Week of June 23rd 2013 – News of Israel’s Achievements and Heartwarming Stories

LinorAbargil.jpg     Just weeks before Linor Abargil became Miss World, the Israeli fashion model was brutally raped. A movie about her story, Brave Miss World, will be shown June 21 and 22 in the 2013 AFI Docs Film Festival in D.C.  Photo Credit: screen capture from Brave Miss World. 23rd June 2013 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include: 30,000 visitors came to Israel in 2012 for vital medical treatment.  The courage of Israel’s Miss World 1998 is shown in a new documentary film.  An Israeli company is building a solar farm in Rwanda. Elbit’s Clear Vision system can land airplanes in any weather.  New fiber optic cable will turn Israel “into the first digital nation”. A quality performance by Barbra Streisand at the President’s Conference. Israel’s U21 Euro soccer tournament was hailed as a great success.


Come to Israel – get healed.  30,000 of Israel’s 3.5 million visitors in 2012 came to get medical treatment at Israel’s top health institutions.  Treatments include IVF, brain diseases, laser surgery and heart bypasses. Please read about Dr. Jason Bodzin of West Bloomfield who had stem cell treatment for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) – the condition also suffered by Professor Stephen Hawking, who boycotted Israel’s Presidents’ Conference.
Boost for Israel’s icy cancer treatment.  IceSense3 cryoablation cancer treatment is to be covered by US medical insurance giant HCSC.  Vast numbers of US patients will now be able to have breast tumors removed by the minimally invasive ultrasound-targeted freezing process developed by Israel’s IceCure Medical.
Why some cancer treatments fail.  An international research team, including Hebrew University Professor Raphael D. Levine, has discovered that brain tumors switch their signaling network to evade growth inhibitor medication.  New treatments can now be developed that take advantage of this knowledge.
Get your heart fat checked.  Researchers at the Rabin Medical Center in Petach Tikva have proved scientifically that the thickness of the layer of fat enveloping the heart can predict heart disease.  It is not the weight (BMI) of an individual that matters, but whether the tissue supporting the heart muscle grows too large.
Treating Gaucher’s disease in Brazil.  Israel’s Protalix Biotherapeutics has entered into a supply and technology transfer agreement with Brazil for its Gaucher treatment Uplyso. Brazil’s Health Minister said he was pleased to be able to improve the health of Brazilian citizens impacted by the rare disorder.
Gaza weekly deliveries:  In the week ending 15th June 2013, 1313 trucks carried 36,026 tons of goods into Gaza from Israel through the Kerem Shalom crossing.  They included 265 trucks of food and 418 trucks of construction materials.
National service by Arabs up 76 percent.  A ceremony was held in Haifa to recognize the record-high 3,000 Arabs volunteering in the national service program this year.  This represents an increase of 76 percent over last year, when 1,700 participated.  85 percent of participants either study or enter the workforce afterwards.
Arab Muslim, female, activist, professional and graduate student.  This photo says it all.
Brave Miss World.  In 1998 Miss Israel, Linor Abargil from Netanya, became Miss World.  But her real story has only just been made into a documentary film.  She went around the world, speaking out about her ordeal, speaking with others who had also been assaulted, working with survivors and those who help survivors.
Helping India grow food.  Israeli is to provide technology and training to India to diversify its fruit and vegetable crops and raise yields. Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation (Mashav) would help set up 28 centers of excellence in 10 Indian states – each focused on specific fruit and vegetable crops.
Solar power for Rwanda.  Jerusalem-based Energiya Global is bringing light to the nations with a project for an 8.5- megawatt solar field in Rwanda.  The country’s first solar field will be located at the Agahozo- Shalom Youth Village, a boarding school east of the capital Kigali, for orphans of the Rwandan genocide.
Israel gets cyber-tough.  Interview with Gadi Tirosh of Jerusalem Venture Partners, which is building a cyber incubator in Beersheba.  It will grow IT security companies from some of the most talented Israelis in academia and the military in order to tackle the growing threats that firewalls and anti-virus cannot handle.
Turn your mobile phone into a smartphone.  (Thanks to Israel21c) An estimated 4 billion people own a simple mobile phone – mostly in countries where a smartphone would not work.  Israeli start-up VascoDe provides a 2G system to provide email, Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia etc. via national mobile providers.
Landing in any weather.  Elbit’s Clear Vision system was put on show yesterday at the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget. The system’s advanced multi-spectral camera displays real-time pictures on transparent glass in front of the pilot, enabling passenger aircraft to land even in storms and fog.  The video is of an earlier version.
Israeli planes get new missile protection.  An El Al 737 plane has completed trials with the new C-MUSIC DIRCM system to protect against terrorist shoulder-fired missiles.  Every El Al, Arkia and Israir civilian plane will be equipped with the new system.
Free courses at TAU and the Technion.  Tel Aviv University and Israel’s Technion have partnered with free-course provider Coursera to offer especially developed classes in four study areas – including engineering, archeology, biology and cultural studies.
National Science Day, at a venue near you.  Israel marked National Science Day with lectures in unlikely places.  In people’s homes, the Israel Museum, and (because it was also Einstein’s birthday) the Einstein Pub.
Technion Innovation for a Better World.  Good video of some of Israel Technion’s top developments.  It features robotics, ReWalk, focused ultrasound, stem cells, sustainable engineering and new energy research.
No electric cars, but maybe electric scooters.  The Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality is launching a pilot program to replace its fleet of 300 motorcycles with electric versions.  It is part of part of a broader citywide program to reduce air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and noise.
Israel’s 1Gigabit Internet.  Israel has commenced a ten-year, multi-billion-shekel project to lay a national fiber optic network that will allow Internet download speeds of up to a gigabit (1,000 megabits) per second.
Israel will be the first end-to-end-digital nation.  Cisco CEO John Chambers’ prediction came after meeting Prime Minister Netanyahu and agreeing to help upgrade Israel’s digital infrastructure.  Israel is moving to connect fiber-optic networks and infrastructure to homes, businesses, education and healthcare all at once.
After Waze – who’s next?  Here is’s “6 Israeli Startups To Watch” following Google’s purchase of Israel’s Waze for a cool $1 billion.
Deutsche Telekom incubates Israeli start-ups.  Germany’s communications giant Deutsche Telekom is preparing Israeli start-ups for the European market.  During the three-month program, DT provides mentoring, pilot customers, offices in Berlin plus travel & accommodation costs.
Another road for Nigeria.  Israel’s Solel Boneh has won a $580 million Nigerian government tender to rebuild and widen an 84km section of the Ibadan-Lagos highway in southwest Nigeria. The deal follows a $390 million contract in Oct 2012 to build a road in the Shgamu-Benin area of Nigeria.
Cisco wants more Israelis.  Cisco CEO John Chambers announced plans to open a development center dealing with information technology in Israel.  The technology giant plans to hire up to 100 more Israeli employees, who will join the 2,000 Israelis that the organization currently employs.
Record Israeli food exports to USA.  Exports of Israeli Foods and Beverages to the United States reached a record $224 million in 2012 – an increase of 50% in five years.  One of the reasons cited was “quality”.
14 projects will “get the BIRD”.  No, it is good news. In its latest round of investment, the Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation will provide $10.95 million for fourteen Israeli projects.  BIRD finds US partners and provides up to a third of total projected costs.
International Student Film Festival.  The 15th International Student Film Festival, sponsored by Tel Aviv University, is presenting 250 movies at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque and other venues around the city.
Barbra.  “Avinu Malkeinu” at Shimon Peres’ 90th []
Also “People” [] and a beautiful HD sound quality version from Newsletter subscriber Paula (with appearances by Peres and Gilad Shalit)
Comedy is a serious business in Israel.  LA-based comedian Avi Liberman visits Israel twice a year, bringing with him some of America’s best comics.  They raise funds for the Koby foundation – formed by the parents of Koby Mandel who was murdered by Arab terrorists in 2001.
Israel wins bronze (and more) at World Ball Hockey finals.  A hastily assembled Israeli team beat Hong Kong 3-2 in a shoot-out for third place at the 2013 World Ball Hockey Championships in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada.  It was Israel’s first appearance at this tournament.  Israel also won the Fairplay award.
You have never seen Jerusalem from this angle.  An amazing video of a Formula 1 Ferrari speeding through Jerusalem in front of 100,000 spectators.
A great U21 Euro soccer tournament.  UEFA’s president Michel Platini praised Israel, saying “The stadiums were wonderful and well-organized, the pitches excellent and the atmosphere in the stadiums was great with many families with young children attending. That is exactly the type of tournament that I like to see”.  It was the most important international sporting event to be held in the Jewish state since the 1968 Paralympics.
Cherry picking in the Golan.  It’s so lovely to have an almost positive article about Israel from the BBC.  We may get a few more, now that most of their news reporters can’t risk working in any of the nearby war zones.
Tel Aviv is one of the world’s top 10 beaches.  (Thanks to Size Doesn’t Matter) National Geographic Traveler has selected Tel Aviv in its top ten choices for the best beaches in the world.
Comedy writer’s view of Israel.  There are some classic one-liners in Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Dave Barry’s description of his first visit to the Jewish State.
Welcome to the chiffchaff.  For the first time in recorded history, 20 pairs of the common chiffchaff have been found in Israel.  The birds are nesting in a remote valley in the Hermon. Turkey is the furthest South previously detected.  534 species of birds can be found in Israel.  500 million birds migrate through Israel.
Only in Israel.  See these clips of some unusual Israeli buskers at the Mamila shopping mall in Jerusalem.
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