This Weeks Sanity Report from Israel May 28 2017
The highlights include:
- Israeli scientists have developed a polymer that unblocks the arteries.
- Israel had two international successes in respect of women’s rights.
- An Israeli test for contaminated food won an award from the UN.
- Israel is leading the development of synthetic (animal-free) meat.
- A new Israeli startup incubator for entrepreneurs aged 45+.
- Aerosmith launched their international “farewell” tour in Tel Aviv.
- Huge celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem.
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Nano-polymer repairs damaged arteries. Researchers at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University and Sheba Medical Center have developed a new bio-medical polymer that reduces arterial plaque and inflammation in the cardiovascular system. The polymer uniquely reverses arterial damage and does not affect healthy tissue.
Using human bacteria to treat diseases. Israeli biotech BiomX is developing a pipeline of treatments for unmet medical needs, including cancer, inflammatory bowel disease and acne. BiomX focuses on modulating the human microbiome – bacteria that reside in and on the human body – to boost immune-oncology treatments.
AIDS treatment also kills cancer. I reported previously (Nov 27) that the “Gammora” treatment developed, by Israel’s Zion Biomedic, killed over 95% of the HIV virus in lab tests at Israel’s Kaplan Medical Center. Latest trials on lung and colon cancer cells eliminated some 70% of the carcinogenic cells.
3D organ bio-printing. I reported previously (Jun 5) that Israel’s Collplant was developing a bio-ink that could 3D print tissues and organs. Collplant has now setup a division to produce the ink, which could eventually be the answer for patients desperately waiting for organ transplants.
Volunteer doctor re-designs life-saving device. Dr. Ishay Benuri, a volunteer with emergency medical service United Hatzalah, treats victims of terrorism. He discovered that the addition of a loop onto his intubation device (to insert a tube allowing patients to breathe) could potentially save countless more lives.
Circular RNA linked to aging and brain disease. Scientists led by Professor Sebastian Kadener from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have discovered that, contrary to previous belief, circular RNA molecules are responsible for producing proteins in the brain and could play an important role in neurodegenerative diseases.
Another discovery about aging. Microbiologist Dr Valery Krizhanovsky of Israel’s Weizmann Institute studies senescent cells – cells that stop dividing. When these build up they release cytokines and enzymes that permanently damage healthy tissue. Eliminating senescent cells may prevent many diseases of the elderly.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Give way to the elderly. As predicted (in Jun 2016) Israelis aged 80 or older no longer need to stand in line for service at stores, pharmacies, banks, post offices and other public services. The only exceptions will be made for disabled individuals, who will get priority over the elderly. The new law was passed unanimously in the Knesset.
Respite for Israeli parents of cancer kids. Israeli charity Zichron Menachem sponsored a week’s holiday in London for 40 parents of Israeli children with cancer. Hosted by local families, the parents toured the capital as they got a much-needed break from the demands of taking care of a severely sick child.
Best country for women again. (TY Atid-EDI) The World Economic Forum once again ranked Israel as the best country in the Middle East for women’s rights and freedoms.
IDF helps protect wildlife. TY UWI) The IDF in Judea and Samaria not only prevent security breaches, they also stop animal abuse. Soldiers from the Combat Intelligence Collection Corps spotted a group of hunters armed with hunting rifles. The hunters were caught and handed over to the police for criminal prosecution.
SodaStream rehires 74 Palestinian Arab workers. Israel’s SodaStream relocated its factory from Mishor Adumim in Judea to Rahat in the Negev, due to BDS pressure, 500 Palestinian Arab workers lost their jobs to Bedouin Arabs. Now the Israeli government has granted work permits to 74 of the original employees.
Treating kids from Gaza in Israeli hospitals. Australian charity Project Rozana raises funds to help finance-struggling Israeli hospitals treat sick Palestinian Arab children from the PA-controlled territories and Gaza.
Jordanian sheikhs meet Israeli President. A delegation of Jordanian sheikhs from Irbid, Zarqa and Amman met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin at the president’s residence during a 5-day visit to Israel.
UN adopts Israel-sponsored human rights resolution. The United Nations Commission on the Status of Women adopted its first Israeli-sponsored resolution. The text, focuses on curbing harassment in the workplace and is the first resolution sponsored by Israel dealing with a human rights issue to be passed.
Israel-UN medical cooperation seminar. The United Nations held a seminar at Israel’s Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, which aimed at encouraging the participation of Israeli doctors in UN medical activities. Over 100 Israeli medical professionals, specialists in various fields, participated in the seminar.
Israeli rescue unit trains with US National Guard. ZAKA International Rescue Unit volunteers from Israel, USA, Mexico, and South Africa participated in this year’s US National Guard multi-national emergency drill in Indiana. The objectives were to improve knowledge and dynamics between American and Israeli rescue forces.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
UN award for Israeli contaminated food test. The United Nations Organization for Industrial Development has awarded Israel’s Yarok Technology Transfer the International Award 2017 for “Innovative Ideas and Technology on Agribusiness”. Yarok has developed a fast method for testing food for dangerous bacteria.
The Instagram of music. Ori Segal, CEO of Israeli startup MUGO, explains on ILTV how his new app synchronizes a user’s music playlists with their friend’s favorites, allowing for the instant sharing of music.
3D cameras to avoid accidents. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Foresight develops 3D multi-camera-based Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). Foresight’s Eyes-On system constructs and analyzes a 3D image in order to foresee possible collisions with vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and other obstacles.
Better business predictions. (TY Atid-EDI) Israeli startup Endor has developed a software platform that lets business users ask any predictive question and get high-quality results in minutes. The platform is based on Social Physics – a new science that uses big data to build a predictive, computational theory of human behavior.
Keeping track of your children. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Barkid has launched a smart bracelet that enables parents to supervise their children. The bracelet is worn by the child and an app installed in the adult’s cellphone keeps track of the child. Barkid’s product is not GPS-based, and therefore emits negligible radiation.
More efficient solar power. (TY NoCamels) Researchers at Israel’s Technion have developed a new technology that improves the efficiency of photovoltaic cells by nearly 70 percent. The scientists pre-process the sunlight, converting it into an “ideal” radiation to illuminate the photovoltaic cell with higher efficiency.
Self-charging drones to monitor pipelines. Israeli-Canadian startup SkyX has developed a self-charging Vertical Takeoff and Landing drone for use in the monitoring of long-range assets like oil and gas pipelines. It provides a low-cost alternative to conventional manned aircraft, ground inspection, or satellite imagery.
International awards for young Israeli scientists. Gonen Zimmerman of the Levi Eshkol School in Ramat Hasharon came third at the Intel ISEF Young Scientists Competition in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Na’ama Schor of the High School for Environmental Education at the Sde Boker Midrasha received an honorable mention from the American Physiological Association.
Developing animal-free meat. (TY Jacques) I reported previously (24th July) about Israel’s SuperMeat which is culturing meat to save the planet. Israel is now the center of this new industry and held the first-ever Cultured Meat Conference at Israel’s Technion Institute. Also, some videos from the conference and from SuperMeat.
Cybersecurity for Latin America. The Israeli Cyber Companies Consortium (IC3), comprising IAI, Verint and Checkpoint, has won a contract worth “tens of millions of dollars” to set up a strategic national cyber-defense center in a Latin American country. It includes border protection, sensors, land and aerial systems.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Texas trade agreement with Samaria region. Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller has signed the first-ever trade agreement between the US and the Samaria Regional Council. Miller said “… the signing of this agreement with Samaria is the starting point of long-term cooperation”
An accelerator for the mature entrepreneur. Facebook Israel and a group of private investors have setup a new accelerator and investment program called “Future”. It targets those aged 45+ with a track record and an idea to develop. Just what I’ve been waiting for – all I need now is an idea!
New York to Tel Aviv for less. I reported previously (Apr 16) that low cost airline WOW is to launch its service in September between Tel Aviv and New York via Iceland for around $550 return. Now it appears that prices will be even lower – with many return fares under $460 and some one-way fares from $149.
Cathay Pacific Hong Kong flight arrives. As announced previously (13th Nov) the first Cathay Pacific airlines flight from Hong Kong to Israel landed at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. To compete, El Al is offering bargain prices and free tickets to amusement parks.
Mobileye’s future offices. Timed for Jerusalem Day, Mobileye – Israel’s Jerusalem-based developer of advanced vision and driver assistance systems revealed the plans of its new campus, housing 4,000 employees. Eight buildings plus a 25-floor tower spread over 50,000 square meters in the Har Hotzvim High-Tech Park.
Awards for grasshopper protein company. I reported previously (July 2015) about Israel’s Steak Tzar Tzar, which aims to solve the world’s protein shortage with its farmed grasshoppers. The company, renamed Hargol, won the Agro Innovation Lab startup competition in Vienna, Austria and the TLV Startup Challenge in the ag-tech/food-tech category.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
Israel Festival Jerusalem. The Israel Festival takes place from June 1st to June 18th. It offers high-quality productions in dance, music, drama and performance theater from all over the world, as well as original Israeli productions and free outdoor performances for the general public.
Aerosmith launches farewell tour in Tel Aviv. Performing in Israel for the first time since 1994, Aerosmith opened their ‘Aero Vederci’ tour at Tel Aviv’s Park Hayarkon. Steven Tyler joked that he was “making aliya.” Like their hit, they “didn’t want to miss a thing” and later met with the Israeli Prime Minister in Jerusalem.
Israel Day concert in Central Park NYC. The 24th annual Israel Day Concert takes place on Sunday 4th Jun in Central Park Manhattan. Admission is free and in addition to the many musical performances includes speakers such as Israel’s UN representative Dani Danon, US diplomat John Bolton and ZOA’s Morton Klein.
The Israeli soccer duo that brought success to Brighton. More details about Israeli soccer stars Tomer Hemed and (Muslim) Beram Kayal who (see Apr 30) helped win promotion to the English Premier soccer league for Brighton and Hove Albion.
Israel to host World Lacrosse championships. The next World Lacrosse championships will be held in Netanya in July 2018. Teams from 50 countries will compete. Israel’s national lacrosse team took second place in the 2016 European championship and seventh place in the most recent world championship in 2014.
THE JEWISH STATE
Students unearth 2000-year-old Jewish town. 240 students from Boyer High School in Jerusalem are funding a future trip to the Poland death camps by helping archeologists uncover an ancient Jewish town near Beit Shemesh. So far, they have revealed eight purification baths, wells, stone tools and escape tunnels from the Bar Kochba revolt against the Romans.
How to have a successful Aliya. The sixth of a series of (mostly serious) articles from ex-Montreal comedian Lex (Alexandra Markus). She says they worked for her, but will depend on each person. Includes links to the previous five articles. Alexandra won the Hasby “Defender of Israel” award in July 2016.
Jerusalem Day light show.
6-Day War Sound and Light:
Hi-tech – using drones?
United Jerusalem as told by its residents. This video shows the diversity of Israel’s capital city. Jewish and Arab soccer players, a Hebrew University student, a chef, a director of Mobileye, a museum director, a Bar Mitzvah boy, a Christian Aramaic architect, and Jewish and Arab paramedic “blood brothers”.
US President’s visit to Israel. (TY Yuval) “The ties of the Jewish people to this Holy Land are ancient and eternal. They date back thousands of years, including the reign of King David whose star now flies proudly on Israel’s white and blue flag.” US President Donald J Trump 23/5/17.
80,000 join Jerusalem Day Flag March. More than 80,000 people took part in the Jerusalem Day Flag March, culminating in celebrations at the Western Wall, up from between 30,000 to 40,000 in previous years. Plus, some amazing aerial photos of the crowds dancing and singing from the Great Synagogue to the Old City.
50 years since the Six-Day War. The liberation of Jerusalem wasn’t the only incredible event that happened during the June 1967 battles. The Egyptian surrender on seeing a mirage of Israeli tanks. The Jordanian army who mistook Israeli tanks for Iraqi reinforcements. And the bigger picture of the few who defeated the many.
UK Chief Rabbi inducts my new Rabbi. Rabbi Boruch Boudilovsky was formally inducted as the new Rabbi of my synagogue – the Young Israel of North Netanya (YINN). UK Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis performed the induction, arriving after attending Jerusalem Day events in the capital.