This Weeks Sanity Report from Israel July 16 2017
The highlights include:
- Israeli scientists have identified the trigger for Alzheimer’s disease.
- Israeli and PA emergency services held a major joint training exercise.
- The first State visit to Israel by the Central African Republic.
- A major Israeli project is initiated to discover Dark Matter.
- Tourism to Israel soared by 28% in June.
- Guns N’ Roses rock Tel Aviv.
- Jonah and the Whale have been discovered in the Galilee.
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Breakthrough in Alzheimer’s research. Scientists at Israel’s Weizmann Institute genetically sequenced every cell in the brain’s immune system (microglia). In Alzheimer’s disease, they found Disease-Associated Microglia (DAM) trying to keep the brain healthy, but restrained due to insufficient or mutated key regulatory proteins like TREM2. It may lead to new therapies.
Preventing breast cancer in diabetic women. (TY Nevet) Diabetic women recovering from the aggressive HER2-positive form of cancer double the risk of recurrence if they take insulin. Now a Phase III trial led by scientists at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital has shown that the anti-diabetic treatment metformin can prevent recurrence.
Shedding light on cancer. (TY Nevet) Israeli biotech Todos Medical has developed the “Total Biochemical Infrared Analysis” (TBIA) method for screening of solid tumors. The patient’s white blood cells are exposed to a spectrum of light. Analysis of the results reveals where the immune system has responded to tumor presence.
Six Israelis win Howard Hughes awards. The prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute has awarded 5-year grants of $650,000 each to 41 international biomedical scientists. Six of them (14.6%) are Israelis – three from the Weizmann Institute, two from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and one from Israel’s Technion.
An autism database. (TY Nevet) Ben-Gurion University scientists and Soroka University Medical Center doctors have established the hospital-university-based (HUB) autism database to benefit scientists, patients and their families. One goal is to help identify different autism subtypes, likely generated by different causes.
Extending the margins. I’ve reported previously (several times) on MarginProbe from Israel’s Dune Medical and how it detects whether all cancerous material has been removed during breast cancer surgery. Now MarginProbe is to be extended for similar testing during surgery for prostate, colon, lung and pancreatic cancer.
UK diabetics love their Dario. Clinical Commissioning Groups in three UK regions have named the Dario™ Blood Glucose Monitoring System the first choice of all patients with type 1 diabetes, for “Smart meters with carb counting.” It comes after Dario’s launch of a direct-to-consumer channel in the UK.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
NIS 3 million for special needs tech. The Israel Innovation Authority is funding projects worth 3 million shekels to develop solutions for those on the autistic spectrum, the visually impaired and wheelchair users.
International women entrepreneurs see the Startup Nation. 30 women entrepreneurs from 30 countries came to Israel to get inspiration at Startup Tel Aviv. They heard from Israeli women like Fiona Darmon, CEO of JVP Media Central. They pitched to top angel investors and venture capitalists and received useful feedback.
Jewish-Arab tech center is 3 years old. I last reported (Mar 2015) on the Moona co-existence tech hub in the Galilee two years ago when 50 Jewish and 50 Muslim students attended the research center. Now some 750 students graduate from its activities every year and 30 schools participate in the scheme.
The art of co-existence. In the Israeli-Arab Galilee village of Sakhnin, the Sakhnin Biennale is an alternative art festival featuring artists from Israel and from 65 other countries. The village has become a meeting place for northern Israel’s diverse population which includes Jewish, Muslim and Christian communities.
Training to save lives together. Israeli Emergency Services and the Palestinian Authority Civil Defense Forces (PCD) held a joint drill to enhance their skills and improve their response to real events. Participants included Israel’s Magen David Adom, the PA’s Red Crescent and fire-fighters from both sides.
The power to distribute electricity. For the first time, Israel has handed over control of an electricity substation to the Palestinian Authority. The Israel Electric Corporation also trained Palestinian Arabs to maintain the site near Jenin. Substations will soon be handed over in Hebron, Ramallah and Nablus (Shechem).
Rwandan president praises Israel. During his visit to Israel, Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame highlighted the blossoming cooperation between the two countries in technology, agriculture, energy and security. “Israel has continued to follow through on its commitments and objective of scaling up engagement across Africa.”
First state visit from Central African Republic. President Faustin-Archange Touadéra made the first-ever visit to Israel by the head of state of the Central African Republic (CAR). He said to Israeli President Rivlin “we have come to Israel in order to learn – your country is a school for us.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
NYT discovers Israel-Arab research project. I reported previously (Dec 2012) that the BBC reported on the Middle East SESAME synchrotron project without mentioning Israel’s involvement. Over 4 years later, the New York Times reports on the project and amazingly (for the NYT) does mention Israel.
If dark matter exists, Israelis will find it. (TY Nevet) Dark matter is hypothesized to be far more abundant than ordinary matter but no-one has detected any – until now. Ben-Gurion University of the Negev is to develop Israel’s first dark matter detector. It utilizes atomic spectroscopy, magnetic sensors, lasers and optics, atomic clocks, and advanced electronics.
Double security award. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Dome9 Security (mentioned here in Jan 2012) has won “Best Cloud Security Product” in the 2017 Cybersecurity Excellence Awards. It was also Editor’s Choice for Cloud Security Solutions in the 2017 Cyber Defense Magazine Awards. Dome9 just received $16.5 million of funds.
Keeping traffic moving in Nevada. (TY Karen) The Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) of Southern Nevada and Israeli startup WayCare, are launching a pilot program to help predict and prevent crashes and subsequent traffic jams. WayCare will use real-time and historic data to alert the RTC to send out patrols.
Efficient delivery of your products. (TY Atid-EDI) Israel’s Bringg is the leading on-demand delivery platform for enterprises. It has clients in over 50 countries – the latest being the Panera Bread network of bakery-cafes. The system dispatches and tracks orders and customers see the location of the delivery driver.
An Israeli startup walked into a bar. (TY Atid-EDI) I reported previously (July 2013) on Israel’s Weissbeerger and its technology to monitor beer taps in a bar. This new video shows how the data produced is used by the brewery to identify consumption patterns and ensure a top quality is delivered to the customer.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
June tourism up 28%. 303,000 tourists entered Israel in June 2017, 28% more than in June 2016. Jan to June saw a 26% increase in visitors, to an all-time-record of 1.74 million. Estimated revenue from incoming tourism in this period was NIS 9.4 billion. Tourism from the USA (the largest in total) increased by 20%
Ben Gurion is world’s 8th best Airport. The readers of Travel + Leisure magazine voted Israel’s Ben-Gurion Airport as the 8th best airport in the world. Rankings were based on travelers’ experiences of access, check-in, security, food, shopping and design.
Naples or Venice? (TY Janglo) EasyJet are launching regular flights from Tel Aviv to Venice and to Naples. There are three flights a week to Venice, starting 31 Oct and two flights a week to Naples, starting 4 Nov. These routes bring to eleven the number of easyJet’s scheduled services to Europe from Tel Aviv.
Stiff race for top Israeli talent. In the Israeli tech industry, workers are in greater demand than supply as the 112 recruiting companies confirmed at the employment fair held at the private university IDC Herzliya. Also, many youngsters want the challenge of starting their own company rather than joining an existing one.
Delek strikes oil deal. (TY Atid-EDI) I reported previously (Oct 2015) that Israeli oil company Delek had taken a 19.7% stake in Canadian-UK oil exploration company Ithaca which is active in the UK’s North Sea waters. Delek has now taken-over control of Ithaca for around 470 million Canadian dollars.
TaKaDu’s first US customer. Israeli water event management company TaKaDu has won its first US customer – Knoxville Utilities in the State of Tennessee. TaKaDu will allow Knoxville to detect, analyze and manage network events and incidents such as leaks, bursts, faults, operational failures and more.
Tubi 60 goes global. Tubi 60 is an Israeli-made alcoholic drink with a secret mix of some 60 natural herbs and fruit essences. Developed and distilled by Hilal and Yanai Tubi, the vegan herbal spirit is available at most Jerusalem bars and clubs. It will soon also be found on liquor shelves in Texas, Brooklyn, Oslo and Berlin.
That’s the ticket. (TY Atid-EDI) New York based ticketing platform company SeatGeek has bought Israeli ticketing software company TopTix for $56 million. TopTix will power SeatGeek Open – a radically new approach, in which artists sell tickets through popular ecommerce websites, travel tools, and messaging sites.
Getting the flavor of Brazil. (TY Karen) I reported previously (Oct 2014) that Israeli flavors and fine ingredients giant Frutarom was expanding into Peru and Chile with its purchase of Montana Food. Frutarom has continued its South American acquisitions, buying 80% of Brazilian ice-cream maker SDFLC for $33 million.
How an Israel sells his car. Israeli Eugene Romanovsky went to great lengths to sell his 1996 Suzuki Vitara by making an elaborate video using visual effects that has generated millions of views. With dramatic music, the car appears to out-run dinosaurs, races a cheetah, escapes an avalanche and drives to a desert mountaintop.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
What to bring back from Israel. (TY Yuval) This video from AIPAC suggests some of the best souvenirs for tourists to take home from a trip to Israel. But a warning – they may take up quite a bit of space in your suitcase.
Israel’s trendiest beaches. (TY Janglo) Here is the young-person’s guide to the best beaches along the 185 kilometers (115 miles) of sandy Israeli Mediterranean coastline, as well as the Sea of Galilee (Lake Kinneret). Covering Tel Aviv, Jaffa, Herzliya, Kinneret, Hadera, Carmel, Tel Dor. Caesarea and Nahariya.
The magic of Jaffa. (TY Avi) The smells of the sea flavored with black coffee and spices from the markets, Levantine culture combined with European, ancient mixed with new – this is Jaffa. One of the oldest port cities in the world. Today’s Jaffa is a vibrant city that never ceases to surprise and innovates.
Guns N’ Roses rock for 3 hours. Rock legends Guns N’ Roses performed to 60,000 fans in Tel Aviv. The tour was named the “Not in this lifetime” tour because Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan reunited, in spite of Axl’s 2014 prediction that they would never re-establish the band. The video features “Sweet Child of Mine”.
See the Pretenders in reality. American musician Chrissie Hynde and her band The Pretenders will perform on 23 Sept at the Menora Mivtachim Arena, Tel Aviv.
NBA champs sign top Israeli. (TY Janglo) Omri Casspi’s phone rang at one-minute past midnight on the day that the Israeli basketball star became a free agent. It was the owner of NBA champions Golden State Warriors in California, offering Casspi a one-year contract. It was an offer he couldn’t refuse.
Jerusalem streets closed for Maccabiah Night Run. (TY Sharon) Tens of thousands took part in the Jerusalem Maccabiah Night Run – not just those participating in the Maccabiah Games. Many of the streets in Jerusalem were closed whilst the runners completed the 5 or 10 km routes or the half Marathon.
THE JEWISH STATE
One million reasons to love Israel. Here, some Israeli children give perceptive views about their country.
200 new Olim arrive from France. (TY Janglo) The largest Keren Hayesod-Jewish Agency flight of olim from France this summer has landed at Ben-Gurion Airport. Israel’s Health Ministry now recognizes French medical degrees, and a new bill automatically recognizes medical credentials of immigrants from EU countries.
900 on Montreal Mega Mission. More than 900 people, one of whom is 100 years old, came to Israel on the Federation CJA’s Montreal Mega Mission. The trip attracted 100 first-time visitors to Israel and 116 return visitors from the last trip organized by Federation CJA in 2014, which had (only) 600 participants.
From Cuban prison to freedom in Israel. Alan Gross was sent to prison in Cuba for five years for setting up Internet access for Cubans. He was released in Dec 2014 and made Aliya in May.
Haredi platoon’s first parachute drop. the Haredi Hetz platoon of the IDF’s elite Paratroopers Brigade successfully conducted their first drops after completing a rigorous parachuting course.
The top 10 finds proving Jerusalem belongs to Israel. (TY Avi) Ze’ev Orenstein takes us on a tour of the City of David in Jerusalem to completely dispel recent ridiculous UNESCO resolutions.
Found in the Galilee – Jonah and the Whale. (TY Janglo) Archaeologists excavating a 1500-year-old synagogue at Huqoq in Israel’s Galilee have unearthed mosaics featuring the Biblical stories of Jonah and of the Tower of Babel. Previous digs at the site have revealed mosaics of Noah’s Ark and the Splitting of the Sea.