Thanks to Michael Ordman-Good News from Israel
The highlights include:
- An Israeli cancer treatment causes tumors to self-destruct.
- Israel was elected to the membership of a UN Space Committee.
- Ethiopia is to install an Israeli solar power plant.
- An innovative all-terrain Israeli suitcase is successfully funded.
- A delegation of 50 Australian entrepreneurs is currently visiting Israel.
- Two Israelis won medals at a judo competition in Abu Dhabi.
- Thousands flock to pro-Israel rallies in New York, Rome, Paris, Madrid and Kiev.
This Weeks Sanity Report from Israel Nov. 1, 2015
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Fooling cancer cells. Israel’s BioSight has developed the amino acid astrabine which acts as a “Trojan Horse” chemotherapy treatment that kills leukemia cells without harming healthy tissue. Astrabine closely resembles a protein called aspargine that leukemia cells depend on and the cancer cells are fooled into self-destruction.
Muscular dystrophy treatment success. Israel’s BioBlast announced promising interim results from its Phase II study of its Cabaletta treatment for oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy (OPMD). Due to the success BioBlast seeks to fast track a Phase III study in 2016, leading to a 2017 launch date.
Elephant clue to cancer treatment. A US study says elephants have low rates of cancer because they have 20 copies of the P53 tumor-suppressing gene, whereas humans have only two. Now Professor Avi Schroeder from Israel’s Technion is to use nanotechnology to send the P53 gene to fight tumors in the human body.
The source of major depression. Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have discovered that abnormalities in the immune (“microglia”) cells of the brain could be a key cause of depression. The theory opens the door to development of a new generation of anti-depressant medications.
A groundbreaking partnership in nanomedicine. Ohio USA’s Cleveland Clinic and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem are to develop a virtual global center that will harness the power of nanoscience and nanotechnology to deliver therapies for cardiovascular disease, neurological disease and cancer.
Cancer removal technology in action. (TY Michelle) Texas surgeon Dr. Nancy Marquez describes using Israel’s MarginProbe to ensure that all cancerous cells have been removed during surgery to remove tumors.
Negev’s desert’s health innovation engine. Ben-Gurion University’s Negev Center for Digital Innovation is partnering AllScripts Healthcare of the US to create the CDI-Allscripts Lab. The lab aims to become Israel’s center for developing apps for electronic health records, networking, information-sharing, and compliance.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Ethiopian becomes Israeli commander. Mekonen Abeba immigrated to Israel from an Ethiopian village after the death of his father. He then overcame many challenges to become a paratrooper and then an officer in the IDF. Please help complete the inspiring film “Mekonen: The Journey of an Ethiopian Jew”.
Increase in Arabs at Israeli universities. (TY Hazel) This year, Arabs comprise 14.4% of bachelor’s degree students in Israel, up from 9.8% in 1999-2000. Arab master’s students increased from 3.6% to 10.5% and Arab Ph.D. students increased from 2.8% to 5.9%. Female Arab students increased from 61.7% to 67.2%.
Israeli doctors heal attackers and victims. The Washington Post works very hard to make this into a bad news story. Still worth reading though, so long as you unpick all the anti-Israel bias.
Hadassah treats both attacker and target. This is what the Washington Post reporter should have written.
Riding around with armed Arabs. Don’t worry – this is an article about Arabs who are serving in the IDF.
A co-existence discount. The restaurant Hummus Bar at the M Mall in Kfar Vitkin near Netanya is offering a free refill of each plate of the chickpea paste at tables seating Jews and Arabs together. The restaurant is kosher, meaning that observant Jews and Muslims can also take advantage of the offer.
Israel joins UN space committee. Israel has been accepted as a full member of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS). 117 committee members voted in favor of Israel. Qatar abstained and only Namibia voted against.
Medicine for migrants. Israel has sent 1.5 tons of medical aid to Greece to help the flood of migrants landing on the Greek Islands. The medicines were sent by air to the Greek Ministry of Health, which will disburse them at the various refugee aid centers. Israeli NGO IsraAid is also providing medical assistance to the refugees.
Israel honored at Chinese innovation forum. Israel is the 2015 country of honor at the Pujiang Innovation Forum, China’s leading economic symposium, in Shanghai. Approximately 1,500 international economic and marketing leaders attend the annual symposium. Israeli Interior Minister Silvan Shalom is the guest of honor.
Helping Nigeria to diversify from oil. The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) is working with Israeli businessmen to diversify its oil-based economy and improve trade relations between the two countries.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Solar power for Ethiopia. Israel’s Aora Solar is to install a “Tulip” solar energy field in Ethiopia – helping the African country to achieve its aim of being carbon-neutral by 2025. The modular system collects reflected sunlight on a solar concentrator tower shaped like a yellow tulip that generates electricity for day or night use.
Israel’s clean-tech competition entries. At the 2015 Cleantech Open Global Ideas Competition in Silicon Valley, Aseptoray’s pasteurization system saves 73 percent in energy costs, killing even heat-resistant bacteria; Chakratec‘s low-cost, eco-friendly kinetic battery stores electricity from solar fields, wind farms etc.
Ilan Ramon fund inspires Israeli space pioneers. The Ilan Ramon Scholarship fund, honoring Israel’s first astronaut, has allowed dozens of post-graduate Israelis to attend International Space University’s Space Studies Program (SSP) – an intensive nine week program for pioneers in the burgeoning space business.
Cybersecurity agreement with New York. The New York Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Jerusalem’s Hagihon water provider have signed an agreement to develop new cybersecurity defenses for their water systems. It will also help Israeli cybersecurity firms to deploy their technology in the United States.
Mapping genomes to breed better crops. Agrochemical giant Syngenta has deployed Israel’s NRGene to map the genomes of 12 diverse crops to help develop hardier, higher yield varieties of seed. NRGene’s proprietary algorithms have also been used independently to map varieties of wheat, maize, soybean and trout.
Aquanos “cleans up” at Cleanvest. Israeli wastewater startup Aquanos won the trophy at this year’s Cleanvest Summit in front of around 150 participants including international investors. Aquanos uses algae to produce clean water, biogas fuel and agriculturally-useful bi-products.
Annotate the Internet. The new Israeli “Peanut” browser allows Android mobile users to make notes and comments on web pages, sharing them with other Peanut users. Peanut already has thousands of users in Israel and is becoming rapidly more popular.
A 3D printer for dental labs. Israeli 3D printing company Stratasys has launched the Objet500 Dental Selection 3D Printer for larger dental and orthodontic labs that require volume production of highly precise, life-like models. It can create a variety of dental-specific palettes in a single run.
The all-terrain suitcase. Remember Israel’s FUGU luggage that transforms from hand-luggage size to a full-size case? Well another Israeli startup has invented the G-RO suitcase, which can traverse every kind of terrain as well as charging phones and computers. It has raised nearly $1 million ($125,000 goal) on Kickstarter.
Sky taxis for Tel Aviv. (TY Michelle) Israelis are eagerly awaiting the world launch of the electromagnetic levitating taxis built by US skyTran together with Israel Aerospace Industries. The pilot is now targeted for early 2016.
Israel hosts global teen startup contest. The Israeli Pavilion at Milan Expo will host the finals of the first international competition for start-ups dedicated to children and adolescents under the age of seventeen. The finalists include Muslim students from the Israel-Arab village of Iblin.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Unemployment falls again. The unemployment rate in Israel fell from 5.2% in August to only 5.1% in September.
Water costs less. Israeli water charges will fall by 3% in Israel from 1st Jan. The latest cut is due to a 16% fall over the past year in the price of the electricity used to desalinate drinking water. Water in 2016 will be 20% cheaper than three years ago.
Impact Investing. Chemi Peres (son of ex-President Shimon) is an advisor for Impact First Investments (IFI). IFI supports ethical investments into world-benefiting Israeli innovations. They include Catalyst AgTech’s B12 which stops damage from pesticides; also the bed sensors from EarlySense that monitor patients and the elderly.
Ahead of the game. (TY Michelle) Israel’s 200 game companies are expected to generate $1 billion in mobile and social gaming revenue in 2015, up 25 percent from 2014. It explains why the Casual Connect game show was held in Israel for the first time, with over 1,800 registered attendees – twice as many as originally expected.
Inspiring Australian startups. (TY Michelle) Australia’s assistant minister for innovation, Wyatt Roy, is leading a group of around 50 entrepreneurs, industry representatives and government envoys on a week-long expedition of the startup nation. He will meet Israel’s Chief Scientist and visit startup incubators.
Global demand for Israeli health tech. (TY Michelle) Multinationals have recently been investing heavily in Israeli life science companies. They include Boston Scientific into MValve (heart valves), Novatis into Gamida Cell (stem cell therapies) and eHealthVentures into Intendu (brain dysfunction treatment).
Deutsche Telekom’s Israeli partners. (TY Michelle) Deutsche Telekom may only have five employees based in Tel Aviv, but they have already initiated partnerships with Israel’s Magisto (video clips) and KIDOZ (child-friendly mobile device interface). The company has also invested in Israeli cybersecurity company MorphiSec.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT
Israel Museum shares 50 years. (TY Sharon) During the 50th year of Jerusalem’s Israel Museum it is also recognizing 50 years of diplomatic relations between Israel and Germany. Its “Twilight Over Berlin” exhibit is a collection of 50 artworks that were considered “degenerate art” and banned by the Nazis.
The show must go on. This week’s Kol Cambridge playlist from DJ Antithesis on Tel Aviv’s Radio TLV1 contains some stimulating Israeli music. It includes new releases from Lior Narkis, Moshik Afia, The Revivo Project, Idan Raichel, and Zion Golan.
“Almighty” visits Western Wall. Actor Morgan Freeman, who had the “supreme” role in the movie “Bruce Almighty” visited the Western Wall in Jerusalem and met with the Kotel Rabbi, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz. Also, actor Sean Penn is arriving in November as the guest of the Israeli humanitarian aid organization IsraAID.
Eilat hosts European beach tennis championships. Contestants and spectators enjoyed uninterrupted sunshine during the first-ever European Beach Tennis Championships to be held in Eilat. 15 international teams competed. The video shows the Dutch team enjoying the tournament, venue and nightlife.
Israel wins two Judo medals in Abu Dhabi. At the Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi, Israelis Yarden Gerbi and Sagi Muki won bronze medals. They were the first Israelis to be allowed to compete in the competition, but had to appear under the World Judo Federation flag as the Arab country banned the display of the Israeli flag.
THE JEWISH STATE
1500-year-old winery discovered. The rainstorm last month was responsible for exposing remains of an enormous press near the Eyal interchange on Route 6. Numerous wine presses have been exposed in Israel’s Sharon region, where the wine industry once thrived and the first roots of modern Israeli wine were planted.
6 Years in Jerusalem: Then, Now, Next. (TY Sharon) Six years ago, Sharon used her camera to show that Jerusalemites were not cowering behind closed doors in fear, like the media was suggesting. That was her very first post on her website “The Real Jerusalem Streets”. And now, she repeats the exercise.
Thousands stand with Israel. Thousands of people in New York took part in a massive pro-Israel rally in Times Square. Rome, Paris, Madrid and Kiev had similar rallies, where senior members of the ruling political parties joined in the call of support for the Jewish state.
Descendants of forced converts support Israel. Many Spanish and Portuguese Jews were forcibly converted to Christianity in the late 16th century. Their descendants have been holding marches and rallies of solidarity with Israel in Recife, Brazil and El Paso, Texas.
Ex-Kuwaiti Muslim is advocate for Israel. Mumtaz Halawa’s journey from Kuwaiti Muslim to Israeli Jew featured in my Jan 2015 newsletter. Together with StandWithUs, Mumtaz (now Mark) has since developed an Arabic-language YouTube video series. It aims to dispel spurious anti-Semitic notions among the Arabs in the Middle East and start conversations about a free and democratic Israel. Also on facebook.
This Weeks Sanity Report from Israel Nov. 1, 2015