISH STATE
Modest Fashion Day. (TY Janglo) Jerusalem’s “Modest Fashion Day” was Israel’s first major fashion show for Orthodox Jewish women who require conservative outfits. Israeli models hit the catwalk in front of hundreds of Orthodox women and fashionistas, wearing long sleeves and dresses down to their ankles.
Support Israel – wave the flag. Harry Goldstein of North London Friends of Israel (NLFoI) says that the way to support the Jewish State is to be visible. NLFoI members stand in busy shopping streets or local festivals, with leaflets, literature and Israeli flags. They make a strong statement – that they are ordinary, local people.
Bus driver returns lost $20,000 to owner. (TY Janglo) Haifa Egged bus driver Ataf Tatur found a wallet containing $20,000 in a bag left on his bus. Ataf and the Egged branch director called the owners who came to collect the bag. An Egged spokesperson said “This is the accepted norm in Egged, and it is what we expect from those behind the wheel”. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/225739