Good News from Israel

Israel’s Good News Week of March 3rd. 2013

israel flag   Turkey’s ex-Finance Minister received stem cell treatment in Tel Aviv. An Israeli organization is working under cover to bring aid to Syrian refugees.  The new Miss Israel is an Ethiopian immigrant. Israel’s Waze won the MWC Barcelona prize for the best mobile application in the world. Israel has launched the project to send another Israeli astronaut into outer space.  A new section of the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway will include an eco-bridge for wildlife to cross.  Iranian-born Israeli superstar Rita will perform Iranian songs at the United Nations.

Ex-Turkish finance minister has stem cell treatment in Israel.  (Thanks to Israel21c) Kemal Unakıtan spent nearly two-and-a-half months at the International Center for Cell Therapy & Cancer Immunotherapy in Tel Aviv. He received groundbreaking stem cell treatment to wean him off dialysis and avoid a kidney transplant.
New treatment for psoriasis.  Researchers from Ben-Gurion University and Teva have developed an improved version of an experimental medicine for the treatment of the chronic skin disease psoriasis.  It inhibits the faulty immune system signal interleukin-17 that triggers the inflammation associated with psoriasis.
For kids with disabilities, virtual reality isn’t just a game. (Thanks to Israel21c) A unique-to-Israel use of virtual reality (VR) has been pioneered at ALEH, Israel’s largest network of facilities for children with severe cognitive and physical disabilities.  Residents at ALEH’s Moriah facility in Gedera go on field trips in simulated environments.
Restoring mobility to the spine.  (Thanks to Israel21c) Israel’s Premia Spine offers a unique treatment to those suffering from spinal degeneration. Its artificial titanium joint replaces the posterior spinal column totally.  No more pain, full mobility and none of the problems that alternative spinal fusion treatments cause.
Gaza weekly deliveries:  The Kerem Shalom crossing from Israel to Gaza had to be closed briefly due to the resumption of terrorist rocket fire on Tuesday. Despite this, 42,700 tons of goods (1,397 truckloads) entered the Gaza Strip from Israel through the crossing – even more than the previous week.
Israelis for Syria.  An amazing article about Israeli volunteers from working to help Syrians left wounded and homeless by the fighting in Syria.  The 5-mins embedded video features friendship between an Israeli volunteer and a Syrian family. For those who want more, view the youtube video.
IDF airlifts Sudanese refugee’s premature twins to hospital.  The IDF evacuated a Sudanese refugee and her two premature babies from Eilat to Assaf Harofeh hospital in Tel Aviv.  The babies weighed only 900 grams.
A festival for one shekel.  Festival Bashekel features top Israeli and international groups for a ticket price of just NIS 1 – equivalent to 25 US cents.  Hundreds of thousands of young Israelis from marginalized communities have benefited and Bashekel even staged a joint Jewish-Arab festival in Gilboa in 2009.
Purim is for everyone.  The Institute for the Advancement of the Deaf and the national-religious rabbinic association Tzohar held the first ever sign language reading of the megila (Book of Esther) for the deaf and hard of hearing.  More than 600 people attended the reading at the Tel Aviv International Synagogue.
Three Queen Esthers guard the Jewish State.  Like their namesake, Corporal Esther Feldhammer, Sergeant Esther Yaso and Sergeant Esther Pakado chose to stand up and be counted when presented with the opportunity to join the IDF and defend their country.  Women are exempt from combat duty but all three volunteered.
Miss Israel is an Ethiopian immigrant.  Yityish Titi Aynaw, a 21-year-old from Netanya, was chosen to be Israel’s representative in the Miss World 2013 competition – the first Ethiopian-born contestant to win the title.
Asian Science Camp Israel 2012.  (Thanks to 12TribesFilms) 250 of the most talented science students from all over Asia, Australasia and Oceania spent six days in Israel learning, touring and enjoying themselves courtesy of the Hebrew University and the Israeli government.
March 10 is Good Deeds Day.  Originating in Israel in 2007, GDD now takes place in 50 countries.  The project for this year is volunteering at your local elderly home. Tasks could be anything from working in the garden, helping during meal times, or simply visiting and sitting with the elderly.
Waze is the best mobile app in the world.  Israel’s mobile navigation and traffic community application, Waze, won the “Best Overall Mobile App” prize at the 18th Annual Global Mobile awards at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
Smartphones for everyone.  Jerusalem based UIU has developed a system that encourages individuals without smartphones to join the technological revolution.  Even those with visual impairment can use the large fonts and security features.  But did the Times of Israel really have to label people aged 55+ as “elderly”?
Find your way in a Moscow hyper-mall.  Russia is undergoing a retail boom.  The Moscow Mall is one of Europe’s largest with 5000 stores.  So Haifa-based WiseSec’s location application is essential if you don’t want to get lost.  It also provides you with coupons to attract you to visit particular shops.  No GPS necessary.
When stars die.  Eran Ofek of the Weizmann Institute is head of a team of researchers that has discovered the dying signature of stars.  Just prior to becoming a supernova, stars emit gravity waves and eject up to one percent of their mass.  The researchers studied a star, which became a supernova 40 days later.
Israel to train a new astronaut.  The eighth annual International Ilan Ramon Space Conference in Herzliya attracted the heads of 14 space agencies around the world.  Israel announced that it planned to train another astronaut and was invited to join the UN Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS).
Better fiber-optic security.  Three Israeli university researchers have designed a new encryption method for fiber optic communications.  “It is analogous to many soft sounds of a lovely symphony scattered through a recording of background noise,” said the researchers. Only the authorized user can enjoy the symphony.
Israeli research is global.  British Ambassador Matthew Gould outlined the scheme for Israeli and UK scientists to work on joint regenerative medicine research.   And Israeli ministers welcomed the first group of post-doctoral students from India and China arriving on six-month research programs with Israeli Universities.
Catching the wind.  Israeli wind sensor company Pentalum Technologies has raised $5.5 million to expand production of SpiDAR, a cost effective device for remote sensing of wind.  The device is 20% of the price of competitors, allowing wind farms to improve electricity production by up to 10% – equal to millions of dollars.
Smart Irrigation.  Israeli start-up 22Seeds is raising finance for Greenbox – a revolutionary iPhone-controlled wireless irrigation system. From the comfort of your home you can program your irrigation valves, optimize water usage, import water programs, integrate with weather forecasts and much more.
No pesticides and no pests.  (Thanks to Israel21c) Israeli farmers in the Negev have cut their use of chemical pesticides by about 80%.  They use natural predators – bugs that don’t harm the crops – to get rid of the pests.  Also they allow the land to rest in the July heat to kill off any remaining insects and fungus diseases in the soil.
New website for environment info.  The Israel Union for Environmental Defense has launched a new online website to give eco-conscious Israelis comprehensive information about recycling centers, air and water pollution, cellular antennas, open spaces, beaches and various environmental hazards.
Safer roads for drivers and animals.  A dangerous section of Route 1 between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem is being improved with a 16km new section.  The NIS 2.5 billion cost includes an eco-friendly bridge, indistinguishable from the surrounding forests, which will allow animals to cross the highway in safety.
Get ready for IBW.  International Business Week at Tel Aviv University starts on March 4th. It brings together aspiring entrepreneurs from Israel and around the world for business-related events and company visits. It connects young innovative minds from around the world and shows them what Israel has to offer.
Israel “occupies” Barcelona.  2,000 high-tech officials left Israel on Sunday to participate in the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, which opens on March 4.  Israel, with 150 companies, has sent the fourth largest delegation to the conference after the United States, the United Kingdom and France.
Waze founder is a top 10 mover.  Ehud Shabtai, Israeli founder of driving navigation startup, Waze received accolades by the mobile industry: The Israeli innovator was nominated as one of the top ten mobile movers by Venturebeat, a leading technology blog.  (Waze won the top award at MWC Barcelona – see above.)
Wix to list on NYSE. Inc., an Israeli provider of online tools that help people build websites, will seek about $75 million in its Initial Public Offering (IPO).  JPMorgan Chase will lead the IPO.
Virginia invests in Israel Agro-technology.  The US State of Virginia estimates that it will invest up to $10 million in the next 2-3 years in Israeli companies that will participate in the Gateway USA: Agritech program.  A delegation from the Virginia Israel Advisory Board (VIAB) is in Israel to interview potential companies.
Interview with Israeli painter Matan Ben-Tolila.  Jspace News partners with the America Israel Cultural Foundation to bring an interview with one of the many Israeli artists they support throughout the world.  Matan Ben-Tolila lives and works in Jerusalem and won The Mitchell Presser Prize for Excellency in painting.
Israel’s “Master Chef” is gourmet kosher.  Tom Franz – winner of Israel’s “Master Chef” is proud that his buffet is so good that people who don’t observe Jewish dietary laws can’t detect that it’s kosher.
Barbie loves Israel.  Barbie and Ken are the alter egos of Italian couple Enrico Pescantini and Maria Giovanna Callea and their so-called holiday snaps are the final result of a pop-art project the two undertook during a vacation last August, aptly called “Barbie Loves Israel.”  The exhibition has been featured in the Italian editions of popular fashion magazines Vanity Fair and Vogue.
World record Harlem Shake.  Tel Aviv became home to the largest “Harlem Shake” dance video yet, hosting some 70,000 people in front of the Tel Aviv Museum.  The video was made during a pre-Purim street party.
Rita to sing at the UN.  Iranian-born Israeli diva Rita will perform “Tunes for Peace,” at the UN General Assembly Hall on Mar 5 in a first-of-its-kind event organized by the Israeli Mission to the UN.  Rita will sing in Hebrew, English and Farsi in front of UN chief Ban Ki-Moon, diplomats and Iranian community leaders.
Returning from China.  Seven descendants of Kaifeng Jews, an ancient community from China’s Henan Province, have come to Israel and reclaimed their Judaism thanks to the charity Shavei Israel.  At its height, 5,000 Jews lived in Kaifeng. Today, about 1,000 Chinese can trace their roots to them.
Israel Give and Tech.  Israel Give & Tech is a brand-new Taglit-Birthright Israel trip, in conjunction with Israel Free Spirit. It’s designed for people interested in experiencing how Israel uses its technological innovation for tikkun olam, or repairing the world.  The free 10-day trip will depart from New York in early July.
A word in your ear please, Mr President.  Nadav Shragai, writing in Israel Hayom, urges that we must provide US President Obama with an historical, religious, legal and emotional tour of the Jewish State.  He needs to be shown that the Jewish bond to our land pre-dates WW2 by more than three millennia.
Captain Ziv Shilon returns.  I reported a few weeks ago about the IDF officer whose arm was blown off by Gaza terrorists but who returned to present his battalion with its combat medals. Well here is the video.  He praised his soldiers and then quoted Psalm 121 “He who neither slumbers nor sleeps will guard over Israel”.
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