Good News from Israel

Israel Good News 24th March 2013

196   News of Israel’s Achievements and Heartwarming Stories from the Jewish State. Israeli researchers publicize their illuminating projects for Save Your Vision Month.  Israeli medics gave emergency treatment to another group of wounded Syrians.  Israel’s hi-tech innovations and Arab-Israeli programs won over the US President on his recent visit.  An Israeli computer security expert saved Facebook – twice.  Tel Aviv came second in the competition to find the world’s most innovative city.Israel held Portugal to an exciting draw in a crucial World Cup soccer qualifier. 200,000 Jews have written letters in a new Torah scroll



Weizmann scientists can save your vision.  To mark “Save Your Vision Month”, Weizmann Institute’s vision research projects include sensory whiskers, glaucoma medication, photon analysis and brain imaging.
Bladder cancer treatment success.  Israel’s Biocancell Therapeutics Ltd has reported success in the Phase IIb clinical trial of BC-819 for the treatment of bladder cancer in patients for whom chemotherapy or standard treatment using Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) failed.
The ear of the rat.  A team led by Hebrew University neurobiologist Prof. Israel Nelken has discovered much about the brain’s response to sounds by studying the auditory cortices of rats.  The research, published in the journal “Neuron”, could lead to the development of better hearing aids in humans.
The first stem cell conference.  Israel’s first international Meeting of Translational Research on Stem Cells, Cell Therapy and Regenerative Medicine will take place on April 22 & 23 in Ramat Gan.  Israeli biotechs and academic groups lead the development of cell therapy products for cancer and chronic diseases.
Israel’s role in new anti-psychotic medications.  Prof. Jonathan Rabinowitz, of Bar-Ilan University is the academic head of the NewMeds group on advanced data analysis techniques.  He is working in a EU-funded consortium to find new methods for developing treatments for depression and schizophrenia.
Rabbi Firer – the phenomenon.  (Thanks to EEJH) Rabbi Elimelech Firer never received a formal medical education.  He founded “Ezra Lemarpeh” to provide patients with anything Israel’s National Health Service cannot.  He reviews 200 – 250 medical cases a day; CT scans, MRIs, pathology reports.  He is now raising funds for a new Medical Rehabilitation Center in Sderot.
President Obama wowed by Maantech.  In Jerusalem, President Obama met Sa’id Haruf, one of 600 Arabs working for Intel Israel, who explained the Maantech program to him.  Founded by Cisco CEO John Chambers, Maantech is a hi-tech “finishing school” that helps Israeli-Arabs become more integrated into Israel’s hi-tech scene.  The US president then publicized Maantech when he gave a press conference in Ramallah.
Gaza farmers attend Israeli strawberry fair.  The Israeli Coordination and Liaison Administration for the Gaza Strip hosted twenty-nine farmers from Gaza at the annual Strawberry Fair in Qalansuwa, Israel. The event publicises new varieties of strawberries, new growing methods and approved pesticides.
Making nature accessible.  Students from the Bet Chinuch School and the Ben Yehuda School for special education participated in LOTEM’s Natural Integration program that brings children from a regular education class together with children from a special education class for joint activities in nature.
Canada trip for inclusive Israeli hockey club.  17 Israeli children (Jews, Arabs and Druze) from the Northern Galilee and Golan Heights are visiting Winnipeg, Canada to play Canadian hockey. The students (aged between 11 and 14) are all members of the Canada Israel Hockey School in Metulla.
IDF medics treat more Syrians.  Israel Defense Force medics treated four wounded Syrians after they approached the Israel-Syrian border evidently seeking medical attention.  Two were seriously wounded and were evacuated to an Israeli hospital for further treatment.
Water for all.  Ben Gurion University of the Negev and the University of Chicago have announced a partnership to collaborate on new water production and purification technologies for deployment in regions of the globe where fresh water resources are scarce.
British charity shares Israeli expertise with the world.  (Thanks to Israel21c) The UK’s Tag International Development organization utilizes Israeli knowledge and expertise to run more than 20 projects in developing nations.  Israeli volunteers and professionals work in Myanmar, Jordan, Azerbaijan, Sri Lanka; and Kenya.
Seven of the best, for the US President.  US President Obama was shown “Israeli Technology for a Better World”.  It featured Phinergy’s long-life electric car battery, Mobileye’s road safety alert system, ReWalk, MinDesktop’s brainwave controller, Robo-Waiter, the Robotic Snake and ElMindA’s brain analysis system.
History on a microchip.  One of the gifts presented to the US President by Israel’s Prime Minister was a gold-plated silicon chip etched by Technion scientists with the US and Israeli declarations of independence.  The chip was affixed to a Jerusalem stone dating to the Second Temple Period (1st century BCE to 1st century CE).
More help for software entrepreneurs.  Following in the footsteps of Microsoft, iApps (Israel’s largest mobile application developer) has started its own incubator for developers at its Herzliya HQ.  iApps Booster is the only incubator in Israel dedicated to building mobile apps.
Hi-tech degree gives entry to Israel.  Thirteen young Jewish men from Morocco joined 25 existing Moroccan engineering and hi-tech students at the Machon Lev academic institution in the Jerusalem College of Technology.  Most will immigrate to Israel upon completing their 4-year degree course.
Israeli saves Facebook twice.  For the second year running, Nir Goldshlager is the No. 1 name in Facebook’s security “hall of fame”.  Goldshlager uncovered a major security flaw that allowed hackers to take control of accounts. When Facebook fixed the breach, Nir discovered a second major problem in the “corrected” code.
Israeli company exposes iPhone security flaw.  (Thanks to Michael and Jane) Adi Sharabani, CEO and co-founder of Skycure, has proved that an attacker could retrieve sensitive information (including the victim’s exact location) and even control the victim’s phone – e.g. quietly changing their GPS destination while driving.
Israel’s young engineers.  A new video showing the work of Israeli start-up Young Engineers that won Amir Asor the “Youth Business International Entrepreneur of the Year” award from Britain’s Youth Business International non-profit organization.  Children use LEGO toys to grasp the principles of software engineering.
Netanya pupils top in Intel competition.  Netanya students won top three prizes at the Intel-Young Scientists competition.  Victor Isserov of the Shai Agnon School was joint top with his project on the quantum characteristics of ions and the development of quantum computers.  Victor will represent Israel in the EU science competition in Prague in September.
The next generation of Israel’s cyber defenders.  The Amal network of technical high schools held a nationwide online detection and hacking race at Cisco’s R&D center in Netanya.  The goal is to equip a new generation of top-tier computer experts with the skills to benefit Israel and successfully compete in cyberspace.
“Making” a name for themselves.  The Start-Up Nation is hosting a Mini-Maker Faire, “a family-friendly festival of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement.”  “Making” is the process of taking common household items and “upgrading” them into a new product or technology.  The Makers of today are the high-tech inventors of tomorrow.
Israeli economy improves.  The Bank of Israel’s Composite State-of-the-Economy Index for February increased by 0.2 percent. It reflects increases in industrial manufacturing, goods and services exports, and in trade revenue.  December and January values were revised upwards following new updates.
Clean water for Colombia.  Israel’s Amiad Water Systems has been awarded a $7.7m contract by Nirosoft Industries for the supply and maintenance of a pre-filtration solution at a desalination plant in Colombia.
Tel Aviv is the world’s second most innovative city.  Tel Aviv has been ranked the world’s second “most innovative city” as part of the Wall Street Journal magazine and Citibank’s City of the Year contest.
Free museums during Passover.  Every Passover Bank Hapoalim sponsors free entrance to over 40 museums, national parks, and heritage sites in Israel as part of their social program.  Also see “Things to do in Israel during Passover”.
May is Smokie time.  Do you remember the 1970s hit “Living next door to Alice”?  Smokie have sold over 30 million albums since.  They will be performing in Haifa on May 3 and in Ashdod on May 4.
The 3rd largest sporting event in the world.  The 19th Maccabiah Games will be the largest sports event in the world after the Olympics and the FIFA soccer world cup.  9,000 athletes from 72 countries will compete in Israel from July 18-30.
The Tel Aviv 10km race.  IDF veteran Radi Kaiuf, a 46-year-old paraplegic used the ReWalk exoskeleton (as demonstrated to US President Obama) to complete the Tel Aviv 10km race in less than 4 hours.
Thrown together in harmony.  In the seat next to me on my recent trip to the UK was Bjorn Saw of Aikido Alive London.  He had just given seminars in Israel and the Palestinian territories on behalf of Aikido Without Borders, which brings both sides of the conflict together in the friendly martial art.  Please read his guest blog.
Israel was a good match for Portugal.  40,000 fans watched Israel play Portugal in a World Cup qualifier in Tel Aviv.  Israel went 3-1 up but in the end had to settle for a 3-3 draw.
Ten Years of Nefesh b’Nefesh.  In Times Square, New York, Nefesh b’Nefesh were busy answering questions from potential olim about jobs, education and accommodation in Israel.  NbN wants to bring one million American Jews to the Jewish State in its next ten years.
“Hidden” Polish Jews discover roots in Israel.  Many Polish Jews were raised as Catholics and have only recently discovered their Jewish roots.  25 arrived in Israel this week for a special seminar organized by Shavei Israel, an organization that aims to strengthen the connection between descendants of Jews and the State of Israel and the Jewish people.
111 orphans are Bar-Mitzvah’d.  Kollel Chabad held a Bar Mitzvah celebration in Jerusalem for 111 boys who have lost either one or both of their parents.  The event was planned originally for the 11th Nissan – the 111th birthday of the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, but was rescheduled due to the visit of US President Obama.
With a little help from our friends.  The Christian organisation “Bridges for Peace” works through Israel’s social services network, soup kitchens and charities, as well as direct distribution to provide 70 tons of food each month to 28,000 poor, hungry people in 52 communities across Israel.
200,000 people write Torah scroll.  A new Sefer Torah (Torah scroll) was dedicated at the Western Wall in Jerusalem on the first day of the Jewish month of Nissan.   200 thousand people from all continents (including 100 thousand soldiers) wrote letters in the scroll over a seven-year period.
Elijah’s flaming chariot?  Israelis watching the skies just after sunset may see a fiery object just to the right of the setting sun.  Dr. Igal Patel, chairman of the Israeli Astronomical Association, says it is the comet Panstarrs C/2011 L4.  But Passover is when Elijah is supposed to announce the final redemption – so who knows?
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