This Weeks Sanity Report from Israel April 30 2017
The highlights include:
- The US Pentagon funded an Israeli infection diagnosis system.
- Israel has appointed a Muslim woman judge to its Sharia courts.
- An Indonesian fish farm uses an Israeli water treatment system.
- Israeli paint can generate electricity.
- Israeli school children have built a European research satellite.
- Israel has begun pumping natural gas to Jordan.
- Israel will host the 2018 European Judo Championships.
- A Muslim family from Gaza are now Israeli Zionists.
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Pentagon funds Israeli infection test system. The US Department of Defense has awarded a $9.2 million contract to Israel’s MeMed to help it complete its pioneering platform for distinguishing bacterial from viral infections. MeMed (see here) had already received a 2.3 Euro grant from the European Commission.
Robot-aided surgery fixes severe spinal fracture. (TY Eli) In the world’s first procedure of its kind, Israeli surgeons at Hadassah University Medical Center used a Mazor-Israel robot to operate on Aharon Schwartz, whose spine was broken in six places from a work accident. Schwartz is expected to be able to walk again soon.
An MRI machine for babies. Israel’s Aspect Imaging is developing a compact MRI system that can be placed in neonatal units for scanning newborns at the point of care. Aspect has just raised $30 million which will also help fund the development of a stroke-dedicated MRI System for Emergency Rooms.
Fixing hernias. Israel’s Via Surgical has developed FasTouch – a next-generation system for fixing prosthetic material to soft tissues in surgical procedures such as hernia repairs. Less complications, less post-operative pain and faster recovery. FasTouch is to be distributed across the US by Progressive Medical.
Another robot-guided needle. Ben-Gurion University and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital have founded Xact Medical, (no relation to XACT Robotics) to commercialize their Fast Intelligent Needle Delivery (FIND) system. Robotics and ultrasound guide the needle into the body – good for children, whose vascular systems are so small. https://aabgu.org/finding-a-more-accurate-needle/
The body’s garbage collector. A new video of Israeli Nobel Laureate Aaron Ciechanover, co-discoverer of Ubiquitin – used by cells to re-cycle proteins and prevent them from causing disease and cancer. Ciechanover’s research has saved millions of lives, revolutionizing health, agriculture, and the environment.
Israel’s leading bio-medical conference. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s 16th MIXiii-Biomed conference, beginning on May 23, will focus on aging and age-related diseases. How to monitor, diagnose and treat elderly patients using precision medicine, genetics, personal diagnostics, digital health, robotics and regenerative therapies.
Israeli calcium can fight cancer. I reported previously (twice) about Israel’s Amorphical which has developed amorphous calcium to treat osteoporosis in patients who have trouble absorbing current (crystalline) calcium supplements. Amorphous calcium also reduces the acidity that certain enzymes use to generate cancer cells.
New Haifa center for medical research. (TY Eli) Haifa University has joined with Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center to launch a project to build a 20-story “Medical Discovery Tower”. It will focus on academic and commercial research of diseases. Two floors will be assigned to the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Raising the potential of special children. The Master’s Program at Israel’s Chemdat Hadarom college trains students to help special-needs children reach the heights of their abilities. During the long summer holiday, the college loans its campus to Israel’s Ezer Mizion which organizes summer camps for those special children.
Strong Israeli women. The Strong Jewish Women’s Summit is a web event which features many successful Israeli women. They include Dr. Mina Teicher – former Israeli Chief Scientist; Yael Elad – COO of VC Fund Aleph; Beth Steinberg – founder of Non-profit Shutaf and Hamutal Gouri – Exec director of the Dafna Fund.
Israeli cyber firm employs mostly women. 60% of the sixty employees at Israeli cybersecurity company EverCompliant are female – about twice that of the average tech company. CEO Ron Teicher said, “It’s not a deliberate decision, it just happened… in most cases the lady candidate was better”.
Empowering Arab women business leaders. Ola Baker Salameh is an Israeli-Arab woman from Acre and CEO of Sebana Medical. Her company employs Arabs (Christian and Muslim) and Jews. It received 60% of its R&D funding from Israel’s Office of Chief Scientist.
Israel appoints a female judge to Sharia Court. Israel’s Sharia Courts handle personal status law issues like marriage and divorce for Muslim-Israelis. The judges’ selection committee, headed by Israel’s Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, appointed Ana Hatib as their first-ever female judge. http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/Israeli-Sharia-Courts-to-appoint-first-ever-female-judge-488892
MDA teaches Arabic to volunteers. (TY Janglo) In order to better serve Jerusalem’s Arabic-speaking population, Israeli emergency medical service Magen David Adom is offering Arabic-language instruction to volunteers. 40 volunteers in the Jerusalem district have signed up for the first session of courses.
Video of Arab kids learning Hebrew goes viral. (TY Hazel) Israeli President Rivlin invited Arab teacher Jehan Jaber to his Jerusalem residence, to praise her for teaching Hebrew to Arab elementary school children. She played a darbuka drum and sang the catchy song “Geshem, Geshem Metaftef” (“Rain, rain is dripping”).
The video has been seen well over 2 million times
Giving Ear – violins, not violence. (TY Stuart) Recent article about Polyphony, co-founded in Nazareth by Abboud-Ashkar in 2012. Polyphony’s aim is to bring together Arab and Jewish youth in Israel by offering them equal opportunities in music.
Israeli wins international honey competition. (TY Karen) Israeli Yael Farbstein, owner of Kedumim Honey in Samaria, won the International Multi-Floral Sourced Honeys of the Black Jar Honey Tasting Contest in North Carolina. Yael said of the wildflowers of Samaria, “There is something special in the nature here.”
Israeli home-learning system goes East. Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem developed the Home Instruction for Parents and Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) in 1969. It is used by 20,000 families in 9 countries including Canada, Germany, Israel and the US and is now being extended to China and South Korea.
Helping fish farming in Indonesia. Israel’s BioFishency (see May 2014 article) recently installed its aquaculture water-treatment systems in an Indonesian plant that raises Whiteleg (Pacific white) shrimp. The system removes toxic ammonia, cuts water consumption by up to 85 percent while increasing yield 2.5 times.
16,000 agricultural ambassadors. (TY Stuart P) Israel’s JNF-supported Arava International Center for Agriculture Training (AICAT) has trained more than 16,000 students from Africa and Asia since it was established in 1994. Seeing the Israeli desert bloom inspires them when they return to their home countries.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Painting a brighter future. Israeli startup SolarPaint, based on Kibbutz Nahsholim in northern Israel, has developed “electrode-net” (ultra-thin wireframe – similar to mosquito netting) and nanoparticle-infused coating to generate solar power from roofs, walls and, eventually, even roads.
Flex launches new Israeli design center. Multi-national electronics manufacturer Flex has inaugurated its new Israeli design center in Haifa. Customers can now take products through from design to mass-production. Israel accounts for 50% of Flex’s global innovation, with seven Israeli sites, employing 4000 Israelis.
Pulling water out of the air at AIPAC. (TY David F) Israel’s Water-Gen has been in the limelight recently. Professor Alan Dershowitz presented the company’s GENius device on stage at the AIPAC conference. Water-Gen has just signed agreements with Vietnam and India.
Exposing land mines using glowing bacteria. Hebrew University of Jerusalem scientists have discovered that buried explosives leak vapors that cause engineered e-coli bacteria to emit fluorescent molecules. Remote laser scanners detect the glowing molecules, giving explosives experts the exact locations of the deadly devices.
Don’t finance the bad guys. Israeli startup Taykey has developed a tool that enables advertisers to prevent their ads from appearing on malicious websites. It checks a site is safe for the advert to be hosted. In 2016, offensive websites earned hundreds of millions of dollars by sharing profits with advertisers.
Students’ nano-satellite goes into space. Israel’s Duchifat-2 is one of 28 Cubesats from 23 countries built for the EU’s QB50 Thermosphere research program. It is the only one to be built by high-school students. Duchifat-2 is currently on board the International Space Station and will be placed into orbit in June.
Removing viruses from drinking water. Researchers from Ben-Gurion University and the University of Illinois have developed a novel hydrogel membrane coating that significantly improve the virus-removal process from treated municipal wastewater.
Smart paper sounds alarm if stolen. Israel’s Sdema has developed a thin invisible network called Tagit that functions as a sensor for secure paper documents. It works even when the paper is torn, folded, or crumpled. As soon as the paper is taken out of the area defined as a protected area, the system issues a warning.
Can you survive a cyber-attack? (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Cymulate has developed a platform to simulate cyber-attacks in real-time. It helps an enterprise prepare for ransom and fishing attacks, and detect breaches through which hackers can take over its computers and apps. Cymulate has just raised $3 million of funds.
Imaging in the 4th dimension. I reported previously (July 2016) about Israel’s Arbe Robotics and its radar-based traffic control system for drones. Arbe is now developing 4D imaging technology for autonomous vehicles, based on radar instead of cameras and sensors. Arbe has just raised $2.5 million to fund development.
High-speed Virtual Reality. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Giraffic has joined forces with Israeli-founded Byond to launch Mobile VR Magic – the first mobile Virtual Reality (VR) video experience that delivers flawless and uninterrupted HD and 4K streaming in real time. No more buffering pauses or resolution reduction.
Three of the world’s top AI companies. (TY Bennett) Fortune magazine included only six countries in its list of 50 companies leading the Artificial Intelligence (AI) revolution. The Israeli AI innovators listed are Logz.io (computer log analysis), Voyager Labs (human behavior analysis) and (see here) Zebra Medical Vision.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
The world’s 3rd most stable economy. Bloomberg has rated Israel’s economy as the third most stable in the world, after Hong Kong and South Korea. Bloomberg praised Israel’s nearly non-existent inflation rate and low unemployment.
Israeli gas flows to Jordan. (TY Atid-EDI) I reported previously (several times) about Israel selling natural gas to Jordan. Natural gas from Israel’s offshore Tamar reservoir began flowing to Jordan in early 2017 via a special pipeline built in 2016 from Israel’s Dead Sea Works plant.
Not just surviving, but thriving. (TY Ruth) John Levy of the Friends of Israel Educational Foundation gave this TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) talk to sixth formers at a UK school. He eloquently presents Israel’s achievements to this important audience.
More flights to Israel. The latest airlines to announce new scheduled flights to Israel include Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) flying between Eilat and Stockholm; Armenia Aircompany between Tel Aviv and Yerevan and Ural Airways between Tel Aviv and the southern Russian resort of Sochi.
A growing business goes through the roof. (TY Jacques) I reported previously (Jan 8) about the “Green in the City” urban farm on the roof of Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff shopping mall. This latest article includes a new video of the farm, and features its unmanned fresh food stands where honest shoppers buy the vegetables with cash.
Fleet management for Coca-Cola. (TY Atid-EDI) I reported (several times) about the Fleet management and cargo tracking systems of Israel’s Pointer Telematics. Now Coca-Cola FEMSA, the largest public bottler by sales volume of Coca-Cola products in the world, has selected Pointer to provide fleet management services.
Using AI to automate contract reviews. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s LawGeex uses artificial intelligence (AI) to save businesses much of the time and expense required to review and approve everyday contracts. LawGeex has just raised $7 million of funds.
Israeli ride-sharers merge. Israeli ridesharing startups Gett and Juno are joining forces, in order to challenge larger rivals Uber and Lyft. Gett offers ride-hailing services in more than 80 cities around the world, including London, Moscow and New York. The taxi app Juno is only active in New York City.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
Renovating Caesarea’s ancient harbor. A NIS 100 million grant from the Rothschild Foundation will allow archeologists to renovate the ancient harbor at Caesarea and continue excavating the Caesarea National Park.
Yom Haatzmaut Events. For Israel’s 69th birthday on 2nd May, 69 heritage sites will be open for free. You can also visit four Air Force bases or watch the annual fly-past of 30 planes from 40 cities. Beaches, barbecues, concerts – see here for details.
Jerusalem rebuilt. Jerusalem’s Tower of David Museum is hosting a new series of tours in English exploring the architecture of the city. The next tour on May 26 focuses on how the architecture of the city changed after the Six Day War, as euphoric construction began in the re-unified city.
Israeli and Iranian unite for Tel Aviv concert. (Originally in Washington Post, but no longer available.) Iranian rock musician Shahin Najafi sang alongside Israeli rock star Aviv Geffen at a concert in Tel Aviv – the first performance by an Iranian artist at an Israeli rock concert.
The Dead Sea is not so dead. (TY Avi) Just over 1 hour away from Jerusalem, the Dead Sea is the lowest place on the Earth’s surface. Magnificent in its beauty, rich in minerals, and beckoning to all who love the wonders of mother nature.
The Jerusalem Marathon. (TY Sharon) Over 30,000 runners ran in the Jerusalem Marathon on Mar 17. Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat spoke about the event and the 50th anniversary of re-unification.
Two Israelis in promoted UK soccer team. I wrote previously (Mar 5) about proud Israeli soccer star Tomer Hemed. He and Muslim Israeli-Arab team-mate Beram Kayal helped Brighton & Hove Albion win promotion to the English Premier League. Tomer was interviewed by the BBC, which didn’t mention that he is Israeli.
European gymnastics bronze medal. Israel’s Alex Shatilov won the bronze medal in the European Men’s Gymnastics Championship held in Romania. It is the seventh European medal for Shatilov. 20-year-old Israeli Artem Dolgopyat also qualified for the finals and finished fourth.
Israel to host European Judo Championships. The European Judo Union has selected Israel as the host of the 2018 European Judo Championships. The success of the under-23 championships in Tel Aviv in November convinced the EJU to hand Israel the right to organize Europe’s most prestigious competition.
THE JEWISH STATE
Monkeys love matzah. (TY Adela) On Passover, Jews around the world ate matzah – unleavened bread – to remember their ancestors who fled ancient Egypt who had no time to wait for the dough to rise. It appears that the monkeys at Ramat Gan Safari Park also enjoyed partaking in that tradition in the Jewish state.
Why Israel Matters. A partnership of Christian groups has produced a TV series called “Why Israel Matters,” which intends to set the record straight on Israel and the Jewish state. The 13-part original series demonstrates the crucial importance of the Jewish state to Christians, to the United States and to the world in general.
Developing the Negev. The latest JNF B’Yachad magazine describes how the JNF has helped transform Be’er Sheva into one of Israel’s most sought-after cities. The Negev “desert” comprises 60% of the Jewish State and other articles describe communities that have been literally created out of nothing.
Letter from a tomato. Israel’s agricultural regeneration followed the return of the Jewish people to its homeland. This clever historical summary is written from the viewpoint of the fruit and vegetables themselves.
From Gazan Muslims to IDF Jews. This amazing journey is nearing its finish. After a Muslim Arab from Gaza was treated at an Israeli hospital, his son went to work for the Israeli Shin Bet security service. Later, the son moved to Israel and now his sons are in the IDF and are converting to Judaism.