This Weeks Sanity Report from Israel June 25 2017
The highlights include:
- Israeli scientists have discovered a gene mutation responsible for long life.
- The new Israeli soft suit exoskeleton enables stroke patients to walk again.
- Israel’s new First Secretary to Turkey is a Muslim woman.
- Israeli scientists have discovered a support network used by trees.
- Israeli water technology is alleviating drought in Miami.
- Israel is to increase the disabled allowance by 60%.
- Much acclaim for Israeli actress Gal Gadot in “Wonder Woman” movie.
- Part of a 2000-year-old column discovered from the Second Temple plaza.
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Gene mutation extends life by a decade. In a study of American male Jews over the age of 100, University of Haifa researchers have discovered a genetic mutation that affects the growth hormone receptor gene. Men with this mutation live on average 10 years longer than those without it.
Azerbaijan deputy PM has heart surgery in Israel. (TY Hazel) Abid Sharifov, Azerbaijan’s deputy Prime Minister, was flown to Israel after his doctors determined his heart condition was life-threatening. Surgeons at Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center unblocked an artery and fitted Sharifov with a pacemaker and defibrillator.
EU loan for flu vaccine trial. The European Investment Bank has granted a 20 million Euro loan to Israeli biotech BiondVax to fund the Phase III trials of its Universal Flu Vaccine.
Wrist-wearable heart monitor. (TY Dror) Israeli startup CardiacSense has developed a smartwatch heart monitor which is almost as accurate as an ECG machine. Its revolutionary heart arrhythmia detection measures blood pressure using a PPG (photoplethysmogram). Then touch the wristband to get an ECG.
Chief of Police donates bone marrow to save a life. Meir Pulver spends his days protecting Israel’s population. He is Chief Superintendent of Israel’s Police Force. Thanks to Israeli charity Ezer Mizion he donated bone marrow to save the life of Chana, and give her the chance to see her seven grandchildren grow up.
Longer-lasting treatment. I’ve reported previously (here) on the deutetrabenazine treatment for Huntington’s disease from Israel’s Teva. But the reason it is so effective is because Teva replaced some of the hydrogen atoms with the heavier isotope deuterium, so that more of it can resist stomach acids and reach the intestines.
US approval for spinal treatment software. I reported previously (July 31) on the Mazor X guidance systems for spinal surgery from Israel’s Mazor Its latest module X Align has just received US FDA approval, allowing surgeons to create a 3D alignment plan that simulates the impact of proposed surgery on the patient’s posture.
Two kibbutzniks founded a NASDAQ biotech. Israelis Dror Ben-Asher and Ori Shilo founded the biotech RedHill BioPharma – named after the earth-red hill that the kibbutz overlooked. Now their company is successfully trialing treatments to cure Crohn’s disease, Helicobacter pylori, stomach cancer and much more.
Soft suit exoskeleton for stroke patients. Israel’s ReWalk has unveiled its prototype for a soft suit exoskeleton, to enable many of the millions with lower limb disabilities to walk upright. Initially, the new “Restore” suits will be used to assist stroke survivors, followed by multiple sclerosis patients.
Competition to diagnose cervical cancer. (TY Eli) I reported previously about Israeli startup MobileODT (was MobileOCT) that uses smartphones to detect cervical cancer. Now Intel is offering a $50,000 prize to the best algorithm and Artificial Intelligence that can diagnose cancer from MobileODT’s smartphone images.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Social impact hackathon week. The Israel Advanced Technology Industries (IATI) organization brought together 35 programmers to make people’s lives better. The event lasted a week and solutions included healthy eating at restaurants, supporting parents with autistic kids, making education more accessible and safer driving.
We’re all connected. This article describes what happened when a mother with three children in hospital contacted Ezer Mizion’s “Linked to Life” What’s App program.
The first female Muslim Israeli diplomat. Muslim women in Israel are doctors, pharmacists, entrepreneurs, bus drivers, judges, IDF soldiers, etc. (see here and here). Now Israel gets its first Muslim, female diplomat, when Rasha Atamny from Baqa al-Gharbiya becomes first secretary at the Israeli embassy in Ankara, Turkey.
Mossad’s rescue of Ethiopian Jews. Israel is the only country ever to have brought blacks out of Africa to freedom. At the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center (IICC) ex-Mossad agents describe the rescue of thousands of Ethiopian Jews via Sudan. The first article contains recently discovered films of those secretive events.
Photography brings Jews and Arabs kids together. (TY Hazel) One of many Roots’ co-existence projects brings Palestinian Arab children together with religious Jewish children living in Judea and Samaria to take photographs and learn more about each other.
Giving Arab kids the gift of hearing. (TY Jake) Due to genetics, the Bedouin town of El Sayed, in Israel’s Negev desert, has the highest proportion of deaf people in the world. They have even developed a unique sign language. A new documentary looks at the impact of Israeli doctors giving the children cochlear implants so that they can hear. Also, a new video to enhance previous (26 Feb) report on implants for Palestinian Arab kids.
IDF medics treat Syrians nearly every day. The treatment of wounded Syrians by IDF medics is continuous, and is carried out on a near-daily basis. It started with one injured Syrian who came to the border four years ago, asking for medical help. Since then over 2,800 injured Syrians have entered Israel for treatment.
First non-African leader to address ECOWAS. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to Liberia, where he was the first non-African head of state to be invited to speak to the members of ECOWAS – the Economic Community of West African States.
Israel’s capital recognized. Jerusalem has been formally recognized as the capital of Israel by the US Senate, the Czech Republic, Estonia and Vanuatu.
Israel is America’s unique ally. The Israel-US relationship is a bilateral bond from which both sides derive considerable benefit.
New York goes blue and white. Thousands of marchers generated a sea of blue and white flags along New York City’s Fifth Avenue for the annual Celebrate Israel parade. Minister of Internal Security Gilad Erdan represented Israel. He also launched a new anti-BDS campaign called “4IL”.
Conserving birdlife in Turkey. I reported previously (here) about Israel’s Champions of the Flyway bird race, that raises funds to stop illegal trapping of song birds in the Middle East. This year’s race raised over $60,000 to end the illegal practice of hunting and trapping songbirds in southern Turkey.
Israeli global agricultural training in 2016. This article lists just some of the work of Israel’s overseas development agency MASHAV last year. Countries benefitting from Israeli agro-tech included Kenya, India, 11 Latin American states, Paraguay, seven former Soviet states and five African states.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Trees interact with each other. Scientists at Israel’s Weizmann Institute have proved that mature spruce trees take up carbon molecules in their top branches and pass them down through the soil to nearby beech, larch and pine trees. These travel through underground highways formed by connected root fungi.
How jellyfish sting. Researchers at Israel’s Technion and the University of Haifa have explained for the first time the unique mechanism by which the most common jellyfish attack their enemies. They inject toxic material from thousands of microscopic syringes, resembling poisoned arrows, located on each of their arms.
Hold back the desert. (TY UWI) To mark United Nations’ World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought on June 17, here is a video showing how Israel is one of the leading countries fighting desertification, that threatens global hunger, disease, and poverty.
Terminal 1 renovated. My son was one of the first passengers using the refurbished Terminal 1 at Ben Gurion airport. Passengers of low-cost airlines now check-in, shop for duty free and board planes all from Terminal 1 without being bused to Terminal 3. The terminal handles 33 flights a day and 1.4 million passengers a year.
Keeping kids safe on their smartphones. Israel’s SafeMobile is a simple-to-install app that will protect children from unsuitable and malicious content when using their smartphones. CEO Yuval Rapaport was interviewed on ILTV.
What on earth is that flower? I reported previously (July 2011) about Israeli app “Bar-Code Flower,” that allows you to take a picture of a flower with your mobile phone, and then tells you its species. Now FlowerzBot from Israeli startup Cnature identifies 1000 flowers and wildlife. Currently in Hebrew, but soon also in English.
If the shoe fits… Israeli startup Invertex has digitized the way we buy shoes. It uses 3D imaging and artificial intelligence, enabling smartphones to scan feet in shoe shops or at home and suggest the best buys in-store or on-line. Invertex has just received $2 million of seed funding.
Protection against drones. At the Paris Air Show, Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems unveiled its new laser-interception system designed to provide air defense against micro- and nano- unmanned air vehicles (UAVs). The “Drone Dome” system detects, identifies, tracks, and neutralizes hostile drones using laser beams.
Cleaning up Brazil’s sewage. (TY Hazel) Brazil is to clean up its sewage problem using the system from Israel’s Paulee CleanTcc for transforming human waste into odor-free, sterilized farm fertilizer. Currently, 60% of the 6.8 million liters of daily sewage sludge generated in Brazil gets dumped back into nature untreated.
Producing water from Miami air. Much was reported about Israel’s Water-Gen, demonstrated by Professor Alan Dershowitz at AIPAC (see Apr 30). Now the Florida suburb of Miami Gardens is partnering with Water-Gen in a pilot project to extract water from airborne humidity and dispense clean drinking water to residents.
VR brings ancient Jerusalem to life. (TY Bennett) A new virtual reality (VR) app brings ancient Jerusalem to life. Available on Google Play:
Power if your aircraft engine fails. Israel’s Ashot Ashkelon unveiled HYSKY 60 – its emergency aircraft hybrid engine at the Paris Air Show. The 20kg propulsion unit will provide up to 15 minutes of extra time for light aircraft whose main engine stops working. The system can also add power to assist the plane in taking off.
Permits for driverless cars on Israeli roads. Israel’s Transport Ministry has granted permits for both GM and Mobileye to test their autonomous cars on Israeli roads. GM Israel general manager Gil Golan said, “What we are developing today in Israel could contribute to and influence the future of transportation, lifestyle and culture generally.”
The future of AR. (TY Estee K) Apple’s Israeli PrimeSense team has developed a 3D camera system intended for Augmented Reality (AR) use. It features a light beam for optical 3D mapping and depth sensing. Connected to Apple’s AR glasses, it can interact with a hovering holographic interface, just by moving your hands.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Israel to join World bond index. (TY Atid-EDI) Israeli Government bonds will be even more highly desirable shortly, when Israeli bonds are included in the Citigroup World Government Bond Index (WGBI). Financial institutions will then be required to buy Israeli bonds to track the WGBI for their customers.
Unanimous agreement to raise disabled allowance. Government and opposition parties have jointly agreed to the raising of the allowance for disabled Israelis from the current NIS 2,500 to NIS 4,000 in three stages. Housing assistance will also be raised, from NIS 770 to NIS 1,000.
Beit Shemesh to double in size. The city of Beit Shemesh is expected to double in size in the coming years. Approval has been given for 17,000 new apartments plus 530 dunams of land for businesses, companies, and hotels. In addition, the city will construct infrastructure and improve the city’s parks and public transportation.
Innovating diamond technology. The Ramat Gan Diamond Exchange has applied to establish a technology innovation center, to be called Diamond Tech. Its aim is to nurture Israeli and foreign startups in the early stages of the development of technology to be used primarily in the diamond sector.
Connecting tourists to tour guides. Dani Gadayev, co-founder and CEO of Israeli start-up TopGuides, describes the company’s online platform to connect tourists with tour guides, eliminating the need to pay commission to an agency. https://www.youtube.com/embed/pXy-tS6tuQc?rel=0
Frutarom expands into Vietnam. Israeli flavors and fine ingredients company Frutarom has purchased a majority stake in Vietnamese company Western Flavors Fragrances Production (WFF). Frutarom intends to build a modern new flavors plant in Ho Chi Minh City and to expand its activity in Vietnam and the region.
Bringing Israeli startups to China. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Bank Leumi and Ping An, China’s largest insurance group, agreed to promote and integrate Israeli hi-tech companies into the Chinese market. The agreement was signed as part of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit to China.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
Israeli Opera Festival in Akko. The Israel Opera (Aug 3-5) is performing a new production called Giulio Cesare in Egitto, created especially for the Crusaders Court in Akko. Its singers will also perform the greatest and most popular songs of the late Arik Einstein – one of Israel’s most famous singer-song writers.
Tel Aviv White Night. Tel Aviv White Night (Laila Lavan) is the cultural all-nighter of the year in ‘the city that never sleeps’. On 29th June, amazing events will take place throughout the night across the city, from beach concerts and parties, to special exhibitions and tours.
Wonder Woman is a hit. The movie “Wonder Woman”, starring Israeli actress Gal Gadot, has received high acclaim from critics and record receipts at the box office. The film has now passed the $600 million mark for worldwide takings. And (TY IsraPundit) it is an inspiring film for many reasons.
Let’s do brunch. Israel is famous for its mouth-watering brunches which include an array of fresh vegetables, local cheeses, Mediterranean omelets, healthy salads, deserts, and of course coffee. With delicious options like these and good company, your weekend’s about to get a whole lot better.
THE JEWISH STATE
Ethiopia’s biblical link with Israel. In Jerusalem, President Reuven Rivlin told Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn “Your connection with Jerusalem is something that goes to the roots of the Bible, and the connection between our people is not a matter of years, it is a matter of centuries, back to the visit of the Queen of Sheba”.
New Israeli stamps. (TY Jacob Richman) Beautiful Israeli stamps issued in April and June included commemoration of the re-unification of Jerusalem, Judea & Samaria, the Golan, Passover haggadot, safe cycling, General Allenby, the 30th Maccabiah and famous Israeli songs.
Column found from 2nd Temple plaza. The Temple Mount Sifting Project has discovered the capital of a column that formed part of the double colonnade that surrounded the Temple Mount plaza in Jerusalem at the time of the Second Temple. Josephus described the style of the column in his book “The War of the Jews”.
Bar Mitzvah for 115 orphans. I reported previously (Mar 2013) that Kollel Chabad held a Bar Mitzvah celebration for 111 orphans in Jerusalem on the 111th birthday of the late Lubavicher Rebbe. Now on his 115th birthday Kollel Chabad held another Bar Mitzvah celebration, for 115 orphans.
Stand with Jerusalem. On the 50th anniversary of the re-unification of Israel’s capital city, take this opportunity to see it for yourself.